Age Issue

Reflecting On The Age Issue Over Next Decade

America is faced with many crises, but one not much paid attention to is the Age issue.

We are seeing more people in government who are reaching their 70s and 80s, and that is a worrisome trend.

Certainly, people in their 70s and 80s can be active, engaged, constructive, as this author, in his mid 70s is, as an adjunct college professor, lecturer, author, blogger, contributor of articles on history and politics, and participant on radio shows about history and politics.

But this author is NOT making government policy, and is not facing the daunting challenges of dealing with a multitude of challenges in domestic and foreign policy, that affects and will continue to affect hundreds of millions of Americans, and seven billion people worldwide.

We see Donald Trump in his mid 70s, showing signs of craziness and dementia. We see Joe Biden, who this author loves, not quite as swift and alert as he seeks the Presidency. We see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both seemingly very alert and energetic, but reaching 79 and 71 by January 20, 2021, both older than Trump when he was elected, and with Biden reaching 78 by Inauguration Day 2021.

We see the top three Democrats in leadership in the House of Representatives all nearing 80 in the next couple of years, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the same with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There are about four Senators over 80 already, and Dianne Feinstein was elected at 85 in 2018, to serve another six year term to age 91. And at least two Senators will be added to that list over 80 in the next few years.

We have two Supreme Court Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who are 86 and 81, and their refusal to leave years ago has created the possibility of an extreme right wing Court if Donald Trump wins reelection.

There has to be recognition of the need for younger generations to inherit power, and for older generations to accept that their time has passed.

The Age Issue’s Effect On Hillary Clinton, But Also Possibly On Bernie Sanders, Against Younger Republicans in November!

The Iowa Caucuses results demonstrate a major problem that Hillary Clinton faces–the age issue.

A vast majority of young voters, those under 45, but even more so those under 29, supported Bernie Sanders, the oldest candidate ever to seek the nomination of a major political party.

Even John McCain (age 72)and Bob Dole (age 73) were not the same age at the time of the election campaign as Bernie Sanders.

Even Ronald Reagan (age 73) was “younger” when seeking reelection in 1984!

How is it that young voters, who flocked to Barack Obama, age 47 in 2008, now love Bernie Sanders, age 75 by the time of the election?

What is it about Hillary Clinton age 69) that makes young Democratic voters dislike her that much, when young voters back in 1992 liked her husband, Bill Clinton, age 46?

This is a serious issue, as it looks more likely that Hillary, the likely Democratic nominee, will face a much younger Republican candidate in Ted Cruz, age  45, or more likely, Marco Rubio, also 45 but five months younger than Cruz.  It means that the age difference would be almost 24 years.

The argument that either Cruz or Rubio are not “old” enough or experienced enough to be President is an argument that will not work, as John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and particularly Barack Obama, were accused of the same “weakness”, but all became President.

To have the Democratic nominee, either Hillary or Bernie (six years older) as the “old” candidate, against a young Republican such as Cruz or Rubio, is unprecedented in American history.

A difference of 24 years is not the all time difference, as John McCain was 25 years older than Barack Obama in 2008; Bob Dole was 23 years older than Bill Clinton in 1996; and George H. W. Bush was 22 years older than Bill Clinton in 1992, but in each case the Democrat was the younger nominee.

But if it was Bernie Sanders against Cruz or Rubio, the difference would be nearly 30 years!

This time, it will be the opposite, with the Democrat much younger than the Republican, and one has to wonder how it might affect the election results, particularly with younger voters in the Democratic Party gravitating to Bernie instead of Hillary, and possibly younger voters in general going for Cruz or Rubio due to youthfulness!

Age Issue Shows Itself Again With Karl Rove Statement On Hillary Clinton

The age issue is rearing its ugly head again with Karl Rove’s comment on Hillary Clinton and her health issue in the last months of her time as Secretary of State, when she fell, hit her head, and was hospitalized for a few days, and took a month to recuperate.

One must remember that Hillary Clinton set records for travel mileage as Secretary of State, enough to cause anyone health issues temporarily, but there is no hint that she is not up to the challenge of running for President.

Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden too, are both extremely qualified for the Presidency, and Karl Rove is going in dangerous territory in using the age issue, particularly when it is clear that Ronald Reagan was never the same after his gunshot wound ten weeks into his Presidency, and seemed lacking in alertness when debating Walter Mondale in the first Presidential debate in 1984; fell asleep with the Pope, and at cabinet meetings; is rumored to have been in early stages of dementia and Alzheimers in his second term; and had trouble answering questions on a constant basis at press conferences. It was often said that Nancy Reagan was his eyes and ears in more ways than one.

Since both Hillary and Joe are, clearly, intellectually, superior to Reagan, Rove’s comment only draws more attention to the shortcomings of Reagan, but also to other recent GOP nominees Bob Dole and John McCain, both of whom were in their 70s. Or is this sexism, because Hillary is a woman?

Having said all of the above, it is still reality that a younger Republican Presidential nominee in 2016 will likely be seen as having some edge over a much older Democratic nominee, as only Reagan has had the edge as the older nominee over much younger opponents. So it brings up the question as to whether it would be better for a younger, newer generation Democratic nominee, as with JFK in 1960, Carter in 1976, Clinton in 1992, and Obama in 2008. It is well worth careful consideration!

Suddenly, Joe Biden Makes It A Race With Hillary Clinton For 2016!

Here many thought that the Democratic Presidential race for 2016 was over, and that Hillary Clinton would saunter to the nomination without opposition.

True, that former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley were hinting that they might challenge Hillary, but the thought was it could just be an attempt to gain some publicity, and hope that Hillary would not run, giving them the edge simply on intention to run.

Well, forget about that, as Vice President Joe Biden has made it clear that he does not wish to be ignored or overlooked, and that IF he decides to run, it will not be affected by what Hillary does. After all, even good friends compete in life, right? Biden does not want to be seen, certainly at this point, as a “lame duck”, still wanting to be seen as significant and in the game for the next three years as Vice President and beyond.

When one thinks about it, since Richard Nixon, it has been assumed, and often the fact, that a sitting Vice President was seen as a likely successor to the President he served, at least for the nomination. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush, and Al Gore all became Presidential nominees after serving under Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Nixon and Bush became President, while Humphrey, Ford, Mondale and Gore failed to win the Presidential elections after they were nominated by their party. Only Dick Cheney never considered running for the Presidency, after being Vice President under George W. Bush. Even Spiro Agnew, before he was forced to resign due to scandal, was perceived as the likely successor nominee to Richard Nixon, and the same for Dan Quayle under George H. W. Bush, who tried and failed to win the Presidential nomination in 1996.

So the idea of Biden wanting to run is not at all out of the norm, and when one looks seriously at Joe Biden’s record in public life, all one say is WOW!

The reality is that NO Vice President has EVER had the wealth of experience in public office of Joe Biden!

BIden served 36 years in the Senate, and will have had 8 years in the Vice Presidency, for a total of 44 years in public service by 2016.

Biden is a well liked, admired, gregarious, public figure, even if one does not agree with his viewpoints and record.

It is well known that Biden can build bridges with the Republican opposition, and that Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell like him, work well with him, and that Joe Biden has helped to resolve differences on many issues for the Obama Administration. Biden has been a major player and influence over policy and strategy for President Obama, and has been a loyal soldier when his viewpoints have lost out in the cabinet and national security meetings.

Joe Biden has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his expertise in foreign policy, and his knowledge of, and relationships with foreign leaders make him invaluable in dealing with national security and defense issues. He was often thought of as a possible Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense in the past, due to his brilliance in these areas of such great importance to America’s future.

Joe Biden has also chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and his knowledge and understanding of constitutional matters and the Supreme Court, make him invaluable on legal controversies, including his advocacy of gay rights and gay marriage ahead of most politicians who have served in Congress or the executive branch.

Joe Biden is a leader, who if he were President, would be able to get things done much more easily, and is a “wheeler dealer” in the mode of Lyndon B. Johnson, but with a more kind and caring edge than the former President, who could be quite brusque and crude at times.

Hillary Clinton has great background and experience, but on pure years and accomplishments, she cannot match Joe Biden, and in fact, NO ONE in public life can do so!

The major shortcomings of Joe Biden are:

His age, which will be 74 and two months if he took the oath of office in 2017, making him the oldest first term President, and in theory, the oldest President altogether, if he had two terms, and left office at age 82 and two months.

His health, the question whether it would hold up, as he had serious health issues in 1987, due to an aneurysm, which required brain surgery, and his son, Beau Biden, the Delaware Attorney General, suffered a similar health crisis a few years ago, also recovering, but making it seem to be a genetic problem, which could arise, although health issues could also arise for Hillary Clinton, and really, for any Presidential candidate or winner of either party at any age!

His tendency to say embarrassing, or sometimes, purely stupid comments, although one could argue all of us do that, but when in high office. it can have reverberations, and there are critics who keep lists of “Bidenisms”, but they do NOT match the moronic nature of comments made by Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Louie Gohmert in the present, or Dan Quayle in the past!

One thing is certain: If Joe Biden were to become President, we would have one of the most lively, colorful, dynamic Presidencies, with Biden being very warm, genuine, sincere, caring, and yet hard nosed enough to get things done and read the “riot act” on his own party members to get things done!

It would be nice to see such a Presidency, which would be inspiring in so many ways.

Having said all of the above, it is clear that if Hillary Clinton runs, she is likely to be the Democratic nominee.

If she chooses not to run, then Joe Biden is the odds on favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, if Hillary does not run, or even if she does, it is likely that a “younger generation”, an idea advocated by this blogger in entries before now, are likely to enter the race and make it interesting, including the already named Schweitzer and O’Malley, and if Hillary bows out of the race, possibly Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Virginia Senator Mark Warner.