Ageism — Political Ageism

Senator, and candidate for the Democrat nomination to be eviscerated by President Trump in November 2020, Bernie Sanders had a heart attack that resulted in the installation of two stents in a blocked artery. [OK, the crack about being eviscerated is a little strong. Sorry. Wait, I don’t apologize to anybody about anything. Do I?]

Bernie Sanders is out of the hospital, resting comfortably, and contemplating returning to the campaign trail in a week. Bernie, don’t do it. You’re done, amigo.

God bless you, Bernie Sanders. Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Godspeed.

Can somebody be too old to compete for the presidency, Big Red?

I suppose the simple answer is YES, but maybe there’s a bit more to it.

Can somebody be too old to compete for the presidency?

Does an older lady or gentleman possess the mental nimbleness to run the country?

Do older folks have old folks’ ideas? Can they stay current with the culture and technology?

When is it time for the current political leadership to step aside and let new leaders bubble up?

A lot of good questions.

Ageism — Can you be too old to compete for the presidency?

Age is a number. In the 2016 election, it was clear that 70-year-old Candidate Trump ran circles around his 68-year-old opponent who seemed compelled to dampen her campaign efforts because of physical limitations.

Fair criticism?

On the last days of the campaign, Trump was campaigning 24/7 while Hillary headed to the barn, settled into her comfy robe and slippers, had Bill pour her a nice pinot grigio (a present from the Clinton Foundation), and propped her feet up in front of the fire to prepare for the coronation. Huma gave her a gentle foot rub as they worked on her coronation speech.

The issue appears not to be the physical age of the candidate, but the physical vigor and, by implication, acuity.

Here is what we are looking at — ages today:

Donald J Trump — 73 years old

Bernie Sanders — 78 years old

Quid Pro Joe Biden — 76 years old

Elizabeth Warren — 70 years old

Amy Klobuchar — 59 years old

Kamala Harris — 54 years old

John Delaney — 54 years old

Beto — 11 years old (47)

Andrew Yang — 44 years old

Tulsi Gabbard — 38 years old

Mayor Pete — 37 years old

Let me cull the field a little, may I? Mayor Pete and Tulsi Gabbard are too young. Sorry. I see a bright future for Tulsi Gabbard, but I think Mayor Pete has topped out at the Mayor level. Now, Chasten, he may have a future in politics, but not Pete.

I see Robert Francis O’Rourke, the man known as Beto, as being too young emotionally.

I really want to concentrate at the top.

Are the 70 year old persons too old — purely from a physical vigor perspective?

Elizabeth Warren — no. The Paleface/Indian Princess is fine. In fact, she jogs along like the Energizer Bunny. Wait a second, have we ever seen both of them at the same time?

Quid Pro Joe Biden — yes. I think Quid Pro Joe has lost whatever little he had, and, frankly, he didn’t have much.

Bernie Sanders — yes. Look, Bernie, you’re getting a little long in the tooth and you’ve dodged a bullet. Take it to the house. The heart attack was a wake up call. Wake up.

President Donald J Trump — yes. Haha, OK, don’t Tweet at me, Mr. President, you get the old age exemption because of your demonstrable ability to Tweet at all hours of the night, and, face it, you’re an energetic son-of-a-bitch.

OK, let me bottom line it for y’all. In a perfect world, none of these 70+ guys should be vying for the presidency.

General of the Armies George Catlett Marshall Jr. — 60 when WWII started and 65 when it ended — famously canned all American division commanders over the age of 55 when he took over as the Army Chief of Staff. He was ruthless in relieving Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels, Majors, and even Captains who did not possess physical vigor. He decimated National Guard senior officers. This one act in the first year of the war injected enormous vigor into the army. It allowed men like Lieutenant Colonel Eisenhower to ascend to the top based on performance. A year before the war starts, Ike is a Lieutenant Colonel. By the end of the war, he’s a 5-star General of the Army. Nice promotion spurt.

Ike was 62 when elected President and 70 when he hung up his spurs. He suffered a number of heart attacks while President.

While I don’t think that a President has to be vigorous enough to command an infantry division in combat, personal vigor should not be a detriment. Ronald Reagan was 73 on the first day of his second term as President and remained a vigorous man for his entire tenure.

So, yes, age is just a number, but it is a number that bears watching.

Mental acuity, Big Red Car?

Let’s take a look at the same bunch of 70-somethings with the notion that mental acuity is also a function of age.

Before I start, let me say that mental acuity is also a function of experience. If you are a person who has never run a large organization, then you are going to struggle with running the United States and, by extension, the entire world.

I have huge reservations as to whether Bernie Sanders could run a lemonade stand. Same reservation, but not to the same degree as Bernie, for Elizabeth Warren.

With Bernie the lemonade would not ever get made. With Warren, she would talk to you so long, you’d lose interest and get a beer. Luckily, Warren stocks and drinks beer.

I am very suspect of the One Known as Beto as to basic mental soundness. Luckily, he doesn’t really figure into the picture.

As to Donald J Trump, I worry about his ability to continue to function under the pressure of the job, the media environment, and the endless investigations of the Dems.

One has to say he has hauled the freight thus far, but I admit to a bit of worry. He has run a big organization, has the training wheels off as President, but I worry.

Ideation, Big Red Car?

Old people need a good source of young ideas. Unfortunately, many of the “young ideas” are bat shit crazy — talking to you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and your Green Goofy New Deal.

While I like the IDEA of young ideas, I am forced to admit under pain of being water boarded that I can’t come up with a single political young idea that I like.

I find the young not to understand our Constitution, our founding documents, our history, and to be hopelessly deficient in common sense. They are understandably limited by their shallow life experience.

Some will caution that it is not nice to insult the young to which I say, “Buzz off. Own your own goofiness.”

Please step aside, Baby Boomers — Big Red Car?

This is really the issue that I find most interesting in the entire political ageism debate. Is it time for the Baby Boomers to step aside, en masse, and make room at the top?

First, let’s make sure we know what we are talking about — Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. I think that’s too broad a range. I like a 1955 cutoff because I feel that’s the end of the Post World II/Korean War Era.

Should the Baby Boomers be stepping aside?

Let me attack that from a different perspective, may I?

Term limits, we desperately need term limits. What we need is term limits in the Congress. Term limits loosely correlate with age. 

In 1981, the average age of a Representative was 49 and a Senator was 53.

Today, the average age of a Representative is 58 and a Senator is 62.

Oh, don’t start telling me that people live longer, that the quality of life is greater today as folks age — I know all of that. Still, we have some freakin’ dinosaurs in that Capitol.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Pat Roberts, Senator (former Representative) — 83 years old, 38 years service

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Representative — 83 years old, 26 years service

Jim Inhofe, Senator (former Representative) — 85 years old, 32 years service

Richard Shelby, Senator, (former Representative) — 85 years old, 40 years service

Orrin Hatch, Senator — 86 years old, 42 years service

Chuck Grassley, Senator (former Representative) — 86 years old, 44 years service

Dianne Feinstein, Senator — 86 years old, 27 years service

Don Young, Representative (former Senator) — 86 years old, 47 years service

Sander Levin, Representative (former Senator) — 88 years old, 41 years service

Sam Johnson, Representative — 89 years old, 29 years service <<< 27 years in Air Force, 7 years as a POW

These are the ten oldest members of Congress. Look both at their age and their years of service.

I am more offended by the years in office than I am their age and the ages are totally unsatisfactory. If you are 85, you should be spending time with your grands (or great grands). Get out of there.

Bottom line it, Big Red Car

We need to start pruning the Congressional tree. There is merit to limiting terms of service. There is a fair concern as to the physical vigor and the mental acuity of some of these folks.

Does this brew up a charge of ageism? Political ageism? If the shoe fits, wear it. Sorry.

I propose that a Congressman may only serve twelve years — six terms for a Representative, two terms for a Senator.

There you have it, dear reader. Let the chips fall where they may.

Now, a word for the hopelessly, terminally young — if you want to lead, then prepare yourself as leaders, which means don’t be like Beto, an inveterate whiner who accomplished nothing when in the Congress.

A good education would be a fair start. How about knowing the history of the United States. Bit of leadership experience couldn’t hurt. How about some actual experience running something of substance — not a lemonade stand. Get out and see the country. Visit every state. Drink a lot of coffee. Meet the people. Introduce yourself to America.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.

Hey, Baby Boomer, it’s going to be fine. Donald J Trump will be the last Baby Boomer President — well unless one of those Dems gets elected.