McCain’s Age As A Strength, Not A Weakness

Much has been made about how Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is too old (“John McCain has done a lot of things for his country. He could do one more service by acknowledging that the presidency is a job for a younger person.”) but isn’t it possible that his age is a strength and not a weakness?

He’s 71 now and would be 72 in January 2009, when he would take office were he to be elected. It’s often said that 80 is too old for a President, but that’s assuming he actually runs for re-election. 76, on the other hand, shouldn’t be terribly troubling to people (after all, Reagan was 78 when he left office). This campaign cycle is infinitely more interesting because the Bush Administration doesn’t have an heir apparent Vice President that is running for office and I think on balance, it’s a healthy thing for our elections.

But — if McCain served one term and then retired, we’d have another similarly exciting and fresh set of choices in 2012. That’d be a good thing!

I don’t know if there is any “McCain For President — Once Only, Thank You” movement but there should be*. Plus, it’s kind of a sweetener for his campaign — it’d look “noble,” even.

The big concept here: Faster Legacy. Remember, more potentially earth-shaking diplomacy might happen sooner (see, for example). And if one’s place in history is important to these guys, why not make it easier for them? Because what happens in eight probably can just as easily be accomplished in four. And that’s the campaign slogan for you: Why Give Them Eight When I Can Do Just As Much In Four? (Other slogan ideas welcome . . .)

*And look — I’m not saying I’d support him — far from it — but I think the time is ripe for the concept of the one-termer and — even just for diversity’s sake — I probably wouldn’t care so much about four years of McCain . . . then again, it does raise the possibility that the person would be a lame duck right off the bat** but, hey, now that I think about it, maybe we need more of that anyway.

**I’m willing to give you that the threat of running for reelection gets things accomplished in Congress and provides an incentive for Presidential administrations to do “big things” but the last four years of an eight-year tenure are lame duck anyway, so what’s the difference? Both Clinton’s and Bush’s presidencies got/are mired in political fighting and low expectations in their second terms (Reagan’s, too, right?) . . .