reason contributor and Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi looks at the polling data and finds that 5 percent of voters say they won't cast a ballot for an African American, 11 percent won't vote for a woman—and a whopping 42 percent won't vote for a 72-year-old (regardless of race or gender, I'm guessing that elderly Oscar nominee Ruby Dee shouldn't be pondering a White House run anytime soon).
Is Amerika ageist on top of its other sins? Not quite, says Harsanyi:
Fact is, far from being reluctant to elect seniors, voters reliably choose them. Washington, a veritable Gerontocracy, can often resemble a Boca Raton condo association meeting.
Presently there are 26 senators over the age of 70 (23 of them older than McCain). There are six senators in their 80s and 36 in their 60s. Robert Byrd is 90.
Harsanyi also notes that back in 1980 Ronald Reagan, the oldest president ever elected, was just a year younger than McCain is now (and let's face it: 70 is the new 60!). But the reason this col spoke to me is its summary of William Henry Harrison, who was the oldest president before Reagan–and remains the shortest-serving:
At 68, William Henry Harrison was the country's second-oldest president. A war hero, "Granny Harrison," as his opponents called him, was a tough cat. After winning the presidency, he stood outside on a miserably frigid and damp Washington day to deliver the longest inaugural address—more than 8,400 words—in American history. He then joined the inaugural parade. Harrison, naturally, caught a cold, which led to pneumonia. He never recovered and died 31 days into his term.
What's not to like?