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Define ‘Old’

2:05 PM, May 16, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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"Is she too old to be president?” It is an indelicate question and you wonder if there is anyone of voting age for whom Hillary Clinton’s age would be a deal-breaker should she be the Democratic candidate in 2016.  Can you imagine someone thinking, Well, I was going to vote for Clinton but … well, you know, she’s almost 70.  So I guess I’ll go with Rubio.

Secretary Clinton 8x10 2400 1

Or Bush. Or Christie. Whomever.

And if Mrs. Clinton signals that she wants the nomination, could you imagine the Democrat, opposing her in the primary, be fool enough to bring up her age? O’Malley and Warren are too smart to make that kind of mistake—plus Warren isn’t that much younger. While that can’t be said of Biden, he’s too old, himself, to make the case. Though that wouldn’t necessarily hold him back.

Still Peter Nicholas and Dante Chinni Iof the Wall Street Journal make the case that Mrs. Clinton is not too old to be president.  Among their points:

Age doesn’t tell the whole story ... People are living longer. These days, a 69-year-old white woman has about as many years left as some of the 50-somethings who were president in an earlier era.

“Her chances of survival are extremely good throughout the term,” said Dr. Laura Carstensen, who directs the Stanford Center on Longevity, which studies the human lifespan. What’s more, a 69-year-old woman with Mrs. Clinton’s educational background would endure no appreciable decline in cognitive ability.

There is even an upside, they insist:

[A] benefit that comes with growing older: emotional stability. As people age, they are typically less prone to emotional mood swings, Dr. Carstensen said.

But, again, it seems unlikely that even the least decisive, uncommitted, independent voter would decide to go with Clinton because of her age.  

But if the age of the candidate is not – or should not – be an issue, the same cannot be said for the age of her ideas. She was thinking about health care and trying to ram a universal program through Congress way back in the early 90’s. “Hillarycare," they called it, and since there isn’t much evidence that her thinking has changed, it doesn’t seem likely she would be the president to either fix or finish off Obamacare.

In foreign policy, as secretary of state she bought into a lot of soft and wishful thinking about how we could make friends around the world through intelligent applications of "smart power."  Which now looks, at best, old-fashioned and naive.  

Ideas on how to get a handle on entitlements? Haven’t heard anything but one suspects that when they are rolled out, they will not be remarkable for being fresh and new.  For that, one needs to check in with Paul Ryan.

How about education? Any indication that Mrs. Clinton has joined the advance guard of the reform movement? Not likely. If she runs, her positions will almost certainly meet with the approval of the teachers unions and the educrats who are last-ditch defenders of the status quo.

Mrs. Clinton is a figure from another political age, back when being a “New Democrat” wasn’t old news. 

She may not be too old, but she has been around too long. 

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