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Double Standard: McCain Was Too Old in 2008, but Biden and Bernie Are Not in 2020

Double Standard: McCain Was Too Old in 2008, but Biden and Bernie Are Not in 2020

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are older now than John McCain was in 2008.

In the months before the 2008 election, John McCain was 72 years old. Democrats, the media, and even the Obama campaign made McCain’s age an issue. Today, Joe Biden is 76 years old, Bernie Sanders is 77 years old, and the defense of their old age has already begun.

Zaid Jilani writes at CNN:

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are not too old to be president

Vice President Joe Biden is now officially running for president in the Democratic primary. For many voters, his candidacy raises a question: Should we choose someone who could potentially be the oldest president the United States has ever elected?

Biden is 76 years old, just a year shy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender. Upon inauguration, both Biden and Sanders would be older than President Donald Trump, who was 70 when he took office in January of 2017.

At first glance, voters don’t seem to mind. Biden and Sanders are the top contenders in national polls, and both are widely considered front-runners for the Democratic nomination…

For many voters, no doubt, age discrimination seems rational; they’d likely point to higher mortality rates among the elderly and concerns over mental competence.

But one of the building blocks of discriminatory thinking is taking mental stereotypes about a group and applying them to individuals. Sanders and Biden, like most top-tier presidential candidates, will likely do medical tests and release the results to the public. If voters base concerns on these individual results, they’ll have avoided bias. But that’s not the case if they’re falling back on stereotypes about the elderly in general.

Judging older people based on crude group stereotypes has real-world consequences.

Voters have every right to be concerned about the ages of Biden and Sanders. During his recent campaign stops, Joe Biden has come off as downright elderly. Bernie Sanders is a walking, talking personification of the “old man yells at cloud” meme.

John McCain was younger than both of these men in 2008, yet his age was constantly discussed.

Even at CNN:

Analysis: Age an issue in the 2008 campaign?

Is Sen. John McCain too old to be president?

Listen to some Democrats, and you’ll think the 71-year-old Arizona senator is a man lost in a perpetual fog. He is “confused” and has “lost his bearings” or is “out of touch.”

Listen to the McCain campaign, and you’ll be convinced that Democrats are using those terms to exploit concerns that the presumptive Republican nominee is too old to effectively serve as president.

Here’s what we were told by Bud Jackson of Politico in 2008:

McCain’s age is a legitimate issue

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seizures this past weekend, which left him hospitalized in Massachusetts and diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, may also have sparked renewed attention to Sen. John McCain’s age as an issue in this year’s presidential election.

Kennedy (D-Mass.) and McCain (R-Ariz.), both over the age of 70, are not spring chickens. So when Kennedy experienced stroke-like symptoms that turned out to be seizures, my thoughts turned to his peer McCain and the increased health risks someone his age should expect. I believe his advanced age is a legitimate issue and deserves more scrutiny.

Here’s an Associated Press report from 2008 titled, “Is John McCain Too Old to Be President?”

This 2008 ad attacking McCain’s age was made by the Obama campaign:

Do not allow Democrats or the media to forget any of this. If McCain’s age was a legitimate issue, then so it shall be for Biden and Bernie.

Trump may be 72 years old now, but his life of clean living has served him well. He seems youthful in comparison to the two Democratic front runners.

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Comments

John McCain was too John McCain to ever be president.

JackinSilverSpring | May 8, 2019 at 9:10 am

There are different rules for Republicans. In VA, the top three officeholders who are Democrats are still in office despite being caught in embarrassing positions. How long do you think a Republican would have lasted had they been caught in the same positions?

Yet another way in which Trump is just so awful he’s forcing those good and decent people to jettison their principles. For the greater good, you understand.

“Kennedy (D-Mass.) and McCain (R-Ariz.), both over the age of 70, are not spring chickens. So when Kennedy experienced stroke-like symptoms that turned out to be seizures, my thoughts turned to his peer McCain and the increased health risks someone his age should expect.”

Hmm. Given the cancer which caused both deaths, was that prescience, unknown at the time, in action?

    Valerie in reply to Edward. | May 8, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Nah, just a healthy recognition that age + alcohol tends to result in death sooner than otherwise.

Political Congruence (“=”) is a many Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic thing.

Nice catch. My rule of thumb is that whoever looks like the front runner now will NOT be in the race by the time it counts.

“He seems youthful in comparison to the two Democratic front runners.”

In political years, Trump is 30. The damnocrats front runners are all over 100.

Teddy Kennedy did have a malignant brain for his entire adult life.

I can’t wait for the leaked video of handlers tossing a faint Biden or Bernie into the van like a sack of spuds.

legalbeagle | May 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm

What double standard. The Media will say Trump is too old. They will be consistent. They are anti-Republican, not objective.

Yeah, but McCain hand delivered the Steele Dossier to the FBI. Let that sink in a little, and then let it sink a little more. McCain was always an ugly, entitled, Admiral’s boy little shit.

Too young, too old, not viable. Deja vu? They should be divested and planned.

Not the only double standard. Remember when Sarah Palin was considered unqualified to run for VICE president because although she was a sitting governor, her prior experience was as mayor: “She may have to assume the presidency and has no experience.” Now Pete Buttigieg is running for president with a mayorship as his major experience. Wonder what the reasons for the disparate treatment could be.

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