By Alan Caruba
Just how funny you thought John McCain was during his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” probably depends on how old you are. I thought he was very funny, but then I am only one year younger than he. To the presumably younger audience, being old or older often seems to be a handicap of sorts.
“I ask you, what should we be looking for in our next president?” asked McCain, answering, “Certainly someone who is very, very, very old.” Well, let me tell you that 70 or, in his case, 71, is the new 50. People today are routinely living into their 80s and beyond. Just check the obituary pages for confirmation of that.
More importantly, being 71 doesn’t mean your outlook, your enthusiasm, your desire to be involved in the life and future of your nation diminishes. For many, it increases.
“I have the courage, the wisdom, the experience and, most importantly, the oldness necessary,” said McCain. “The oldness it takes to protect America, to honor her, love her and tell her about what cute things the cat did.”
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan conclusively demonstrated that being an older American was no detriment to being president and that it was the key in many cases to having the experience and wisdom to bring about the changes necessary to improve life in America. His economic policies are credited with the super-charged economy that would come to fruition during Clinton’s two terms in office.
Indeed, Americans were dissatisfied enough in 1994 to turn control over the Congress to the Republicans. Unfortunately, they began to act like Democrats and find themselves in the dog house these days.
McCain’s age is a definite advantage over his much younger, likely opponent Sen. Barack Obama. The reason for this should be obvious. McCain has seen more of America’s recent history than Obama, has lived through it, has survived the great trial of being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has most certainly served longer in the Senate, and knows his way around the halls of Congress.
By all accounts, McCain is a very vigorous 71 and anyone who can maintain the grueling schedule of campaigning as he has done has to be in excellent health. I, for one, usually need to take a short nap in the afternoon to re-charge my batteries. We’re told that Reagan took naps as well. They were a secret weapon of Winston Churchill during World War II.
Age brings with it another secret weapon. If you have weathered the many challenges that life can throw at you, age teaches you to be more patient, more realistic about what can and cannot be achieved.
McCain comes from a family that served the nation in its military. They swore to protect the Constitution and they swore to do with their lives. They know what it is to take an oath of duty to their nation and to remain true to it even under the most difficult of circumstances.
I may disagree with many of McCain’s views, but there is something very comforting in knowing that, as president, he has been truly tested and that he has come through it with his sense of humor intact.