MehCain. May 13, 2008 12:05 PM   Subscribe

It's disappointing that the McCain thread was killed off.

Yes, the material is jokey, but it is an interesting find on the web (who doesn't find more obscure quizzo trivia fascinating?) — which makes it good Metafilter material on that basis — and it also makes a valid point that is good for the kind of discussion that was starting to develop — which also makes it good Metafilter material, as the site is also about comments — before the thread was prematurely euthanized. Tough call, but I have to say I disagree.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Etiquette/Policy at 12:05 PM (161 comments total)

That thread displayed everything that's wrong with a shallow link in PoliticsFilter. When there's not much in the link, people take that as an invitation to bicker endlessly in entirely predictable ways. Within a few comments, that discussion had derailed into empty one-liners flying back and forth between the two camps.

Some other sites have become nearly unreadable because of the predictable political bickering (I'm looking at you, Digg and Reddit). If MeFi wants to survive this election season intact then we're going to need higher standards for content.
posted by Leon-arto at 12:09 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought it would turn into one of those fark threads where every post is "OMG! Michael Moore is fat!".

But it didn't. Much.
posted by stubby phillips at 12:10 PM on May 13, 2008


Be quiet, Oldy!
posted by Mister_A at 12:11 PM on May 13, 2008


I was hanging back a bit, because honestly I think it is kind of cute as a concept (I saw it yesterday when another mefite who didn't think it was post-worthy pointed it out to me, and left a few comments on the site itself at the time), but it seemed like there was a lot of sort of low-grade LOLMCCAIN / LOLOLD / LOLFOO commentary shaping up along with some angry umbrage responding to same, and the flags were piling up besides. So I hear you, but, yeah.

I suspect we'll have an opportunity between now and November to have a good discussion about age, the Presidency, and McCain; doing it in a thread that isn't so explicitly one-note and divisive in its premise (however jokey) can only help.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:12 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a big post all typed out with a detailed statistical analysis of the probality of a president dying of natural causes, and the thead got closed on me. Oh wellz.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:13 PM on May 13, 2008


Oldy? Why, I oughtta....
posted by stubby phillips at 12:18 PM on May 13, 2008


I found the trivia interesting (chocolate chip cookies are younger than McCain... really?) but posts on politics have a higher bar to cross than normal. This ricocheted off that bar.
posted by Kattullus at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2008


Hey, that thread is as dead as McCain is old, huh? BOO-YAH!!!!!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2008


(Shrugs)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:29 PM on May 13, 2008


Things that are older than this thread: John McCain, my shoes, air.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:31 PM on May 13, 2008


You know, McCain is older than the modern nation of Israel. Also older than my daughter.
posted by Mister_A at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2008


This seems like the sort of post where a few serious links discussing the topic of age/generational divide between the (presumptive) nominees with the jokey link as the stinger would work, no?
posted by Ryvar at 12:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Things that are younger than McCain: Complaining about deletions.
posted by LarryC at 12:45 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


John McCain is older than anything created, discovered, invented or named after August 29, 1936.
posted by cog_nate at 12:46 PM on May 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ryvar yes.

Otherwise yeah please try harder. PoliticsFilter posts are a shitstorm here with even the best-crafted posts, stuff like this just creates low-hanging fruit and easy casual LOLBLANK nonsense and no real discussion unless it's the dumb fighty kind.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:46 PM on May 13, 2008


Ryvar: "This seems like the sort of post where a few serious links discussing the topic of age/generational divide between the (presumptive) nominees with the jokey link as the stinger would work, no?"

No, you're old! Zing!
posted by Plutor at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain is older than my cat.

Though I suspect that both are very similar regarding their pro-nap policies.
posted by quin at 12:53 PM on May 13, 2008


You know, I do kind of regret my initial statement ("Age discrimination is funny when it's against Republicans!") -- not because I've reconsidered the point I was making, but because the link was clearly lighthearted and the thread probably should have survived in that spirit. I still think the ageism directed at McCain by some is a bit distasteful, and would be viciously attacked (and rightfully so) were the same sorts of slurs made against a Democrat in the same position. But again, some links and threads are better off not turning into a heated battle over the Constitution -- and this was probably one of them.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:56 PM on May 13, 2008


The dude is older than Kodachrome!
posted by chunking express at 1:05 PM on May 13, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "It also makes a valid point that is good for the kind of discussion that was starting to develop — which also makes it good Metafilter material, as the site is also about comments."

I disagree. The site made an observation - McCain is "old" - which may be valid but is hardly worthy of comment unless you make a number of arguable assumptions regarding the leadership capabilities of people his age. The fact that it made this observation in a silly and mean-spirited way, complete with pictures and links, transformed the banal observation into a mean-spirited LOLOLDGUY post, which is neither an effective discussion piece nor best of the web.

As others have already pointed out, most of us wouldn't have found a "men blacker than Obama" or "women uglier than Clinton" either amusing or discussion-worthy, but the overwhelmingly young demographics of MeFi make this kind of silliness rather low-hanging fruit. Its not hard to find thought-provoking discussions about this topic (quick googling: 1, 2; and this discussion from Niall Ferguson: 3) that have a point rather than a one-liner. But this wasn't one of them.
posted by googly at 1:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Your "revolution" is over, Mr. Blazecock! Condolences! The bums lost! My advice is, do what your parents did! Get a job, sir! The bums will always lose-- do you hear me, pileon? THE BUMS WILL ALWAYS LOSE!
posted by mattbucher at 1:15 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


most of us wouldn't have found a "men blacker than Obama" or "women uglier than Clinton" either amusing or discussion-worthy

Because it's not the same thing. We'll all presumably be old one day. We're not all going to turn into blacks or into women. Or into black women.

The age thing applies to everybody, and is a temporary condition in everybody's life that we'll all deal with, assuming we live that long.

The apt comparison is if Barack Obama would have gotten straight clowned for being 35 going on 36 - and yes, he would have. And I'll even go so far as to say the thread wouldn't have even gotten deleted. It would have been precisely the opposite - pointing out all the things that he's younger than. People would have speculated about how inexperienced he was, has mother's milk on his chin, there'd be pics of him in diapers, etc.
posted by cashman at 1:17 PM on May 13, 2008


The natural crossover between this thread and the Rimshot! thread was sadly overlooked.
posted by Shepherd at 1:18 PM on May 13, 2008


there'd be pics of him in diapers

That's $9.95/mo stuff right there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


People suggesting that "McCain is too old" and "Obama is too black" are comparative arguments offend me far more than either of those two notions independently. One is about the actual physical limitations a person might have that could affect their ability to perform their job. The other is an argument over how racist a majority of voters may or may not be.

You don't have to agree with them but there are legitimate arguments about someone being too old to perform a certain task. If you can offer a non-racist explanation about how Obama is "too black" to perform certain presidential duties then say so or shut up with this stupid straw man argument.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


Some of us are already black women, cashman.
posted by Mister_A at 1:27 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why does everyone say Hillary is ugly? I'd hit that ass.
posted by Mister_A at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008


THINGS THAT HAVE SHORTER HAIR THAN CORTEX:

1. Long Hair Chihuahuas
2. Hippies
3. Rapunzel

All I'm sayin' is it's no surprise the longhair killed the conservative war vet post.
posted by shmegegge at 1:31 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


also I'm kidding. that's one of those comments that it occurs to me depend on tone of voice to get.
posted by shmegegge at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2008


I like McBain.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:41 PM on May 13, 2008


Why does everyone say Hillary is ugly? I'd hit that ass.

textbook classic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


No, no, you're doing it all wrong. You're supposed to accuse me of being in bed with the GOP political machine and killing the post because it looks bad for Our Candidate.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:42 PM on May 13, 2008


as if I'll take advice from a longhair.
posted by shmegegge at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2008


You don't have to agree with them but there are legitimate arguments about someone being too old to perform a certain task.

No, there are legitimate arguments about someone being too infirm to perform a particular task; McCain's age and his performance as a political figure are two different things, and it's annoying that the two are being conflated.

His age is definitely interesting and worth noting, but the thing that grossed me out so much about that site is its automatic conflation of age with infirmity, when the two things don't necessarily go together.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


"textbook classic"

So the countdown starts again. How close have we gotten thus far?
posted by 517 at 1:47 PM on May 13, 2008


You're supposed to accuse me of being in bed with the GOP political machine
posted by ColdChef at 1:48 PM on May 13, 2008


its automatic conflation of age with infirmity, when the two things don't necessarily go together

Not as many young people who are also infirm, wouldn't you agree? Maybe there really is a correlation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:55 PM on May 13, 2008


So the countdown starts again. How close have we gotten thus far?

I'd suspect not very. Maybe 14 days is my guess.
posted by cashman at 1:55 PM on May 13, 2008


Yeah, I was going guess about 20.
posted by 517 at 1:57 PM on May 13, 2008


I think a little over two weeks is the closest.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:57 PM on May 13, 2008


psst! What are we counting down or up to or from?
posted by Mister_A at 2:00 PM on May 13, 2008


not to derail the thread, I'll happily make a meta post about it if that's better, but has anyone else noticed a sharp upcrease (it's a cromulent word) in SEO spam posts on the blue lately? I feel like they're deleting ten a day, now, or something. am I out of my mind?
posted by shmegegge at 2:01 PM on May 13, 2008


I suspect we'll have an opportunity between now and November to have a good discussion about age, the Presidency, and McCain; doing it in a thread that isn't so explicitly one-note and divisive in its premise (however jokey) can only help.

Thanks, cortex. That thread reminded me of the time I tried to tie my shoelaces by myself and got all in a muddle. Better to let mummy or daddy do it.
posted by cillit bang at 2:03 PM on May 13, 2008


Your last comment was the phrase that must not be spoken Mister_A. Without it we may have been one day closer to a brand new day. But now you have ruined it for all of us. Ruined.
posted by 517 at 2:06 PM on May 13, 2008


psst! What are we counting down or up to or from?

Does he really not know?
posted by Pax at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Not as many young people who are also infirm, wouldn't you agree? Maybe there really is a correlation.

There's definitely a correlation, but it's kind of sketchy to be so gung-ho about reducing a person to one aspect of himself and using that as a basis for passing judgements. I could provide a parallel example for Obama and his blackness, I guess, but I really don't want to go there.

I don't think the post should have been axed, by the way, but I do think that site's bigotry is kind of the opposite of classy.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008


has anyone else noticed a sharp upcrease (it's a cromulent word) in SEO spam posts on the blue lately

It's actually been kind of quiet on that front for a little while now has been my feeling, with just the last few days spiking again. Really makes me wonder if there's a secret SEO clubhouse that has meetings every once in a while, or if there's some other sort of organic heartbeat or feedback effect, or if it's just plain something in the water. I dunno, I think it's largely random and the spikes jump out, but I'd be interested in evidence that there's anything systematic going on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Yeah, Mister_A is one of those meddling kids scooby doo villains always rued. But we're never gonna make it anyway, because when it gets down to the last day, some killjoy is going to literally wait until there is like 3 minutes left, and then do it.
posted by cashman at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Was it Cooter? I think Cooter is what we're counting up from or down to.
posted by carsonb at 2:10 PM on May 13, 2008


I would hit how sad that is.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Really makes me wonder if there's a secret SEO clubhouse that has meetings every once in a while,

If you wend the maze of linkblog sidebars far back enough you can find the clubhouse.
posted by carsonb at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2008


The thread was not so good because the link was to a dogshit site. It presumes that (a) age is a valid independent criteria on which to evaluate people for president (even though you can't exclude people on the basis of age for most jobs), and that (b) advanced age is bad. This is why the comments about "Things Blacker Than Obama" are fair game in that thread, which tells you how bad the thread was. They presume that (a) race is valid, race being the cultural construct, not the genetic one and (b) Obama's racial status is bad.

Both are substitutes for actual argument. Is McCain's advanced age in particular bad? We don't know, because the site that's all about how McCain is really old doesn't actually tell you that. Why not a site called Things More Liberal Than Obama that has nothing on it? It's stupid jokey horseshit that the universe, let alone the internet, needs less of.

I don't even like McCain. And I understand that everybody loves Obama. But not everything that's pro-Obama is good.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2008


it's kind of sketchy to be so gung-ho about reducing a person to one aspect of himself and using that as a basis for passing judgements

It's kind of an important job, and having mental and physical faculties are kind of important criteria.

I could provide a parallel example for Obama and his blackness, I guess, but I really don't want to go there.

I guess I fail to see how blackness is tied to infirmity. Can you please "go there" or at least try to fill in the blanks? Because you're not the only one to make this comparison and it's kind of annoying that this is given credence without details.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, no, you're doing it all wrong. You're supposed to accuse me of being in bed with the GOP political machine and killing the post because it looks bad for Our Candidate.

No kidding. I'm still angry about when you deleted my "Things thinner than Taft" and "Things less bullet-ridden than McKinley" posts.
posted by Gary at 2:28 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not as many young people who are also infirm, wouldn't you agree? Maybe there really is a correlation.

Not as much as with youth and stupidity.
posted by timeistight at 2:33 PM on May 13, 2008


While we're talking about McCain's age what happens if he was to drop dead between the last primary and the convention. Would the delegates just vote for whomever they wanted at the convention?
posted by Mitheral at 2:35 PM on May 13, 2008


I guess I fail to see how blackness is tied to infirmity. Can you please "go there" or at least try to fill in the blanks? Because you're not the only one to make this comparison and it's kind of annoying that this is given credence without details.

It's because age is not tied to infirmity. My grandfather is older than McCain and would make a better president than anyone I know. He's also in better shape than I am; he runs five miles a day, takes pottery classes at the local college, just finished installing a new patio by himself, and is smarter than I will ever be.

Some old people are infirm and senile, I get it. More so than young people. But old ≠ senile, just as black ≠ gang member.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


While we're talking about McCain's age what happens if he was to drop dead between the last primary and the convention.

That exact thing occurred to me as I started reading this thread... no harm wished on McCain, but he is old and these things sometimes happen, if you know what I mean.
posted by WalterMitty at 2:40 PM on May 13, 2008


shakespeherian basically just covered what I was thinking, although he and I have different grandfathers.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:45 PM on May 13, 2008


Not as much as with youth and stupidity.

Stupidity is pretty much a constant. I know some people who will die as dumb as the day they were born. But ignorance or inexperience are correlated with youth, however.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:47 PM on May 13, 2008


My grandfather is older than McCain and would make a better president than anyone I know. He's also in better shape than I am; he runs five miles a day, takes pottery classes at the local college, just finished installing a new patio by himself, and is smarter than I will ever be.

Your grandfather is also, presumably, not running for the office of President. Nor is he, presumably, recovering from melanoma. Nor is he — again, presumably — a former POW who has suffered severe trauma to his body and mind. All else the same, old age is correlated with mental and physical decline — that's why they say grandpa died from getting old and not from suffering a mid-life crisis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Fyi, from The Hill [Via]: "The Hill asked all 97 senators who are not running for president the same question: “If you were asked, would you accept an offer to be the VP nominee? Some senators laughed, but others took the question seriously. A story about these responses appears in the May 13 print edition of The Hill and at thehill.com. As it happened, three Republican Senators (Thad Cochran, 70; Pete Domenici, 76; Chuck Grassley, 74) all noted that they were too old to be Vice President. For what it's worth.

As for the link in the FPP, it struck me as well done in a high school junior aspires to write for Mad Magazine kind of way, but the pile-on that came later was a bit gross, particularly, yes, as an Obama supporter, I don't want to countenance that shit. Don't get me wrong, McCain is a two-faced, cantankerous, simple-minded son of a bitch who makes George W Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar, but HE'S OLD AMIRITE?? jokes? Don't need it.
posted by psmealey at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2008


I guess I fail to see how blackness is tied to infirmity.

Rather I think many people are connecting it to that strangest of self-fulfilling prophecies, "electability." Read: "The black candidate jeopardizes the election because of all those racists out there who won't vote for him. Can you believe some people? Anyway, don't vote for him because he won't win."

That thread was lousy. Leon-arto summarized it nicely.

It's because age is not tied to infirmity.

True, although I do think his election would bring a suite of issues with it because of his age and some of his past health issues and their lingering effects. But then any of the top contenders would bring issues unrelated to their actual skills, and none of their traits (other than you know, actual behavior and ideas and agendas) are anything worth not electing someone over. His age is not exactly a plus here, but it's hardly the trait that should weigh heaviest in consideration, either.

While we're talking about McCain's age what happens if he was to drop dead between the last primary and the convention.

He's got this lucky feather.
posted by Tehanu at 2:56 PM on May 13, 2008


If MeFi wants to survive this election season intact then we're going to need higher standards for content

Mefi has survived several election seasons intact.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Circumcision threads, on the other hand...
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:08 PM on May 13, 2008


Mefi has survived several election seasons intact.

I suspect it has interesting scars though.
posted by Tehanu at 3:17 PM on May 13, 2008


what happens if he was to drop dead

Well, Obama could have a heart attack. Hillary could get hit by a meteor. While it's true that the older you are, the more likely you'll die from natural causes, it's pretty clear that McCain is pretty fit for a man of his age, and won't likely succumb to a broken hip. That said, he needs to pick his running mate very carefully. As bad as it would be to have a President McCain, I think it'd be infinitely worse to see VP Romney step up to the podium.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:40 PM on May 13, 2008


We should be focusing on his failure to vote against torture. This from a guy that was actually tortured. That's why I think he's a a disgusting gutless shit.
posted by puke & cry at 3:44 PM on May 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


We should be focusing on . . . That's why I think he's a a disgusting gutless shit.

This, in a MeTa thread shows why PoliticsFilter is a big challenge. The whole concept of "on topic" is just foreign once politics is involved.
posted by Leon-arto at 3:51 PM on May 13, 2008


We're not talking about McCain?
posted by puke & cry at 4:02 PM on May 13, 2008


This is MetaTalk about the validity of a McCain post, not a referendum on McCain himself. And even as I type this, I realize I'm wasting my time, as axes will be ground whether or not anyone protests.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 4:11 PM on May 13, 2008


Who's Chuck Norris going to vote for now? Whoever it is, that's my guy.
posted by bardic at 4:13 PM on May 13, 2008


Not as many young people who are also infirm, wouldn't you agree? Maybe there really is a correlation.

Hey, I'm young and infirm!

now, who am I supposed to be mad at?
posted by jtron at 4:14 PM on May 13, 2008




I suppose that makes sense, SeizeTheDay. I still think it's on topic since we're talking about the guy though.
posted by puke & cry at 4:18 PM on May 13, 2008


I still think it's on topic since we're talking about the guy though.

The gray is gray. It is neither blue nor green.
posted by Leon-arto at 4:24 PM on May 13, 2008


My overall problem with McCain's age is that, hey, he's lived his life. He's running on a platform of keeping everything the same, against a man who is running on a platform of Change.

We have in this century a sense of disillusionment in the wisdom of our elders. Through most of human history, illiteracy was the norm and the oldest people were generally accepted to be the wisest because of their lifetime of experience. In this century, we've all grown up knowing that our parents weren't the be-all, end-all of knowledge, and the oldest people were far from the wisest. Advanced age in American culture merits pity rather than respect, because it's so universally associated with mental and physical decline. The advantage the elderly had in knowledge has been leveled: we're for all practical purposes universally literate, and as soon as we learn to read we have access to centuries of stored knowledge from sources far more authoritative than our elders can compete with. Furthermore, the youngest have the most at stake in government because they'll be around the longest to live with the consequences, good or bad, of the decisions made by those in government.

So it's not just childish mocking of McCain's age like a bunch of misbehaving schoolchildren. It's a reflection of a generational paradigm shift away from a top-down hierarchy and toward a bottom-up one where information isn't scarce. In that paradigm, McCain's inherent value as an elder figure isn't useful or valued, and his declining mental fitness remains as an impairment. It will be pointed out for the rest of the race as the liability that it is.
posted by mullingitover at 4:27 PM on May 13, 2008 [4 favorites]


*grinds axe*
posted by everichon at 4:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Dave Faris writes "Well, Obama could have a heart attack. Hillary could get hit by a meteor. While it's true that the older you are, the more likely you'll die from natural causes, it's pretty clear that McCain is pretty fit for a man of his age, and won't likely succumb to a broken hip. That said, he needs to pick his running mate very carefully. As bad as it would be to have a President McCain, I think it'd be infinitely worse to see VP Romney step up to the podium."

I don't care about the politics/ageism/whatever of situation so let me rephrase:

Here's a question for all you familiar with the byzantine electoral process for president of the united states of america. If a canadiate
  • garners the nomination for president from either of the US major parties
  • does so early in the primary season such that there aren't a lot of alternative canidates waiting in the wings
  • that candidate drops dead from meteor strike on the even of their party's convention
what happens? Do the delegates vote for however they feel like? What about delegates that are bound by law to vote for the winners of their states primary?

Extra special bonus question: Does it make any difference if the presidential candidate has declared a running mate or not? If there is a running mate does anything change if they are also killed by the meteor?
posted by Mitheral at 4:35 PM on May 13, 2008


I actually find this interesting, inasmuch as what it says about someone's potential worldview. For example, when the film Titanic was all the rage at the theaters, I had an interesting conversation with my grandfather, a man old enough to remember reading the papers the day after the Titanic sank.

Whereas the film world was all agog over this fantasy story of star-crossed lovers during an event that happened "long ago," for my grandfather, it was something that wasn't entirely a fantasy, something that actually happened, that killed people.

So, McCain is older than Alaska and Hawaii. Interesting. McCain apparently (hopefully...) remembers debate over inclusion of two new states to the union. What influence does that have over, say, his approach to U.S. territories like Puerto Rico? His approach to allegations of labor malfeasance in Saipan? And moreover, his likely opponent was born in Hawaii...

Sadly, though, we didn't get that kind of introspection in the comments. But the post itself wasn't terrible.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:41 PM on May 13, 2008


If there is a running mate does anything change if they are also killed by the meteor?

Is the meteor stone or iron?
posted by Leon-arto at 4:41 PM on May 13, 2008


what happens? Do the delegates vote for however they feel like? What about delegates that are bound by law to vote for the winners of their states primary?

Extra special bonus question: Does it make any difference if the presidential candidate has declared a running mate or not? If there is a running mate does anything change if they are also killed by the meteor?


One thing to remember is that you're talking about a private party primary, not a governmental election with a lawfully prescribed chain of succession. The party can do whatever it damn well pleases. They could make up new rules on the fly. Example: The current Democratic brouhaha over Michigan and Florida will be settled by a few handshake agreements at the convention.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:45 PM on May 13, 2008


My father is older than McCain. He was in a plane shot down during WORLD FREAKING WAR FREAKING TWO. But not taken prisoner, just left floating with the rest of his crew in the Pacific Ocean for 16 hours until a rescue craft could reach them. Which is not as traumatic as most, although "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome" is a pretty good description for his demeanor for most of my life. That said, I wouldn't vote for my father for dog catcher (partly because he's nicer to dogs than to people), let alone President of the United States. And he did turn against Bush far earlier than any other life-long Republicans I know, which is to his credit. So, I might consider supporting him for Senator if he ran against Diane Feinstein. But not President. No way.
posted by wendell at 4:48 PM on May 13, 2008


Stay on topic or I'll have the feckin' hide off ye.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:00 PM on May 13, 2008


At least John McCain is younger than the state he represents.

By 24 years.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:01 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


it was something that wasn't entirely a fantasy, something that actually happened, that killed people.

Which explains why "Titanic" was one of the all-time biggest box office hits of all time and "Pearl Harbor"wasn't. Too many people still around to say "hey, waitaminute..." "Saving Private Ryan" barely passed my WWII Vet father's historical standard, but then, he was in a plane over the Pacific, not on the ground in France, so how did he REALLY know?

Then again, if we judge James Cameron's other cinematic achievement by the same standards, then you can't really judge "Terminator" unless you were alive during the machines' takeover of the Earth - or will be. (That's why I have time travel sci-fi...)
posted by wendell at 5:01 PM on May 13, 2008


My overall problem with McCain's age is that, hey, he's lived his life. He's running on a platform of keeping everything the same, against a man who is running on a platform of Change.

I'm so sorry that you haven't been paying much attention to the election.
posted by gyc at 5:08 PM on May 13, 2008


The gray is gray. It is neither blue nor green.

Oh, man. That is so deep. You're totally BLOWING MY MIND.
posted by dersins at 5:09 PM on May 13, 2008


Stay on topic or I'll have the feckin' hide off ye.

Good luck containing all the people who are brave enough to speak out on an Internet message board filled with like-minded users.
posted by Leon-arto at 5:12 PM on May 13, 2008


The gray is gray. It is neither blue nor green.

I'm trying to figure out if that either makes no sense or if it makes so much sense that I just can't handle it.
posted by puke & cry at 5:19 PM on May 13, 2008


The gray is, in fact, grey.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on May 13, 2008


The gray is, in fact, grey.

Unless, you're a, you know, a Grey.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2008


Topicality isn't something that's particularly enforced in the grey; never has been, likely never will be. Arguing against topic drift in here comes off as a skosh quixotic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:29 PM on May 13, 2008


Reticulan, CPB. Reticulan.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:29 PM on May 13, 2008


Good luck containing all the people who are brave enough to speak out on an Internet message board filled with like-minded users.

And good luck to you sir, with a little more practice I think you have a good chance of taking the gold in the petulance olympics.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:30 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


XQUZYPHYR writes "People suggesting that 'McCain is too old' and 'Obama is too black' are comparative arguments offend me far more than either of those two notions independently. One is about the actual physical limitations a person might have that could affect their ability to perform their job."

If McCain can't lift 50 pounds over his shoulders for eight solid hours, then we have to hire someone else to load out the delivery trucks, and that would just be wasteful.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:34 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


And good luck to you sir . . .

Whooosh.

And it goes over your head. Chillax.
posted by Leon-arto at 5:36 PM on May 13, 2008


what happens? Do the delegates vote for however they feel like? What about delegates that are bound by law to vote for the winners of their states primary?


The closest analogy is probably 1968 when Robert Kennedy was assassinated two months before the 1968 democratic national convention. Hubert Humphrey was later nominated without running in a single primary. But Humphrey's nomination was so problematic that it led to the McGovern - Fraser commission which overhauled the whole nominating process for both the democrats and the republicans to what we know today.

As far as what would happen today, I think it depends on the party. If it was the dems, it would be a shit storm just like it was in 1968. If it was the republicans, they'd go behind closed doors, a puff of white smoke would appear from the chimney, and they'd have their candidate.
posted by cjets at 5:41 PM on May 13, 2008


You know who else was younger than John McCain?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2008


The gray is, in fact, grey.

Well, that's the conventional wisdom on the subject. I think it's still too close to call.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:43 PM on May 13, 2008


Some people think it's brown, which I've never understood.
posted by puke & cry at 5:44 PM on May 13, 2008


Ah, I was just funnin ya Leon-arto. I'm afraid, however, that I am constitutionally incapable of chillaxing, sorry.
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:06 PM on May 13, 2008


gyc writes "I'm so sorry that you haven't been paying much attention to the election."

I'm sorry that you haven't been paying attention to the political spectrum, conflict theory, and functionalism. It works like this: the 'liberals,' the 'left,' 'democrats,' 'hippies,' 'commies,' etc, blah, are representative (in general) of the conflict theory school of thought. They agitate for change and work against the status quo because. In a nutshell, their position is that things suck and they need to change.

The 'right,' 'conservatives,' 'fascists,' 'republicans,' represent the functionalism school. In a nutshell, their position is that things are the way they are for a reason, and change represents a threat to our sacred way of living.

If McCain weren't against Change, (and he's not completely against it, to the chagrin of the party wingnuts, and will continue to pander shift left as he approaches November) he wouldn't be a republican. Likewise, if Obama weren't for Change (and he's not completely for it, and will continue to pander shift right as he approaches November) he wouldn't be a democrat.
posted by mullingitover at 6:14 PM on May 13, 2008


If there is a running mate does anything change if they are also killed by the meteor?

My favorite Ripley's Believe it or Not off all time was an illustration of a meteor with the caption "No meteor has ever hit the earth".
posted by Tube at 6:18 PM on May 13, 2008


I voted for Microsoft in the primary, but I don't pay much attention. Did he win yet?
posted by Kwine at 6:37 PM on May 13, 2008


Just watch Leno every night, you'll get them all by August.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2008


I voted for Microsoft in the primary, but I don't pay much attention. Did he win yet?

Is this the thread where I scream, "Vote Apple or you're a fascist!"?
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 PM on May 13, 2008


nope, next thread
posted by owhydididoit at 10:25 PM on May 13, 2008


I voted for Microsoft in the primary, but I don't pay much attention. Did he win yet?

No, a surprise write-in campaign apparently gave it to Diebold.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:39 AM on May 14, 2008


Leon-arto writes "If MeFi wants to survive this election season intact then we're going to need higher standards for content."

Dude, I'm noticing that you're speaking "for" Metafilter a lot lately. When'd you buy the place?
posted by orthogonality at 5:53 AM on May 14, 2008


orthogonality:

.llort eht deef t'nod
posted by Mister_A at 6:58 AM on May 14, 2008


XQUZYPHYR: "People suggesting that "McCain is too old" and "Obama is too black" are comparative arguments offend me far more than either of those two notions independently. One is about the actual physical limitations a person might have that could affect their ability to perform their job. The other is an argument over how racist a majority of voters may or may not be.

You don't have to agree with them but there are legitimate arguments about someone being too old to perform a certain task. If you can offer a non-racist explanation about how Obama is "too black" to perform certain presidential duties then say so or shut up with this stupid straw man argument.
"

I can see your point, but I nevertheless disagree. Here's why:

(1) As others have already pointed out, while being "old" (and nobody here has yet defined exactly how old "old" is - 60? 65? 70?) is correlated with higher rates of dementia, lower energy levels, and poorer health, this does not mean that every "old" individual is senile, lethargic, and infirm. Plenty of "old" people are healthy, energetic, and mentally sharp, and plenty of "young" people have poor mental and physical health. Two of the men that top most people's lists of great presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, had debilitating illnesses (polio and Addison's disease, respectively). Another president who tops many lists of great presidents (Ronald Reagan) was McCain's age at the start of his second term. Given this, all the OMG MCCAIN IS SO OLD! stuff is not much of an argument. Until someone points to specifics about his health and sanity, saying that he is old is merely a description, not an argument.

(2) Like it or not, many people out there do think of blackness as presenting physical and/or mental limitations, and point to lower rates of educational attainment, higher rates of incarceration, and lower socioeconomic status as evidence that blacks, and black men in particular, are innately less capable or intelligent, and thus don't have what it takes to be president. You can brush this off as simple racism (and indeed I would agree), but the (racist) assumption that blacks are by nature less capable is not much different than the (ageist) assumption that "old" people are by nature less capable. Some old people are less capable, and indeed more old people may be less capable than most young people. But that does not necessarily mean that a particular "old" person, in this case McCain, is less capable, until someone has convincingly demonstrated a specific reason for why they might be less capable other than the fact that they are "old."

(3) I have yet to see an argument for why someone might be too "old" to be president that is any better than arguments presented for why someone might be too "black" or too "female" to be president. They are all distasteful, because they all do the same thing: take a person's membership in a particular group and presume that they innately share some (true or false) negative characteristic of that group. Thus:

- McCain is too old to be president because old people have more dementia, so he will probably develop dementia and make bad decisions.

- Obama is too black to be president because black people are more likely to be convicted of crimes, so he will probably do things that are unconstitutional or illegal.

- Clinton is too female to be president because women are not as physically and mentally tough as men, so she won't be a good enough commander in chief.

So no, I can't offer you non-racist arguments for why Obama is "too black" or Clinton "too female" to be president; but I contend that you can't offer me non-ageist arguments for why McCain is "too old," either.
posted by googly at 7:22 AM on May 14, 2008


So, if Osama wears boxers and Hillary wears panties, what does McCain wear ?

Depends!
posted by y2karl at 7:30 AM on May 14, 2008


but I contend that you can't offer me non-ageist arguments for why McCain is "too old," either.

Some of the crazy shit McCain says makes you wonder if he's senile.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2008


but the (racist) assumption that blacks are by nature less capable is not much different than the (ageist) assumption that "old" people are by nature less capable.

Really, man? It's a fact of life that as people age, by and large they do not have the same capabilities as they once had. That's the nature of things, and is accepted. As a group, outliers notwithstanding, most of our skills will diminish as we enter our 70's for certain.

It is not a fact of life that black people are by nature, less able than whites.

I have yet to see an argument for why someone might be too "old" to be president that is any better than arguments presented for why someone might be too "black" or too "female" to be president. They are all distasteful, because they all do the same thing: take a person's membership in a particular group and presume that they innately share some (true or false) negative characteristic of that group.

So no, I can't offer you non-racist arguments for why Obama is "too black" or Clinton "too female" to be president; but I contend that you can't offer me non-ageist arguments for why McCain is "too old," either.


If age meant nothing across groups in terms of dwindling mental capacity, then you'd have a case. But you don't, because blacks, women, Australian people - will all face old age.

The argument that it is ageist to suggest McCain's age should be considered is like saying it's ageist to say Matthew LaClair's age should be considered, were he eligible by rule.

Teens have been shown to have processing differences that result in problems - hence driving laws and other things that are different. Elderly persons have those same issues.

Barack Obama will have his own issues of age should he get to 72.
Hillary Clinton will have her own issues of age should she get to 72.
John McCain will not have his own issues of blackness in a few years.
John McCain will not have his own issues of femininity in a few years.

These things just don't compare. Try to lump it in with sexism and racism, but no, it doesn't work.

But hey, if we could just administer a battery of neuropsychological tests to the candidates, we could see what cognitive processing deficits they have.
posted by cashman at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2008


"Another president who tops many lists of great presidents (Ronald Reagan) was McCain's age at the start of his second term. Given this, all the OMG MCCAIN IS SO OLD! stuff is not much of an argument. Until someone points to specifics about his health and sanity, saying that he is old is merely a description, not an argument."

Reagan was a terrible president, and his bullshit "I don't recall" act was directly related to his advanced age. Those "many lists" are all written by Republicans who want FDR off the dime.
posted by klangklangston at 9:01 AM on May 14, 2008


googly writes "Another president who tops many lists of great presidents (Ronald Reagan) was McCain's age at the start of his second term. Given this, all the OMG MCCAIN IS SO OLD! stuff is not much of an argument. "

Was this supposed to be a positive argument? Imagine Reagan being born two years earlier. He still would have been in charge of the big red button while being afflicted by alzheimers. There is some evidence of this being the case anyways. And age is the prime risk factor, 25-50% of people (there's a nice narrow range) aged 85 have it.
posted by Mitheral at 9:32 AM on May 14, 2008


Did you mean to say "Osama", karl?
posted by Mister_A at 9:33 AM on May 14, 2008


McCain is "too old!" Obama is "too black!"

Why can't we have both? Ladies and gentlemen, I present my nomination for President of the United States.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:22 AM on May 14, 2008


cashman, your points are well taken. I agree that ageism (a word that I usually avoid) is not the same thing as sexism and racism. However, I still think that the style of arguments that are under consideration are very similar - e.g.:

- Person X is a member of some group Y.
- That group Y exhibits some characteristic at a higher rate than other groups and/or the general population.
- We should seriously consider disqualifying person X from a particular job because of their membership in that group.

If I had evidence that McCain in particular exhibited the cognitive deficits that people 70+ are more likely to suffer from, then I would wholeheartedly agree that we should think twice about electing him president. But what I'm hearing a lot of here - and what that colossally stupid website seemed to imply (it didn't really have an argument of any sort) - was McCain=old=probably senile.

As for Reagan, I didn't think he was a particularly good president, either. But the "many lists" I refer to were not written by Republican shills, they were surveys of scholars and the general public. His "I don't recall" act had less to do with his age and more to do with his attempt to evade responsibility. And yes, it is worrying to know that Reagan had his finger on the button while he had early symptoms of Alzheimer's; but its also worrying to know that Kennedy - one of our youngest presidents - had his finger on the same button while taking daily doses of cortisone and possibly amphetamines. All I am saying is that I would prefer a reasoned discussion of the actual health problems that particular candidates face to the LOLOLDGUYS exhibited in the original link and much subsequent discussion.
posted by googly at 10:28 AM on May 14, 2008


With Suri Cruise to balance out the ticket, Dr-Baa.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 AM on May 14, 2008


I would prefer a reasoned discussion of the actual health problems that particular candidates face to the LOLOLDGUYS exhibited in the original link and much subsequent discussion.

I think most of us agree to that. But in general, acting like McCain isn't closer to health problems because of his age is disingenuous, I think.

We can get into sub-sub-subgroup descriptions to flesh out their chances in general, the presidential race notwithstanding, but I think it's kind of a farce of a comparison.

"guys, let's compare the ability of these three pregnant women to run a marathon. Helena Clinton is normal and 4 months pregnant. Beatrice Obama is normal and 2 months pregnant. Jen McCain is normal and 7 and 1/2 months pregnant.

Don't you dare bring up that Jen is likely to have more issues running the marathon!"

But what I'm hearing a lot of here - is McCain=old=probably senile.

Everybody will likely suffer a cognitive decline as they get as old (in their 70's) as John McCain. Go talk to a neuropsychologist if you don't want to believe it. If your argument is "yeah, but John McCain hasn't been proven to have those". Yeah - but is he being tested for it? How would you know?

The essential idea here is that anybody of advanced age is likely facing cognitive deficits. That's the part a neuropsychologist can assure you is likely. Since there's no group to test McCain's facilities to show a decline before it becomes obvious, marked and seriously problematic, then you're essentially arguing that the matter shouldn't be approached until we're screwed, assuming he were to become president.

And even if he did become president, he'd be 76 the last 1/2 year. I think the chances of there being some health related issues that would prevent one from performing "the hardest job in the world" are pretty significant at age 76, no?

But anyway, this is getting into super-duper hypothetical land. We can just wait and see him perform in numerous debates and things like that to hopefully see how he acts. But even then I suspect him making mistakes, forgetting things and mangling answers will only be looked at as "quaint" by some, should that happen.

Someone asked what would happen if he was deemed unfit - and that's a very good question the more I think about it. If he decides his health issues are too great and that he is removing himself, and the Republican party puts somebody in at an opportune time, things could get very interesting, very very quickly.
posted by cashman at 11:03 AM on May 14, 2008


The essential impossibility of getting rid of a President for exhibiting symptoms of alzhiemers is what makes a discussion of McCains age relevant. Unlike say, long haul trucker, if McCain starts getting confused on his way to the bathroom his employer probably won't even know let alone be able to do anything about it.
posted by Mitheral at 11:21 AM on May 14, 2008


I saw a really interesting documentary on Reagan's cognitive decline after the assassination attempt. There's some evidence that he never really got it together after that. I wish I could remember the name of the thing, I saw it on the TV...

The reason I bring it up is that, outside of frank Alzheimer's, it is very possible for older people to suffer serious and permanent impairment following a traumatic event (like being shot) or procedure-there's evidence that coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery can cause cognitive impairment, but the jury's out on whether it's self-correcting, how serious, etc.
posted by Mister_A at 11:34 AM on May 14, 2008


I don't understand why the McCain thread was deleted but the post about Bush's idiotic golf comment is still there. The Bush interview is hardly the best of the web, and it's being replayed all over the MSM anyway. The McCain website might be dumb, but at least it's a website. Of the two, the McCain post seems more appropriate for MeFi.
posted by homunculus at 12:23 PM on May 14, 2008


I'm guessing, Mister_A, but there's a decent chance it was the Reagan episode of the Discovery Channel's Altered Statesmen series. I'm no expert, but they make a pretty convincing case.
posted by box at 2:31 PM on May 14, 2008


What many people seem to be arguing is that senility or feeblenessis a factor to consider in picking the president: I agree. But the website in question (and many of the comments in this thread) is not about senility or feebleness, but is about age. The website was not called 'Things Less Senile Than John McCain.'
posted by shakespeherian at 3:45 PM on May 14, 2008


I prefer to vote based on salinity and keeblerness.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:54 PM on May 14, 2008


Plenty of "old" people are healthy, energetic, and mentally sharp, and plenty of "young" people have poor mental and physical health.

Plenty? "Plenty" is still a minority. Maybe 5-10% on each end of the spectrum.

You are missing the real issue. We don't base these things on the outliers or the exceptions. But on the rule.

Every single older person has diminished capacity compared to their younger selves. Those few energetic oldsters you mention (and their feeble younger counter parts) would STILL test out with "plenty" of marked cognitive differences between their 70 year old selves and their 40 year old selves. Facts are facts.

Personally I want a president at the combined peak of their health, wisdom, and intellectual powers. And common sense and scientific fact tells me that with most people that doesn't happen at 72.

BTW. If you honestly think that 70 year old you will have the same energy and cognitive level as the 40 year old you... email me immediately and I will fund the publication of your #1 Best Selling Diet and Lifestyle book. We will be rich and it won't matter if we are drooling retards at age 75 or not.
posted by tkchrist at 4:55 PM on May 14, 2008


"Plenty" is still a minority. .... We don't base these things on the outliers or the exceptions. But on the rule.

Hopefully, we base them on the individual, not the stereotype. Sample size is 3. Makes correlations shaky.

a former POW who has suffered severe trauma to his body and mind.

You really want to win over middle America? (or see fireworks on MeFi?) Start a post about how we can't trust McCain because he was a POW. Or any veteran, because of the trauma of war.
posted by msalt at 5:50 PM on May 14, 2008


You are missing the real issue. We don't base these things on the outliers or the exceptions. But on the rule.

Statistics should be a required course for voters.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2008


Start a post about how we can't trust McCain because he was a POW. Or any veteran, because of the trauma of war.

Worked for the character assassination done of Kerry in 2004.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2008


It is one thing to have read a little history. It is quite another to have lived some. The difference is the willingness to consider the issues, against the memory of the taste of blood in your mouth, and heartbeats skipped as your jet falls towards a carrier deck.

I will take the risk of a man possibly losing his judgment at some point in the future, over the present certainty that another, younger man, who has never demonstrated any judgment, meaningfully, can suddenly, out of the blue, exercise such. I say this as a man who has seen family and friends confront senility, personally. Few people bullshit themselves, or loved ones, when their faculties start to slip, because it's just not something you can get away with, in situations with people who know you.

Too many people know the modern American president, for a daft, drooling idiot to long occupy the seat, despite the cute remarks many Mefites make about the current resident of public housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. McCain vs. Obama is no contest in my mind, simply because Obama is not someone I think anyone truly trusts. He's a beacon of hope for many, but hope is just a wish. And a wish is a fart in the wind, to America's enemies, to people willing to blow themselves up in hopes of martyrdom.

When the martyrs retire, let those of our leaders who remember war, retire, too. There will still be days for young men to shape, when the future is more forgiving of their inexperience, and callow youth.
posted by paulsc at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2008


keeblerness

Yummmmm, cookies!
posted by deborah at 8:45 PM on May 14, 2008


Frankly, at this point I wouldn't really care if the republican candidate was Jesus Christ himself. After dealing with these cunt slappers for the past 8 years I wouldn't vote for any of them.
posted by puke & cry at 10:24 PM on May 14, 2008


Every single older person has diminished capacity compared to their younger selves.

That would be relevant, if "old" McCain could run against "young" McCain from 25 years ago. But since he can't, all that matters is his current capacity.

McCain vs. Obama is no contest in my mind, simply because Obama is not someone I think anyone truly trusts. He's a beacon of hope for many, but hope is just a wish. And a wish is a fart in the wind, to America's enemies, to people willing to blow themselves up in hopes of martyrdom.

I just don't know how to respond to that. So, to paraphrase Reagan, do you feel more secure than you did eight years ago? Do you think the world is a safer place? If so, I guess you should vote for McCain. You can certainly trust him to continue the current downward arc of today's US foreign policy, I guess.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:18 PM on May 14, 2008


paulsc
Yeah, me & my monkey has it. The contest in your mind is way, way off. People, many people, are just tired of the last 8 years. They are willing to roll the dice. Polls show this. I'm not sure what's different in "your mind", but in the minds of many voters, it's also no contest, but completely the opposite.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:13 AM on May 15, 2008


The difference is the willingness to consider the issues, against the memory of the taste of blood in your mouth, and heartbeats skipped as your jet falls towards a carrier deck.

Mission Accomplished, then, eh ?
posted by y2karl at 1:11 AM on May 15, 2008


tkchrist: You are missing the real issue. We don't base these things on the outliers or the exceptions. But on the rule.

Let me respectfully submit that you are the one who is missing the point. When we legislate, regulate, and set policies that impact populations, we do base things on the rule rather than the exception. However, when electing people to public office, I really hope that voters very specifically base their decisions on the outliers, the exceptions. That is, I hope that they assess the traits and characteristics of the individuals who run for office and then determine which individual is best suited for office. If you advocate choosing elected officials based on "the rule" rather than the "exception," then we might as well just find people who are the most statistically average in every respect and vote them into office.

Every single older person has diminished capacity compared to their younger selves. Those few energetic oldsters you mention (and their feeble younger counter parts) would STILL test out with "plenty" of marked cognitive differences between their 70 year old selves and their 40 year old selves. Facts are facts.

I'm not sure what your point is here. Of course older people have diminished capacities compared to their younger selves. But what does that have to do with capacity for office? Are you arguing that because a 70-year-old Kennedy would have been diminished compared to the 40-year old Kennedy, then it was perfectly OK to elect Kennedy despite his diminshed capacities? Are you arguing that you would choose any 40-year-old over any 70-year-old, just because that 40-year-old would be more energetic and capable than their older self, even if she was less capable at 40 than her opponent is at 70? That strikes me as a pretty feeble argument. This may be a fact, but its a pretty damn irrelevant one.

Personally I want a president at the combined peak of their health, wisdom, and intellectual powers. And common sense and scientific fact tells me that with most people that doesn't happen at 72.

Hey, we agree on this one. But common sense and basic statistics tell me that, while this doesn't happen with most people when they are 72, some people who are 72 may well be healthy enough, capable enough, and a good deal wiser than their 40-year-old opponents. They are the outliers. You seem to think that it is "scientific fact" that all 72-year-olds are feebler than all 40-years-olds. But that is not the case, because the distributions overlap. You need to think through your statistics a bit more.

BTW. If you honestly think that 70 year old you will have the same energy and cognitive level as the 40 year old you... email me immediately and I will fund the publication of your #1 Best Selling Diet and Lifestyle book. We will be rich and it won't matter if we are drooling retards at age 75 or not.


Now you're just being combative and trying to put words in my mouth. Nowhere did I say anything about thinking that 70 year old me would have the same energy and productivity level as 40 year old me. If you had taken the time to actually read my arguments, you'd see that I am arguing that some 70 year-olds are just as capable and energetic as some 40 year olds. I don't look at a candidate and base my vote on the law of averages, I base my vote on that person's individual characteristics - some of which may actually identify them as an outlier. At this point, I am willing to believe that McCain is one of those outliers in terms of fitness, energy, and mental capacity. The reason I won't vote for him has nothing to do with the fact that he is "old," but because I strongly disagree with some of his views and proposed policies.

But hey, if you want to vote based on "the rule," then go right ahead. Of course, that means that by definition you will reject any exceptional candidate that happens along.
posted by googly at 6:49 AM on May 15, 2008


I wonder if the same people will be making these ageist arguments when Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016?
posted by timeistight at 9:45 AM on May 15, 2008


I wonder if the same people will be making these ageist arguments when Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016?

I wonder if the neologism "ageism" (or at least its new definition in relation to McCain) is the new "evolutionism".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:00 AM on May 15, 2008


I'm not sure there's a new definition here, really, but I could be missing some nuance. Here's what the OED has on 'ageism'

Prejudice or discrimination against people on the grounds of age; age discrimination, esp. against the elderly. Cf. RACISM b, SEXISM.

1969 Washington Post 7 Mar. A6/1 Dr. Robert Butler..believes many of his Chevy Chase neighbors suffer from ‘age-ism’. 1969 R. N. BUTLER in Gerontologist Winter 243/1 We shall soon have to consider..a form of bigotry we now tend to overlook: age discrimination or age-ism, prejudice by one age group toward other age groups. Ibid. 243/2 Age-ism describes the subjective experience implied in the popular notion of the generation gap. 1973 Observer (Colour Suppl.) 30 Sept. 61/3 In the United States, the fight against ‘agism’, as they describe the process of discrimination on grounds of age. 1977 Grimsby Even. Tel. 27 May 2/5 ‘Like sexism and racism, ageism has had its day,’ said Dr. Alex Comfort, a world expert on ageing. Old people had to get moving and be bloody-minded to improve their lot. 1982 Times 2 Aug. 9/1 ‘Agism’ is a new word in the lexicon of fashionable evils. Like..sexism and racism, it seeks to express an old evil in a new wayin this case prejudice in thought and deed against the old. 1983 Daily Tel. 21 Nov. 12/8 Ageism might be a joke, but it is meant only too seriously.


And 'ageist':

A. n. One who advocates or practises ageism. B. adj. Pertaining to or characterized by ageism; discriminating on the grounds of age.

1970 Daily Tel. 2 June 12/4 The jack-booted agists of West Sussex must be stopped before they subject the elderly to the whole terror-apparatus of the Police State. 1974 Newsweek 6 May 24/3 She called him ‘a sexist, age-ist pig’. 1978 Lancet 19 Aug. 422/1 It is..extremely disheartening that you should be so ageist as to head the article ‘Care of the Elderly’. ‘The elderly’ is a figure of speech, metonymy, in which one attribute is used to describe the whole, just as in ‘the Irish’, ‘the blacks’,..and ‘the delinquents’. 1980 Maledicta III. 249 This was before the GAA (Gay Activists' Alliancewhy not GAY? I suppose Gay American Youth would have been agist). 1983 S. DAY-LEWIS in Daily Tel. 21 Nov. 11/4 The proposer of the motor-cycle film said that the riders ranged from the middle-aged to the ‘fresh faced and pimply’ and quickly apologised in case he sounded ‘ageist’.

posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2008


I'm aware of its previous usage. I guess it doesn't really apply here, since McCain is being allowed to run for office with no restrictions. No one has taken away his driver's license, even. Call it ageism when he's given an eye exam at the debates, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:33 AM on May 15, 2008


Forget the word, Alex. The question is "If Hilary Clinton (D. O. B. 26 October, 1947) is the democratic candidate in 2016, will you vote for her?" If you will (and I bet you do) then the whole issue of McCain's age is a red herring.
posted by timeistight at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2008


I doubt few people, if anybody would seriously vote against McCain because of his age, itself, so much as the consequences of his age and what little has been made public knowledge about his health.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:36 AM on May 15, 2008


If you will (and I bet you do) then the whole issue of McCain's age is a red herring.

Hi, Arthur. I wouldn't vote for her now, why do you think I would vote for her then. And what is her health in 2016? Your example depends on so many hypotheticals that it makes little sense to invoke it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2008


I guess it doesn't really apply here, since McCain is being allowed to run for office with no restrictions. No one has taken away his driver's license, even. Call it ageism when he's given an eye exam at the debates, maybe.

Yeah, no, I agree with you on that; but in the same sense, a black man and a woman are also being allowed to run for the office. I wouldn't say the primary season has so far been clear of elements of racism or sexism, though, by existing definition. It's basically in that sense that I'm wondering if there's really a neologism here to speak of vs. just a matter of degree in the application of the existing usage.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:45 AM on May 15, 2008


I wouldn't vote for her now, why do you think I would vote for her then.

I stand corrected, then. So you'll sit this one out if she somehow gets the nomination?
posted by timeistight at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2008


I stand corrected, then. So you'll sit this one out if she somehow gets the nomination?

Yes, Arthur, you stand corrected. No, I presume that someone as culturally and politically divisive as Hillary, if she happens to be around in 2016, and if she is nominated, will motivate an attractive third-party alternative to run, so I'm sure I'll have many non-age-based criteria to use to make a selection, as will everyone else.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on May 15, 2008


I wonder if the same people will be making these ageist arguments when Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016?

I wonder if your car was approaching 150,000 miles, if you'd be worried about it breaking down. Would you scoff at the mechanic who suggested you might be more likely to break down on the side of the road with that car, versus one with a lot less miles?

That's all this is. McCain has a lot of miles on him and sure there are cars that go past 200,000 miles. But more often than not, those cars with original parts with like 150k on them are going to break down in the foreseeable future.

To point to 2 of the same model car, with much less mileage on them, and try to act like there is no reason to be the slightest bit concerned that the one with 150k on it will be breaking down pretty soon, is silly.

Especially if it was in a major wreck years earlier that caused irreversible damage, had to be recalled a few times and has kicked out numerous suspicious knocks and chugs.

I'm stretching the analogy, but still.
posted by cashman at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2008


"Agism."

"A-what!?"
posted by Sys Rq at 4:29 PM on May 15, 2008


"I doubt few people, if anybody would seriously vote against McCain because of his age, itself, so much as the consequences of his age and what little has been made public knowledge about his health."

No, I'm going to vote against him because he's full of ideas that will make America worse. That he's a deluded, venal, hypocritical geezer with a totally creepy head is secondary.
posted by klangklangston at 7:32 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Exactly. If his ideas were better than the other candidates', McCain would be the better choice. Which is the main reason why this analogy doesn't work. They are not the same model of car.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:09 PM on May 15, 2008


I wonder how many people who think McCain's age should prohibit him from serving in office feel the same way about Ted Kennedy, who is four years older.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:16 PM on May 17, 2008


Is there a big Ted Kennedy Presidential push I'm not aware of, shakespeherian? If a senator falls ill, he can step down or just vote the party line and not cause a huge scene. A president stepping down is a much bigger deal. (Especially if he ends up picking a Romney or Huckabee as his vice president to make the GOP happy.)
posted by Gary at 2:30 PM on May 17, 2008


Some basis for McCain's 100 more years in Iraq comments.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:13 PM on May 17, 2008


Ted Kennedy, who is four years older.

And, unless I'm mistaken, still in hospital. God is so ageist.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:18 PM on May 17, 2008


Is there a big Ted Kennedy Presidential push I'm not aware of, shakespeherian?

No, but I've never heard anyone talking about Kennedy's being on the verge of Alzheimer's or dementia, nor have I heard anyone argue that whoever is running for his Massachusetts Senate seat should win because he's younger and therefore his abilities have not diminished with age.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:22 PM on May 17, 2008


It's not like the mental condition of some of your more elderly senators never comes up. Strom Thurmond comes to mind as someone whose mental capability for the job of senator was questioned in his later years.

Besides, the damage an individual senator can do is moderated by senate. Even in committee there has to be a least a couple other people who agree with them. So it's less of an issue. The president has immense immediate power both passive and active. A senator who fails to make a descison because they are confused isn't going to have much impact (if it comes down to a single deciding vote either side is probably ok).
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on May 18, 2008


That's silly. You're telling me that Massachusetts residents continually re-elect Kennedy thinking, 'It's okay that he probably has dementia, since the rest of the Senate will even out his crazy vote. We only really need one functioning senator anyway'?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on May 18, 2008


In the general election, that doesn't seem so far fetched, shakespherian. I don't think they say "he probably has dementia", but I do think his party affiliation outweighs any potential risk. With the senate so tight, if you're a Democrat you might easily prefer a health risk who will vote for your party than a eager young senator who will keep casting the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Republicans.

So the real place this should come up is in the primaries (or whatever the equivalent nomination process is for senate seats). But with an incumbency rate of 88% for the senate, it doesn't seem worth the risk of running someone new who might have something in their past or say something dumb to screw up the campaign.

I don't think McCain's age should disallow him from running for president. But I do think it will place a lot more scrutiny on his choice of vice president than if he were in his 50s.
posted by Gary at 1:18 PM on May 18, 2008


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