Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Overcoming Objections: The Oldness

For the remainder of the week I want to focus on WHY voters remain undecided, or more specifically, what their objections are to a McCain presidency. If we can overcome these key objections, their votes - and the Presidency - is won. Today's "objection" is the most basic: "The Oldness."

Let's face it: there is nothing McCain can do to magically become younger between now and November. Despite giving a free pass to 73-yr-old Ron Paul, and 60+ Hillary Clinton, the media continues subtle digs like "he takes medication like many aging Americans." I even saw Dr Sanjay Gupta describing a cancerous post-growth that McCain (bum-bum-bum) might have. (Um, aren't there sick people somewhere you should be helping?!)

So for those who have bought into this "Oldness is Bad" campaign: what ARE the downsides of having a President who's old?

He may die or create instability due to failing health. The release of McCain's volumnious health records should put minds at ease. But actions really do speak louder than words - seeing McCain vigorous on the campaign trail, connecting with younger voters, supported by youth organizations are all important.

As America ages, the days of the gold-watch-at-65 are over, the White House should be no exception.

His Vice President may have to take the reins. The solution here is a young, vibrant VP choice with leadership experience and credibility among swing voters. A few young but qualified suggestions include Watts, Jindal, and Palin - see more VP options.

He may represent an old way of doing things. McCain's speech last night was the perfect antidote to this. Opponents can claim till they're blue in the face that McCain represents more of the same, but the facts clearly say otherwise: it is abundantly clear to anyone seeking facts that McCain the notorious "maverick" is his own man. We can help McCain by emphasizing some of the major changes implemented on his watch: my personal favorites are campaign finance reform, and the 'surge', the Iraq strategy that is yielding real results on the ground.

He may secretly have Alzheimer's and do crazy things. You know, like sit down with Ahmadinejad and Castro (oh, wait, no that was his 46-year-old opponent). Or propose an Iraq strategy without having been there. Or claiming to attend a church for 20 years and not know and accept its teachings.

The reality is, yeah, McCain has done some crazy things. Like speaking out against his party's own President when his Iraq policy threatened lives and our safety. Like working with (gasp) Democrats to pass legislation needed to save money, save lives and save the planet. Like going to Iowa and speaking against corn subsidies. Like voting against bad, pork-laden legislation when supporting it would be politically expedient. There is no form of crazy we haven't already seen - and in the vast majority of cases, a crazy McCain is better than any other 'sane' Senator in Washington.

An older President would be more worried about keeping up appearances. MCCain will be, in all likelihood, a one-term President, and spoke specifically last night about the end of the 'perpetual campaign.' A President acting free from concerns about re-election and can follow his conscience rather than his approval ratings. McCain has never shied away from doing the right things, there is no reason to believe he would start now.

I could talk until I'm blue in the face about Obama's inexperience and the dire consequences of having a rookie in the Oval Office. But at the end of the day, we need to do more than discredit Obama. We have to make the case that McCain has what America needs: the perfect balance of experience and independence. Very few Washington politicians emerge from a quarter-century career with both a successful record and their dignity intact. McCain is that rare man. And that is why I put aside housework, bathtime, errands, and yes, even sleep to advocate on his behalf.

John McCain may have silver hair, but his leadership will be a golden age for America.

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