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In a recent column, 61-year old Maureen Dowd wrote about the inevitability of the nomination of 68-year (in 2013) Hillary Clinton, especially if 73-year Joe Biden would do the right thing and stand aside. Her chief source of quotes was 68-year James Carville.

Before John Kerry in 2004, we have to go all the way back to 61-year Horatio Seymour's sacrificial-lamb candidacy against Ulysses S. Grant in 1868 to find a first-time party nominee aged older than 59. (Seymour died a few weeks after the election; if elected, he definitely wouldn't have served.)

The party likes to go young (a simple fact that Dowd could have confirmed with Google, but why do any homework when James Carville will take your calls?). Considering the way the demographics of the party are trending, Clinton's nomination is anything but a gimme.

Had Hillary Clinton led a principled opposition to the Iraq war instead of trimming to the political winds of the hour, she'd be in her second term right now. She has no one but herself to blame for being faced with the task of becoming the oldest first-time nominee in the history of the Democratic party.

What, really, has distinguished her in the last five years? Barack Obama has directed foreign policy from the White House; Clinton's presence has been no stronger than anyone else's. She has, as far as I know, never stopped ducking the question of her support for the Iraq War.

That Clinton has "gone to hell and back trying to be president" (Carville) doesn't entitle her to anything. Perhaps she should stop with the makeover and step aside.

Tue May 13, 2014 at 8:47 PM PT: Rereading this diary and the comments, I was unclear on one point: If nominated in 2016, Hillary Clinton would be the oldest first-time Democratic party nominee. As a couple of commenters pointed out, Republicans have chosen several first-time nominees older than 60. Also, I excluded Harry Truman, who was already president when nominated for the first time at age 62.

For the record, I myself will be in my 60s in 2016. I wrote this diary simply to point out a fact of Democratic party history, not take a position on whether HRC is too old or not. |

As for knowing who my target audience is, this is a diary. By definition, the audience is myself. In any case, I know of no rule of writing that says that good writing tells people what they want to hear.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    "There is no room for injustice anywhere in the American mansion." Lyndon Johnson

    by pkgoode on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 04:54:32 AM PDT

  •  I agree. (5+ / 0-)

    I don't get all this Hillary is the next nominee.

    And I wanted to confim something awhile back: Reagan was 68/69 in 80, and we found out that that was too old for a president.  Well, as you say, Hiillary will be 68/69 also.  If Reagan was too old, then so is Hillary.  

    Everybody's genes/health are different.  But I see how my parents became "old" when they hit their early 70s.  And I have grandparents that lived into their early 90s.  Add how aging the presidency is, and no.  We need a younger candidate.

    Of course, I wouldn't support a 60 year old Hillary, either.      

     

    Republicans: if they only had a heart.

    by leu2500 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:06:12 AM PDT

    •  Reagan was too old (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DFWmom, leu2500

      because he was suffering from dementia already, I haven't seen signs of that in Hillary.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:11:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are plenty of other health issues (0+ / 0-)

        as one ages.  

        It's a stressful job.  I believe that there is an age limit.  YMMV.

        But even if you personally are fine with Hillary's age, are you fine with it being an issue in the general campaign?

        Republicans: if they only had a heart.

        by leu2500 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 11:32:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The right won't be talking about her age, (0+ / 0-)

          they'll be too busy bringing up Christmas card-gate, or Benghazi, or Monica or how ugly she is compared to Sarah Palin.
          What do you think the "age limit" should be?

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 02:40:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The more this gets rammed down out throats (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabienne, leu2500

      the more I assume Hillary either has no intention of running or she's so incredibly stupid in a political sense that she's the last candidate we need.

      Her campaign hammered the inevitability thing last time and it failed spectacularly. Starting this early with the same thing is going to allow more holes to be shot in it, more vulnerabilities to be exposed and more people to get angry and annoyed that our candidate is being apparently handpicked for us and marketed to us years before most of us are engaged.

      I almost don't care about the age thing anymore except to note that yes, I agree 100% that both she and Joe Biden are too old and I don't get why we, as the supposedly progressive party who wants to change the old ways that have us stymied and frustrated, don't want to look for new standard bearers rather than familiar names who will do things in the same old ways.

      Seriously — you don't think Hillary would also be promoting chained CPI? And maybe even an increase in the SS/Medicare age? And maybe even Medicate vouchers? Carville is on board. Of COURSE she would.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:38:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Brother (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, skohayes, gramofsam1
    Perhaps she should stop with the makeover and step aside.
    Assuming she is even running, step aside for who?

    If you are against sane gun regulations then by definition you support 30,000 deaths a year by firearms.

    by jsfox on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:27:01 AM PDT

    •  Dems have a weak bench. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, gramofsam1

      She's the best option available and, if she runs, I think that will be the conclusion of most primary voters.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:33:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We still have plenty of time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leu2500

        for that bench to get a lot deeper. Look at some of the governors out there, for example.
        We had so many good candidates in 2008, it was hard to choose going into Iowa.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:19:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, they don't have a weak bench (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabienne, Noodles, leu2500

        and no, she isn't the best option available — she's one of the worst. This demonstrates precisely our compete failure to be able to imagine a productive future. No, primary voters will be sick of her, and if other attractive options arise — which they will — her "inevitability" strategy will fail again.

        Since I don't believe she's stupid enough to use the same unproductive tactic twice, I don't believe she's running.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:41:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wasn't Reagan 69? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, skohayes, leu2500

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:30:48 AM PDT

  •  Ah, The Inevitable, Part II (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p, Fabienne, leu2500

    This sounds just like 2005-06, when everyone "knew" Hillary was going to be the nominee, and, really, why should anyone else even bother running?

    Thank goodness no one listened then.

    And I can't imagine anyone intent on running in 2016 is listening now, either.

    Though she was an excellent SOS, which certainly burnishes her presidential credentials, her biggest problem is a fundamental one to any politician: She's lousy on the hustings, and she doesn't come across well on camera.

    This isn't fair, of course, but it is the reality.

    Remember this cringeworthy moment from 2008, when, during one of the Obama/Clinton debates, she went off about "celestial choirs singing" or some such nonsense?

    That's ugly television, and it made lots of people wince.

    Plus, how can she ever come up with a good response on her Iraq war vote?

    Would I vote for her if she were our nominee in 2016? Of course.

    But I think we can do better.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:46:06 AM PDT

    •  Don't remember that at all, truthfully (0+ / 0-)

      She's my first choice, but since no one else has declared yet, that could change.
      And I don't really care about how she comes off on camera, as we have seen, a  charismatic, good looking candidate may get the votes, but look at the results we've gotten. I'd rather have someone who has political experience and knows how to get down in the trenches and fight dirty.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:18:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You seriously don't remember (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabienne, leu2500

        that from 2006 until the end of 2007 — virtually until the first vote was cast — the official narrative was that there wasn't even a remote possibility that the race could be between anyone but Hillary and Rudy?

        Short memory.

        Perfect demonstration of why Hillary is wildly unlikely to be the candidate.

        And you'd rather have someone who gets "down in the trenches" with the likes of Carville and Penn and sells us down the river far worse than what we're complaining about Obama doing now?

        No, thank you.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:44:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't remember that at all. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes
          the official narrative was that there wasn't even a remote possibility that the race could be between anyone but Hillary and Rudy?
          I remember some talk of inevitability on Clinton's part, but it may have mostly come from people who didn't see Obama's 2004 convention address.  Those who saw that speech agreed that he was going to run, and that he'd be a very serious contender.

          As for Giuliani winning the Republican primary, I can't imagine any sensible person with a knowledge of the GOP suggesting such a thing.  There really were people saying that?  Mind boggling.

        •  Actually, I was talking about not remembering (0+ / 0-)

          the "cringe worthy" moment in the debates that BR was talking about.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 02:37:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Uh, no. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dannyboy1, northerntier, gramofsam1
    Before John Kerry in 2004, we have to go all the way back to 61-year Horatio Seymour's sacrificial-lamb candidacy against Ulysses S. Grant in 1868 to find a first-time party nominee aged older than 59.
    Besides the obvious Reagan, Eisenhower was 62 when he ran the first time, Truman was 61, and George H.W. Bush was 65. Gerald Ford was 61 when he became President, so was 63 when he first ran 2 years later. There are likely others since 1868 who ran and were older than 59, seeing as how easy it was to think of 4 that ran and won in my lifetime.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:22:55 AM PDT

  •  Seriously?! (5+ / 0-)
    especially if 73-year Joe Biden would do the right thing and stand aside
    This type of attitude really irks me.   Joe Biden has a right to pursue his career, even at age 73.   Why would anyone think it's "the right thing" that he should just chuck his own career aspirations.

    I don't necessarily want him to run, but I don't feel he has any obligation not to run.     He has just as much right as anyone else, and he can certainly claim plenty of experience.

  •  And she will not be 68 in 2013, (4+ / 0-)

    though she would be 69 when she takes office, if she wins. Besides,  68 (or 69) is not that old these days (and not just because that is how old I will be next year.)  Most people these days are quite vital throughout their 70s.

    The ageism here stinks.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:34:44 AM PDT

    •  Not sure how old the diarist (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northerntier, sewaneepat

      is but a basic tenet in writing classes is to understand one's audience. Most readers here are pretty well insulated from others' judging them immediately according to age by relative anonymity. Someone might inform the writer that there are many, many, readers here older than those cited in the piece posted above. Not so the public figures the writer sizes up as either being hampered by age or prejudiced (the pundits) because they, too, are old. Since I'm entering that apparently doddering class myself, perhaps I should question my own ability to register an opinion on anything (except for what laxative to choose). But it is kind of irksome to have it suggested that just by virtue of age I'm both too old to be effective AND too old to have an opinion on others' perceptions that I am. I'll be a good little grandpa and retire to a bowl of farina. Any of you other geezers care to meet me for a game of shuffleboard?

      I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake. ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

      by dannyboy1 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:13:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  She hasn't said she supports a path to citizenship (0+ / 0-)

    She's no longer Secretary of State. Nothing is stopping her. Just say it already.

  •  Let the voters decide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare

    If the "party likes to go young", it will become apparent in the primary results.    I believe that anyone who wants to toss their hat in the ring -- should.   Then, we get to vote on whom we prefer.

    Those people who are inclined to "step aside" without even trying, probably aren't the people that should run for President.  The others, I expect should be tough, tooth and nail fighters, who aren't going to be dissuaded by a little opposition, or some suggestions that they are "too old", or "too Hillary" or whatever their criticisms are.

    I say, if they want to try, then let's do it.   We'll decide who stays and who goes when it's time to vote.

  •  I'd like to win back the House of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northerntier, leu2500

    Representatives before I start agonizing over the blue ticket for 2016.

    The GOP is losing on issues, and it's a long list, and it's crucial that we take advantage of that mile-wide opening.  

    If Secretary Clinton decides to get in, then she decides to get in.  If and when that happens, it will greatly impact who else decides to get in.  

    She has significant celebrity, which I hope she lends generously to various Democratic Congressional districts for 2014.

  •  I joined DKos and DFA against the DLC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leu2500

    Hillary also lost because she had her Republican lite battleground-state-obsessed DLC leadership run her campaign and once again, they failed. Arguably it was Ross Perot who brought the Clintons to power, not the DLC.

    I want the party to move leftwards towards FDR / Howard Dean / Markos style Keynesian leadership, not centerwards with more Republican apologetics that just wants to get along with Neocns and teabaggers rather than fighting their policies.

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