A BNR on Daily Kos linked to this Boston Herald piece:
Democrat Bernie Sanders — riding high on rising poll numbers — brought his thundering left-leaning populism to cheering throngs that packed town halls yesterday in a barnstorming tour designed to capitalize on his newfound star quality.
“The Republicans get away with murder. Nobody knows what they stand for,” the Vermont senator, a 73-year-old grandfather, told the capacity crowd at Oyster River High School yesterday.
“We are going to sweep this election. I’m asking you to join me in creating a political revolution in this country,” Sanders said, to shouts of “Go get ’em, Bernie!”
“We’re going to win this campaign,” Sanders vowed, “because from coast to coast, people understand that when we stand together as Americans, there is nothing, nothing, nothing that we can’t accomplish.”
Earlier yesterday, the Democratic Party’s unlikely white-haired rock star filled a hall at the historic Governor’s Inn in Rochester with whistling, cheering believers despite torrential wind-whipped downpours.
If that piece had been about candidate Obama, would he have been described as "the Illinois senator, a 47-year-old father" and would they have mentioned his hair? That Sanders is a grandfather and has white hair is of zero relevance to this story. But it does convey a message of "Hee hee, look at the old geezer runnin' for preznit!"
Again, imagine if this article was about candidate Obama, and it referred to him as "the Illinois senator, an African American" and then as "the Democratic Party's unlikely black rock star."
Now if a journal was publishing a profile of the candidate, those bits of trivia about Sanders wouldn't seem so out of place. Or you could imagine an article explicitly focusing on the topic of age and presenting examples of the stamina/accomplishments of older people in leadership positions, which belie common generalizations. The "grandfather" and "white hair" references could make sense in that context. But this is just an article about a candidate at a campaign event.
Moreover, age is rarely discussed in a positive way, as in the hypothetical article I just mentioned, but rather almost always presented in an explicitly prejudicial way, not only by interviewers like Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos raising "the age question" with Sanders, but even by folks who would label themselves very progressive - we see it far too often in the comment threads on Daily Kos.
The fact is, any president could have a health crisis, or be assassinated, which is why we elect vice presidents. And it's why we rightly criticize laughable-but-frightening vice presidential selections like Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin.
Now, of course, we should want to nominate a presidential candidate who is evidently in good health (particularly above the neck) and evidently intelligent enough to pick a qualified VP. Sanders easily passes both tests.
Beyond that, your concern about age is noted, but let's call it what it is: ageism.
And no, you don't get a pass by saying "Well, myself, I don't care about a candidate's age, but lots of people do, therefore blah blah electability blah blah we can't nominate him." Just replace "age" with "sex" (or "race," "religion," etc.) and you'll see it's a familiar recipe for excluding people from the opportunity to be elected, based not on their ability, but on their demographic.
And no, you're not making a valid point by saying "Well, age is different than the other attributes because it impacts ability," because that's a generalization which, once again, is a recipe for excluding an entire demographic. No one is saying that every older person has the vigor and mental acuity to be chief executive, but for those who do, their age is just as irrelevant as their sex, race, religion, or any other demographic attribute.
And no, if you're going to post, for the umpteenth time, a comment that sounds like a "Jeopardy!" clue ("He would be the oldest president-elect in history") - you really aren't making an interesting point. It's a piece of trivia, like "He would be the first president born in Brooklyn." Instead, try something like "He would be the first president to advocate that Medicare should cover all Americans, not just senior citizens." That's not trivia. That's something that actually matters - his platform!