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Sunday, December 20, 2015

What Bernie and the Donald have in common

Hillary too.

All three were born in the 1940s. If Sanders is elected, he would be 75 when taking office. Trump, 70. Clinton, 69. And then he or she serves for 4 or 8 years… up there with Ronald Reagan. Whatever you might have thought of Reagan, almost everyone admits he was becoming impaired by the time he left office.

Look around. The new Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, is 43. Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and David Cameron of the UK are 49. François Hollande of France, Shinzō Abe of Japan, and Angela Merkel of Germany are 61 (and she has been in office for 10 years now). Xi Jinping of China is 62. Vladimir Putin of Russia is 63.

Running a big nation is demanding. Few people in their 70s have the energy and the stamina to do the job, and people of that age — within reach of my age — tend to be out of touch with society overall. We got away with it, barely, with Reagan. Even George H.W. Bush, of whom I think highly, was legitimately criticized for the supermarket scanner episode. Let's not make that mistake again.

The problem for Democrats is that Martin O'Malley (52) has no traction whatsover. This gives Republicans an advantage with Marco Rubio (44), Ted Cruz (44), Rand Paul (52), Carly Fiorina (61), Jeb Bush (62), and Ben Carson (64). Most bookies around the world give Rubio the best odds of capturing the Republican nomination… about a 25-year gap when he debates Clinton next year. It's going to make a difference even if my fellow Democrats don't want to hear it.

How odd to find myself saying "Don't trust anyone over 70!" but that's where I am these days.