The next presidential election will be held on November 1, 2016. Hillary Clinton will celebrate her 69th birthday on October 26 of that year, younger than Ronald Reagan was when he was elected by eight or nine months. There’s no avoiding the question of whether she’ll be too old, we’re going to hear the debate from now until then, so let’s get it started right here.
I’ve been around the block but let’s be clear; Hillary got there ahead of me. She’s much older than I am, almost 11 weeks older. She’s better educated than I am; Wellesly and Yale Law against my five no-name colleges, none of which saw fit to grant me a degree. The questions are, first; Is she qualified to be president? And second; Is she too old to serve as president?
Through the prism of history we can see the flaws in the Reagan presidency. The great orator was a strawman, manipulated by the GOP, his lovely wife, Nancy and an astrologer whose name, thankfully, has been lost to history. Some good things happened while he was president and he’s been given credit for some of them. That’s OK because doing good things shouldn’t be about getting credit; it should be about doing good things.
Hillary, while fast approaching her twilight years, has amassed a substantial résumé in her lifetime. Most recently she has served honorably the past four years in one of the most difficult jobs in Washington, during a time of incredible strain for our country. Being wartime secretary of State must be one of the top three stress producing jobs, behind president and secretary of Defense. She has handled the job well and one has only to look at her to know the job has taken its toll on her.
It has also, I think, reshaped her and allowed her to rise above politics in a way that has helped make the world a safer place. She has demonstrated through hard work that she is qualified to serve as president. She has demonstrated the courage to survive turmoil in her marriage and remain focused on her life. Unlike our last senior citizen president, she understands that the Constitution is not a list of suggestions (see Iran Contra), and I trust she understands that when terrorists kill 241 soldiers, Marines and sailors, we do something about it.
Age is a relative number that impacts different people in different ways. I know many people who should not be given the responsibility of the presidency at that age but, nothing about Hillary Clinton causes me any concern about her ability to handle the responsibility and stress of that job.
It is too soon to pick a candidate for 2016, much can happen between now and the next campaign season, but let’s not be too hasty in writing her off.