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Friday, August 29, 2008

Pass It On

posted by on August 29 at 16:21 PM

I know many people think it’s inappropriate to mention that John McCain is very old, although I do think the fact that he picked a young, vibrant running mate is a concession to his age being a very important issue, indeed. Those who are offended (which seems to be people who have parents who are still vibrant at 72, which begs the question “Would you want your parents to have the most demanding job in the world at 72?” But I digress), you should not click the link on this post.

But for those who agree that age is an issue, Wonkette just put up a brilliant bit of internet juxtaposition that should be forwarded far and wide. Pass it on.

RSS icon Comments


Best comment from that post:

"I knew Anna Nicole Smith, and Sarah Palin is no Anna Nicole Smith."

Posted by Greg | August 29, 2008 4:26 PM

i now feel sorry for her.

Posted by max solomon | August 29, 2008 4:32 PM

This is so beautiful. The scandal thing keeps coming up, but considering her office has been cooperating 100%, not to mention that it's already been shown that if pressure was applied to fire, it was from someone else in her office,not her.

And it gets better. Why don't you read up on why the man was fired? He tasered a 10 year old.

Slog, bemoaning taser usage unless it's politically expedient.

Posted by Quaking in Your Boots? | August 29, 2008 4:33 PM

@3: like you haven't wanted to taser a 10 year old.

Posted by max solomon | August 29, 2008 4:39 PM

Cake Wrecks is a scream.

Ageism and sexism, not so much.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | August 29, 2008 4:48 PM

@3: The kid asked for it.

Seriously. 11-year-old boys are dumb, and grown-ass men should know better than to taser a kid at the kid's request.

Posted by Jessica | August 29, 2008 4:53 PM

So weird to see the GOP playing the victim card this time out. A bold new tactic to garner the sympathy voter bloc.

Posted by Just Sayin' | August 29, 2008 4:54 PM

The first comment on that post is kind of awesome: "To be fair and balanced, will there be a picture of Willis and Mr. Drummond coming from the Republican?"

Posted by Levislade | August 29, 2008 4:59 PM

Obama reacts to McCain VP Pick:

News at 11.

Posted by John Bailo | August 29, 2008 5:22 PM

My dad is a vibrant 69 year old and I wouldn't want HIM to be president either. I'm sure he thinks McCain is an awesome guy.

And I don't feel sorry for her. She's a tickity-tack tranny out-of-control super-tranny from transilvania and she's not apologizing for it.

Posted by monkey | August 29, 2008 5:27 PM

Speaking as somebody with a parent with Alzheimer's who is around McCain's age, I'd like somebody to explain to me how age isn't an issue. Advanced age is directly correlated to diminished abilities, and most people at seventy have experienced some loss of mental acuity. I love my Dad but I still don't think he should drive.

We've already had a Republican president with Alzheimer's while he was in office and it wasn't pretty. Questions related to this septuagenarian candidate's abilities and health certainly should be on the table.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 29, 2008 5:33 PM

1. It is possible to bring up age as an issue without maximizing your assholery. Apparently not for 20-something hipsters who think that good writing = failed attempts at Dorothy Parker level wit.

2. The real issue is competence. To claim that the issue is age is the same as claiming that women make questionable soldiers because of their generally lower strength. The right response is to measure what you actually care about and ignore what it correlates with.

3. If my vibrant 72-year-old parent wanted to be president (for the record, my parents are not that old yet), then yes, I would most certainly want that for him or her.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 5:43 PM

Now for some real pics of Sarah that are equally scary:

Posted by fred young | August 29, 2008 5:44 PM

Fred: I love the implicit reasoning in the caption of that first photo after your link. "We should act like the liberals want, because eco-tourists are liberals, and we want to attract eco-tourist dollars."

I've got news for whomever wrote that caption: people who like to shoot animals bring a lot more revenue to Alaska than "eco-tourists". And the people who bring the most money of all, enough to write a more than $1500 check to every man, woman, and child in the state on top of their wages and investments, are the people who like to drill for oil. So I don't think you really want to encourage the reasoning behind your caption.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 6:13 PM
The right response is to measure what you actually care about and ignore what it correlates with.

Which is impossible to do if the question of age is off the table. Also, even if a candidate showed undiminished capacities today they would still have a greater chance than a younger person of displaying the normal side effects of aging, to say nothing of the onset of various mentally-debilitating illnesses, in the next eight years.

Comparing this to race or gender-based discrimination is comparing apples to oranges. Unless we're talking about a tanning competition, melanin levels have no bearing on ability. Similarly, if the job of President primarily involved lifting very heavy things over one's head, then maybe a female candidate would merit a little closer scrutiny than a male. Who knows?

The normal debilitating effects of age make a direct impact on the abilities required of a President. Age should not automatically disqualify candidates, but neither should cries of "age-ism" serve to block legitimate questions about a would-be leader's ability to lead. The fact that McCain will have exceeded the life expectancy of his cohort (to say nothing of fellow POWs) after two terms in office is also a completely relevant question, especially as regards the experience and fitness for the office of the Presidency of his VP choice.

Posted by flamingbanjo | August 29, 2008 6:18 PM


So what's your libertarian opinion on the government requiring oil companies to cut every man, woman, and child in Alaska a check?

Posted by keshmeshi | August 29, 2008 6:20 PM

So the Republicans want us to feel sorry for them and David Wright is lecturing on how not to be an asshole. Golly.

Today is a good day. I want to go back to bed, wake up, and live today all over so I can enjoy every second of it all over.

Hey, if you want to put this on a high level, let's analyze John McCain's decision-making. Want to?

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 6:21 PM

Or teaching creationism. Want to go there? Palin wants to go there so why no you? McCain/Palin has creationism on the menu so would you like to justify that for us? Please?

I love today.

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 6:25 PM

elenchos, tickle your baby under the chin for me, then kiss him on his soft spot. i love today, too!

Posted by scary tyler moore | August 29, 2008 6:32 PM

Keshmeshi @ 16: Since you asked, I think it's a good idea. I'd like to see more public resources auctioned for profit instead of given away. For example: mineral rights, grazing rights, water rights, broadcast rights, logging rights. And I much prefer that the revenue goes directly to citizens than that the government decides how to spend it.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 6:35 PM

What blew me away was that I couldn't remember ANS's name until I saw it in the comments. That feels good.

Posted by drew | August 29, 2008 6:37 PM

David Wright @ 20: why don't you just add human rights to your list:

Posted by fred young | August 29, 2008 6:41 PM
which seems to be people who have parents who are still vibrant at 72, which begs the question "Would you want your parents to have the most demanding job in the world at 72?"

No. It raises the question. Begging a question refers to circular reasoning.

Posted by bzishi | August 29, 2008 6:58 PM

Elenchos @ 17,18: I assume that's directed at me, and I'm more than happy to "go there" instead of wallowing in adolescent name-calling.

On competence, it's not clear to me which candidate leads. I'm concerned about McCain's admited ignorance of basic economics. On the other had, I'm concerned that Obama, whose Harvard education undouted included basic economics, is willing to ignore what he knows in order to pander to the anti-trade Democratic base.

On evolution, I think the whole debate on both sides has been taken over by culture warriors. The right way to teach science is not to write laws that says who's facts get taught, it's to talk about theory and experiment. Any good scientific theory is falsiable, so ask students: How would you falsify creationism? How would you falsify evolution? To this end, I'd most like to see the culture warriors on both sides of this issue fight to a draw.

You seem to assume I am a proponent of McCain. I am not. I haven't decided for whom to vote, or even whether to vote in this election. I am merely prefer substansive discussions to name-calling and sloganeering.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 7:05 PM

Old people are funny because they're so old.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | August 29, 2008 7:12 PM

David, you are a Republican. I get so sick of these faux "libertarians" who pretend they spend every election wondering whether or not they will vote for the party that promises to lower their taxes. Can't you be honest?

If you were honest you would admit that every election you vote for lower taxes along with these nutjobs who utterly reject your idea of putting creationism to a scientific test. As if it were reasonable to endlessly re-test dead hypotheses. Every election you vote to have creationism taught as fact. Why? You want a tax cut and don't care about a healthy society.

I specifically meant looking at McCain's ability to make a big decision. Like choosing a VP. That's one of his biggests choices to date. Did he choose wisely? Dick Cheney and GWB said John Edwards was not ready to take over as commander in chief, and that was the number one qualification. Is Palin ready? The actuarial tables say McCain has a 20 to 40 percent chance of dying in office.

I think McCain went with his gut and shut out any reasonable advice he might have had.

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 7:13 PM

Elenchos @ 26:

I know you won't believe this because the cognitive dissonance with your view of me would be too great, but it's the honest truth: I've never voted for a Republican presidential candidate in my life. I voted for Clinton twice, skipped the Gore/Bush election, and voted for Kerry in the last election.

There really are those of us whose interest in substansive debate is greater than their interest in seeing "their" side win and the "other" side ridiculed.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 7:25 PM

I have a 74-year-old mother with Parkinsons. She has been fighting this terrible disease for 15 years. She is a warrior, a fighter, among the most courageous people I have ever known. She is a lifelong Republican. She is not supporting McCain because she thinks he is too old to be commander in chief.

Posted by clarity | August 29, 2008 7:28 PM

Clarity @ 28:

You expressed an opinion different from mine, but look at all the things you did not do: you didn't post faux-birthday greetings, you didn't make snarky comments about swelled jowels or cancerous growths, you didn't enumerate long lists of things that are older than the candidate, you didn't make unsupported implications of mental incompetence. That is the difference between expressing a different opinion and being an asshole, a difference that's apparently lost on Paul Constant.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 7:39 PM

@10 loved the SNL reference

Posted by Non | August 29, 2008 7:50 PM

Liar. David, really now. Taxes are always a deal breaker for you. You're a Republican.

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 8:06 PM

Elenchos @ 31:

That's a convenient way to dismiss your interlocutor. I'd glad you're up on your research skills, but there is nothing at that link about my votes in previous elections. It is true that my doubts about Obama's policies are stronger than for past Democrats: Kerry, for example, wasn't threatening to nationalize health-care, or eliminate the SS wage tax lid, and since there was a Republican congress at the time electing him would have supported by goal of divided government. But he could well back away from some of these policies before the general election.

Ultimately, what you believe about me isn't that important. But what is important is that you realize that the world does not divide neatly into good, rank-and-file Democrats who will accept any nonsense and assholery that will help their candidate win, and evil straw-man Republicans who always tell lies and against whom any attack is justified. There are those of us in between who are interested in a substansive discussion of ideas and who are turned off my name-calling and hyperbolic rhetoric. If you won't believe that I am one of them, I guess that's just my loss.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 8:33 PM

Elenchos @ 31:

Oh, and if you really are interested in researching my political beliefs, here I am arguing with a bunch of Republicans to defend the ACLU.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 8:44 PM

David, nobody is dismissing you. I think it's fine that Republicans such as yourself defend your party's candidate, John McCain. But you habitually do so under false pretenses. Maybe you lie to yourself. Who knows? Republicans lie so much it must get hard to know which way is up.


Does your party's candidate, John McCain, pass the commander in chief test with this momentous decision? Mayor of a town of a few thousand, and governor of the smallest state for 18 months. Zero achievements on the national level. No national following. No proof that the people can look to her and be moved to action.

Has your party's nominee put the nation at risk in the not unlikely event that the VP must take over? Will more of McCain's decisions be made this recklessly, in such a heat of passion?

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 8:46 PM

Elenchos @ 34:

I find it rather difficult to engage with someone who purposely misrepresents my positions ("your party's candidate"), but even if I overlook that to address the substance of your query...

You know damn well that the choice of a VP is not a "momentous" decision that constitutes a "commander in chief test". VPs are chosen as tokens to balance the ticket. Obama chose Biden because of his age and foreign policy experience, to reassure voters who were looking for those qualities. McCain chose Palin because of her youth, her sex, and her evangelical background to court voters who were looking for those qualities. Their VP choices don't say a damn thing about their fitness for military command.

The fact that you were willing to coutanence such a dubious "test", one you well know you would not apply in any case in which a candidate you supported would fail it, is a rather clear signal that you're more interested in politically convenient attacks than a substansive discussion of that many real strengths and weaknesses of both candidates.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 9:17 PM

Well, I expect to see plenty of polling showing that the electorate does care very much about the qualifications of the person who will have to take McCain's place. I guess you'll have the job of convincing them that McCain will stay healthy.

Obama has demonstrated sound decision making, again and again. He has managed a brilliant campaign, with good personnel choices and the ability to adapt, compromise, and be aggressive when appropriate. And he is without at doubt a national, and international, leader. People turn to him. He's healthy and young, so voters don't have to worry about his VP, but even if they did, Biden is more than qualified.

So good luck with that. Medical science makes all kinds of advances every day, and perhaps McCain's cancer and other ills will not loom large.

I remain, tickled to death at McCain's birthday gift to the Obama campaign.

Posted by elenchos | August 29, 2008 9:30 PM

David - The whole reason why age is being brought up in this discussion is that it is significantly more likely that McCain will die in office than Obama. Therefore, it is a "momentous" decision, in this case, even if it is not typically a "momentous" decision.

If it were the reverse situation, and a candidate I really liked, but who was 72 years old, appointed someone that I thought was completely unqualified to be President, I would have serious misgivings about voting for that ticket.

Also, @24, you seem to imply that anyone who has even a basic educuation in economics would naturally disagree with the Democrats approach to the topic. I think that's completely ridiculous -- it seems silly to say this out loud, but obviously, there are many great economists who would disagree with that.

Posted by Julie | August 29, 2008 10:04 PM

Julie @ 27: Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Regarding VPs: I agree, because of his age McCain's choice of VP carries more weight than Obama's. I still don't think that weight rises to anywhere near the level of "momentous", but I do grant the disparity in weighting.

Regarding trade policy: I'm afraid what I'm going to say here may come off as partisan grandstanding, but I am going to say it as even-handedly and pedagogically as I can, and I am going to back it up. This is simply not an issue where the spectrum of academic opinion is anywhere close to the spectrum of popular opinion. The weight of academic economic opinion is overwhelmingly on the side of unfettered free trade.

If you look up "Free Trade" on Wikipedia, you will find the statement: In 2006 American Economic Association conducted a poll which revealed that 87,5 percent of its members with Ph.D. agreed that "the U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade."

I grabbed "The Undercover Economist" off my shelf and looked up "trade" in the index. It's a popular introduction to economics by British journalist Tim Harford. He writes: "True enough, economists don't always agree. But it is a rare economist who will not be enthusiastic about the merits of free trade. The near universal opinion among economists is that global free trade would be a great advance, and that even if other countries refuse to lower trade barriers we would be idiots not to lower our own."

The American left's favorite economist, Paul Krugman, back before he became a pundit, used to vociforously tout his support of free trade as evidence that his politics hadn't clouded his economic judgement. (Since becomming a pundit, he has mostly stopped talking about trade.)

Finally, consider that after all the pandering they have done to get elected, when presidents sit down with their economic advisors to formulate real policy, they nearly always end up pushing for freer trade than Congress, whose members are more bound to the interests of small, local constituancies. That held for Clinton as well as Bush.

I hope that evidence is at least food for thought. If you are interested in finding out why economists are such fans of free trade, I suggest you take a class or pick up a popular introduction to the subject.

Posted by David Wright | August 29, 2008 11:08 PM

@ every one of David Wright's posts:

The word is substantive.

Posted by blue barberpole | August 30, 2008 12:08 AM

Please stop misusing the concept "begging the question." I'm seeing/hearing this a lot in media these days and it bugs the shit out of me.

Posted by doctiloquus | August 30, 2008 3:58 AM

David Wright @38, et al. - I understand that you're looking to protect that extra 6% of your income over $80K, or whatever, but aren't there other issues that you care about? Even if you are voting for strictly selfish reasons?

How about the war?

And the deficit? I guess the GOP's game plan since Reagan has been to starve the beast so that domestic spending must be cut. But our trillion dollar adventure in Iraq can't be good for you, can it? By all accounts, it would be more of the same policy under a President McCain.

Posted by Mahtli69 | August 30, 2008 10:55 AM

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