This is rather surprising. That 25% of the public is uncomfortable with McCain’s age.
the older I get, the more I realize how I am not as sharp as I once was, I can’t put in the hours that I once did, that the benefit of experience is often balanced by the deficit in resilience. And I am just turning 56. I think that there is an underlying understanding of this from every voting boomer. We are scared of those younger than us, but don’t trust those older.
Have you noticed in the McCain clips over the last weeks that he has pronounced “on” days and “off” days. This morning’s MSBNC clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ch-_iv-mNU) shows his recurring “off” day. He’s very slow, almost slurred, like too many meds or not enough meds, or just not enough sleep. Compare that with the clip in Jon’s Herbert Hoover Redux post which is the more typical, almost-on McCain.
It isn’t his age that bothers me, it is his condition. This is a man that has no where near the physical condition that, say, Ronald Reagan had. It shows in his very movement and his speech.
This graph is terrible. They should have renormalized it for each survey date. All the columns are shorter for the September data set, I guess fewer people answered the question, but actually there was a significant movement towards the less comfortable side of the distribution.
Here’s the renormalized percentages:
Extremely Comfortable: 11.3%
Very Comfortable: 19.6%
Somewhat Comfortable: 41.2%
Not at all Comfortable: 27.8%
Extremely Comfortable: 9.9%
Very Comfortable: 19.8%
Somewhat Comfortable: 42.9%
Not at all Comfortable: 27.5%
When my dad was 72, he was sharp, still in good shape, chatty, affable, good memory, liked to discuss current issues and drank many of my friends under the table at my wedding reception.
By the time he was 76, he was forgetful, got lost driving for more than five minutes, grew tired very quickly, repeated himself a lot and would run out of steam halfway through sentences, wanted a nap after half a glass of wine and was happier waxing nostalgic than keeping up with current affairs. And yet, he was still considered in very good health, wasn’t suffering Alzheimers or dementia – “It’s just age,” his doctor said.
At 78, he admits that he’s really struggling to remember things and tends not to speak much because he says he thinks he may already have said what he wanted to say and in the past few months has been having “senior moments” – unpacking groceries that have just been packed for him at a store, that kind of thing. And again, he’s in good health, mentally and physically, he’s just older now.
Based on this alone, I couldn’t vote for McCain even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t want to risk it. Because I never saw this coming in my old man. If you asked me when he was 72 how long I thought he’d be in good shape mentally, I’d have said he would stay sharp until the day he died. But it can happen quickly and subtly, so much so that you can miss it entirely if you’re not around it 24 hours a day.
On the other hand, Clint Eastwood’s 78 and he’s doing ok…
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