Thanks to Panda Paws, John, Andi, Brenda, Brendan, John, T and Erik.
Thanks to John, Wilson, and, in anticipation, Marcia.
Thanks to Dave and John.
By JOHN MacDONALD
‘Ageism’ has become as toxic as racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and all the other dangerous -isms that are pitfalls for the unwary and politically incorrect.
Perhaps that’s why a unique aspect of the US presidential election has gone largely unremarked. No such constraints here, so if you haven’t noticed, here it is:
The candidates are the oldest in presidential history.
Incumbent Donald Trump is already the oldest president of all time, being 70 years and 220 days when inaugurated in 2017. He is now 74 as he bids for a second term. But his opponent, Joe Biden, is already 77 and will be 78 just 17 days after the election, almost as old as Trump will be should he win and finish a second term.
Biden will be all of 86 should he win and complete two terms, twice the age of John Kennedy, the youngest elected president on record, who was 43 when he defeated Richard Nixon in 1960.
This raises another unspoken point: what are the prospects of Mike Pence or Kamala Harris, the would-be vice-presidents, succeeding in office? History is on their side.
Of the 45 people who have served as US president, eight have died in office: four were assassinated, and four died of natural causes. In each case, the VP has succeeded to the presidency. This practice is governed by the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States constitution, ratified in 1967, which declares that, “the Vice President shall become President” if the president is removed from office, dies, or resigns.
Let’s put aside the four who were assassinated – Lincoln, Garfield, McKinlay, and Kennedy – and consider those who died of natural causes.
* The first was William Henry Harrison, on April 4, 1841, only one month after his inauguration, aged 68.
* Next was Zachary Taylor, died on July 9, 1850, aged 65.
* Warren G. Harding suffered a heart attack, and died on August 2, 1923, aged 57.
* On April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt collapsed and died, just after beginning his fourth term in office, aged 63.
None were in their 70s, unlike Trump and Biden who are in mid- to late progress through their eighth decade. The odds favour their running mates, quite apart from history and the candidates’ ages.
Trump is recovering from Covid-19, alone a contributor to shortened life expectancy, obese, and lacking physical exercise. Biden’s physician is on record saying that he receives treatment for irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, and has a history of aneurysms.
Neither has made the age and health of the opponent a campaign issue, probably because both are well aware that it cuts two ways. But on election day, will Americans consider whom they might really be voting for as president – Mike Pence or Kamala Harris?
Who can remember vice-presidents who have succeeded to the presidency, far less those who didn’t or were losing running mates? Lyndon Johnson, maybe, successor to the assassinated Kennedy. But Gerald Ford? Chiefly remembered for being the eminently forgettable replacement for the disgraced Richard (but still an improvement on the original running mate, Spiro Agnew).
Mike Pence (age 61) seems pretty much in the Ford category, hardly noticeable after four years as VP. And Kamala Harris (55) would be the first woman president, and a black woman of apparently very conservative inclination in some areas.
Like their senior partners, neither seems to have immediate or widespread appeal. “A contest between the evil of two lessers,” as one commentator so memorably described US presidential elections.
Thinking of that could well change the minds of many come November 3. But in which direction?
SO MPs FELT FREE TO SPEND THE DAY DISCUSSING PEPPA PIG… AND PUDDLES
I understand that they intend(ed) to so the same thing with the Isle of Man and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with much the same response.
According to the FT, the UK government has threatened to take control of London transport if the Mayor fails to do what they want him to do.
The Mayor of Manchester has been put back in his box by Mr Johnson with a grant of £22 million for a job which at least will cost £60 million. If only Andy Burnham was a “technology tutor ” eh?
And an ex-deputy president of the Supreme Court of the UK says that devolved powers are rendered useless by the Internal Market Bill.
You probably though that pretty much you’d seen the worst when you watched Gove sweat and stutter, red-facedly whilst drinking enough water to relaunch the Titanic in, yesterday on the Marr show. Tad too much something on Saturday night, Mick?
But today he put in a performance in the Commons that even Theresa couldn’t believe… and remember she was the girl who once ran through a cornfield.
According to Mr Peston: The face of former PM is an absolute picture when @michaelgove tells her British people would be safer from crime and terrorism if the government fails to agree crime and security agreements with EU. She could seen saying “what?!!!!!”
So Gove is too much for the old Magic Money Tree denier and lord knows, she could make stuff up!
Who would have thought it?
And while we are on the subject of “Eh? What?… Remember Ann Widdecombe, she who was a politician, then was a star of Strictly Come Dancing … remember this?
Well Ms Widdecombe has announced that she didn’t think that people wanted to see same sex couples dancing together on television.
This has occasioned many people to comment about how little they had wanted to see her dancing on SCD, but had had to put up with it.
And then there was one person who pointed out that this was something that had been happening for many a year and wondering how she had managed to miss it!
She: “Honey, please don’t forget to buy bread when you’re coming home and your girlfriend Anne is also here and says hello.”
He: “Who’s Anne?”
She: “Nobody. I just wanted you to respond so I know you saw my message.”
He: “But I’m with Anne right now.”
She: “What? Where are you?”
He: “Near Neighbourhood Bakery.”
She: “Wait. I’m coming right over!”
Five minutes elapse.
She: “I’m at Neighbourhood Bakery. Where are you?”
He: “At work. While you’re there, please buy the bread.”
Thanks to: Brenda, Brendan, Erik, John, Andi, Graham… and a mystery contributor. No, it’s not Trumpy! Sit down and behave at the back!
If I have inadvertently forgotten anyone feel free to write in to Munguin with our complaints. I mean, he won’t actually give a damn, but it will give you something to do. 🙂
Munguin sends his thanks to: John and Quokka.