Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 5, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

CONFRONTING THE AGE ISSUE....Bill Kristol, the gift that keeps on giving:

In separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. They're tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.

It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCain's age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante.

Yep, that's the ticket. "Confront" the issue of McCain's age by picking a running mate who's barely old enough to run legally and has a grand total of four years of experience in elected office. Doesn't that, um, actually highlight the issue of McCain's age? "Hey, at least one of us won't drop dead before 2012!"

Next up: Barack Obama "confronts" the race issue by picking an albino as running mate. Hillary Clinton "confronts" the gender issue by choosing Hulk Hogan as running mate. Add your own jokes in comments.

Kevin Drum 2:21 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

It's hard to believe that anyone - or a significant number of anyones, at least - would vote for Barack Obama because John McCain is too old.

Posted by: gkoutnik on May 5, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Geeze, that means Ron Paul will have to choose between Perle and Wolfowitz.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on May 5, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Quayle part 2.

Posted by: jen flowers on May 5, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Given McCain's age and senility, he should pick a 20 something.

Posted by: Matt on May 5, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Obama has already locked up the all important Hulk Hogan endorsement.

Perhaps she could score Jose Canseco as a running mate. He has that all important meathead character, and would fit right in given that he has no qualms stabbing his former teammates in the back to save his own skin.

Posted by: afferent input on May 5, 2008 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Confront" the issue of McCain's age by picking a running mate who's barely old enough to run legally and has a grand total of four years of experience in elected office.

Interesting you find four years important.

Senator Clinton just cracked the seven year mark; she assumed office in early 2001. So, what's the huge gulf between four years and seven years?

Obama doesn't have four years in federal elected office; a state senator gives one neither executive nor foreign policy experience, so it's hard to argue that state senate experience is worth much.

Posted by: Just Saying on May 5, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

While I'd not vote for John McCain regardless of his age, I admit it is getting tiresome to see yet again Leno has to make all of his McCain jokes age-based (just as he did when Bob Dole last made a bid for the presidency). Of course, Leno isn't ever funny, so ...

Nothing funny to see here, folks. Move along.

Posted by: Angela on May 5, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

No wait! There's more! Barack Obama compensates for his large ears by running with Spiderman!

I've got a million of 'em. Let me know where I should drop them off.

Posted by: Tom on May 5, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

What's Cheney doing?

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot will be chosing Pamela Anderson as his running mate. That way he circumvents any problem that a new bimbo will have on his momentum.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 5, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

McCain should challenge the Democrats head on: McCain/Beyonce' '08!

Posted by: fyreflye on May 5, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, but McSame can deflect the age issue by stating that the average (or median) age of his ticket is less than the demos. Given the presses inability to analyze anything that should pass muster.

Posted by: bigTom on May 5, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jindall has a promising future in politics. Why would he blow it by running with McCain?

Posted by: fostert on May 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

state senator gives one neither executive nor foreign policy experience,

A Chicagoan in Springfield?

If that isn't foreign policy, I don't know what is!

Posted by: on May 5, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush confronts the competence issue by appointing...um...

OK, bad example.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 5, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I guess Bill Clinton could've confronted the "He sure has a nose for pussy" meme by nominating Lindsey Graham as his running mate in 1996.

Posted by: steve duncan on May 5, 2008 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Would Jindal be accused of being the father of one of McCain's adopted children?

Posted by: Brojo on May 5, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Hillary could confront her shrill abrasiveness by hiring some little kid to stand behind her at public appearances constantly running his/her nails across a chalkboard.

Posted by: Joe on May 5, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

McCain being a POW in the Peloponnesian War should not be used for or against him.

Posted by: RobertSeattle on May 5, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush confronts the competence issue by appointing a monkey.

no wait... is that backwards?

Appointing a robot. No wait, a robot monkey! Ah, never mind.

Ohhh I got one!

George W. Bush confronts the blood thirsty moron issue by appointing an entire cabinet of war criminals.

Posted by: Ropty on May 5, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please, Flying Spaghetti Monster, make it happen!

Believe me, to the racists who would rather vote for bin Laden than a "black" man, Jindal is just as much of a n----r as Obama is.

Unfortunately, as others noted, Jindal's way too smart to hitch his rising star to McCain's caravan of death.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on May 5, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

On Sunday, septuagenarian and Republican presidential nominee John McCain's advanced age once again jumped to forefront of the 2008 campaign. Over at the Politico, Jonathan Martin ponders whether McCain's age will emerge as an issue. Meanwhile, the New York Times editorial page demands 71-year old Arizona Senator finally release his long overdue medical records, a disclosure especially important in light of his bouts with skin cancer. For everyone but John McCain himself, the man who has repeatedly joked about himself as "older than dirt," the GOP candidate's age is no laughing matter.

For the details, see:
"McCain Tries to Make Age Issue a Laughing Matter."

Posted by: Furious on May 5, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute...You mean to tell me John McCain is alive??!!

Posted by: ckelly on May 5, 2008 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Inkblot tries to neutralize the "not human" issue by picking Cheney.

No, wait...

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal is the ideal Republican. He converted to Catholicism as soon as he discovered that he had an Indian's chance in hell if he ran for political office in Louisiana as a Hindu.

Posted by: gregor on May 5, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Wha'cha gonna do, when Hillary runs WILD on YOU!?

Posted by: mmy on May 5, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites tries to neutralize the "I've been dead for 3,000 years" issue by picking McCain.

No, wait...

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal has as much experience as Obama, and he isn't even running for president.

Having written that, I don't think Jindal should be the choice, and almost certainly won't be. He really is too young, in my opinion.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on May 5, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Obama should appoint Tonya Harding as his running mate. This would help counter his elitist image among the voters and simultaneously strike fear in his opponents.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 5, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK
... picking a running mate who... has a grand total of four years of experience in elected office....Hillary Clinton "confronts" the gender issue by choosing Hulk Hogan as running mate.
On the other hand, you can refer to James Carville:

...Hillary is the tougher of the two, the candidate you want on your side in a knife fight, a gender reversal that prompts Carville to indulge in some ribald humor: "If she gave him one of her cojones, they'd both have two."...

Still, it's even funnier that you think it important that Bobby Jindal is inexperienced considering your fervid support of the equally inexperienced Obama for a crucial public office.

Posted by: Mike on May 5, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

I vote that pj win this thread. I laughed so hard I was crying.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 5, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Whoo boy, it's obvious that Hillary Clinton's face hurts from having to wear that frozen smile every time some goober thinks he's complimenting her by talking about her fantastic testicles. Haw! Haw! Good one, boys! Haw!

But back on topic, McCain should run with Bullwinkle to counter his own Rocky voice. A Buddhist monk to balance McLame's explosive temper would be even better, but most of McCain's base would probably assume they were looking at a Muslim. As they would with Jindal, no doubt.

Posted by: shortstop on May 5, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Confession, though: I like to say "Bobby Jindal." It rolls off the tongue pleasingly. That's about all I can say in favor of old Bob.

Posted by: shortstop on May 5, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

In the true spirit of the bipartisanship McCain advocates, and to counter his age issue (read: virility), I think McCain should appoint Eliot Spitzer as his running mate.

By the way, why doesn't McCain have to counter the elitist image like Kerry did, being married to an heiress (Cindy) worth more than $100 million? Is Cindy's beer distributorship fortune considered more working class than Teresa's pickle relish?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 5, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

What's worse is Jindal's candidate for the congress lost in Baton Rouge this Saturday. Jindal is from Baton Rouge, he grew up there.

If he can't a Repubican elected in his hometown in a distict that has been Republican hands for almost 40 years, you really have to wonder about his political smarts.

Posted by: Big Red on May 5, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal as VP is totally nutty for all the reasons noted above -- but most of all because it puts such a glaring spotlight on McCain's age and drastically raises the stakes of McCain dying in office. He'd be better off finding an experienced 50-something.

But saying you're considering Jindal as VP is smart politics because he's the darling of the NRO crowd.

Posted by: Callimaco on May 5, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just looks French (fried). Mr. Potatohead's got nothing on him.

Posted by: Nash on May 5, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see if I can make sense of some of these claims. The Rev Dr Martin Luther King once argued that he looks forward to the day when a man is judged not by the colour of his skin but my the content of his character. We also hold true that we must be accountable for our own speech and conduct not that of family, friends or neighbours. There is something very small-minded and petty about those who would criticize a brilliant political figure - not because of his actions or speech -- but that of another. In 1965 after another civil rights march for the Voting Rights Act, Dr King gave his famous speech, "How Long, Not Long". Some 43 years on, I'd say, we've come a long way but we have far to go. The comments on this blog, sadly, reflect the fact that white Repubs believe the best way to not grapple with issues is pick another minority and say, see how enlightened we are? But they would not have done it had the Democrats not selected two historic candidates. Senator Obama will rise above this and precisely because of his experiences will be a better man, and a better statesman to lead the US to a better place. How silly, a guy brought up by a single mother, who just finished paying student loans is an "elitist". Please. How long? A while yet.

Posted by: Mel on May 5, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

pj: You already know the answer to that. Cindy's a good old American plastic big-boobed blonde. Teresa was sort of, well, foreign, and scary.

Oh, and McCain's a Republican.

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jindal grew up in the US but was born in India; if he is VP and President McCain has to step down due to health problems, what happens? Doesn't the President have to be born in the US?

Posted by: d on May 5, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

d - you need to check your facts before spewing idiotities.

Jindal was born in Baton Rouge. Take a look at Wiki why don't you.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 5, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

pj: You already know the answer to that. Cindy's a good old American plastic big-boobed blonde. Teresa was sort of, well, foreign, and scary.

Oh, and McCain's a Republican.

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 4:04 PM

And Cindy's an heiress of...beer.

Posted by: Vincent on May 5, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

You got something against Amercian hot-dog relish, there, Vincent?
And hey, what kind of name is Vincent, anyway?

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

When you see Kristol's suggestion for a Veep for McCain, it gives you a really strong sense of just how weak the GOP Bench is. He's hyping a guy, whom as you noted has hardly any experience. The party's veterans are retiring in haste and what promising Republican or potential Republican would contemplate throwing himself into the maw of this election as a candidate for election....strong party negatives, you'll have to finance your own effort because the party is broke. Their pipeline is suddenly running empty as far as grooming strong candidates for now and the future.

BTW.....I am sure nobody at the NYT cares or pays any attention, but whatever they agreed to pay Kristol, it is way way too much. I haven't seen an original thought out of the guy since he started. Even TIME was wise enough to see that. What a maroon, and a patently ideological one too.

Posted by: dweb on May 5, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Not as funny as balancing the ticket with Condi Rice. The "Isn't it wonderful..." crowd probably won't get the humor.

Posted by: Luther on May 5, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ralph Nader picks Grover Norquist. Mike Gravel picks Bill Kristol. Cynthia McKinney picks Tom DeLay. Ron Paul picks Ron Kuby and they bill themselves as "The Two Ronnies."

Posted by: Randy Paul on May 5, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

"d - you need to check your facts before spewing idiotities."

yum! love your ongoing ability to make a complete flaming arse out of yourself on another thread, be completely humiliated, and then lecture somebody else about their...uh..."idiotities." shamelessly clueless. so tasty.

Posted by: weenie watch on May 5, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I must have slept through the part where Weenie got completely humiliated.

I saw some moron make fun of her typing, though...

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

But then the question that should be asked is:
36 it awful young to have the experience if something were to happen to Mac, since they keep saying the Obama is too young to be president, even if JFK was about the same age when he won the election.
Just a thought.

Posted by: jc on May 5, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites, don't worry, I'm too dumb to be completely humiliated.

It could have been the post where I admitted that I agreed with Ron Byers. I'm still having the vapors over that.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 5, 2008 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie, I must be real smart then. I get humiliated all the time. And I recall you sticking up for me.

jc at 5:17 raises a very good point. If you assume for the sake of argument that Obama and Jindal are equally "inexperienced" (I'm not sure I buy that, but let's assume it's the case,) that still leaves Obama quite a bit more mature, and that counts for something, too.

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Jimi Hendrix was "Experienced."
I loved Jimi dearly, but wouldn't have wanted him running the country.

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Obama should probably take Ben Stein. Not only is he the whitest man on the planet (which addresses the age issue), but he's also republican (which addresses the Democrat issue). Plus, he's Jewish which (considering how many people think Obama's a muslim) should address the religion issue.

Posted by: Scott Herbst on May 5, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

McCain should pick somebody who has good ideas on how to run the country to balance McCain's bad ideas. Whatever happened to that guy who delivered the Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic Convention?

Posted by: reino on May 5, 2008 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

McCain should run with Stephen Colbert. That way Colbert's O'Reilly shtick could slowly, subtly shift to a McCain impersonation, and with makeup, he could just take over the presidency. Make it a comedy hour. The country would love it.

Posted by: jen flowers on May 5, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Nick Lachey and Monica Lewinsky are each about to turn 35. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: reino on May 5, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

McCain needs a trunk monkey it will make him look younger, smarter and more human.

Posted by: Jet on May 5, 2008 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Just in:

George Bush seeks third term. Stephen Hawking to replace Dick Cheney.

Posted by: swio on May 5, 2008 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, this guy could be McCain's son. Hey, when is a father-son team going to run for top offices?

Posted by: NB on May 5, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

As noted above, Jindal makes a poor running mate for a man with one foot in the grave. He'll be a heckuva keynote speaker, though.

Posted by: kth on May 5, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kristol goes on to explain the reasoning but Kevin just chops those sentences out so that he can make his stupid, spurious little claims.

What a tired, deceitful, tawdry little hack you are.

Posted by: am on May 5, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

am: What a tired, deceitful, tawdry little hack you are.

Talkin' 'bout yourself again,
you been talkin'
talkin' 'bout yourself again
you, you, you,
talkin' bout yourself again...

"Best Friend" by The English Beat

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Huckabee takes Sarah Silverman as his running mate.

Posted by: Catsy on May 5, 2008 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to tell Norman Rogers about the trunk monkey. He might find it useful in his own struggles. I'd tell him myself, but Norman doesn't want me visiting his blog.

Posted by: thersites on May 5, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

A quick point: Governor Jindal converted to catholicism in high school; I very much doubt it had to do with politics.

Posted by: Dazir on May 6, 2008 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Jindal only has 4 years of experience? Sounds like the Republican answer to Obama.

Posted by: jussumbody on May 6, 2008 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

Jindal only has 4 years of experience? Sounds like the Republican answer to Obama.

Posted by: jussumbody on May 6, 2008 at 7:45 AM | PERMALINK

Is the Republican varsity squad in 2008 so thin they have to dig deep into the JV roster just to come up with a VP candidate?

Makes you wonder who they'd put in charge of FEMA, HUD, GSA . . .

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 6, 2008 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jindal will NOT be the Republican VP nominee for the same reason it won't be Rice.

The Republicans know they're in a hole to start with because of the economy, the war, and the other wonders of the Bush administration. At this point, their primary (not-publicly-stated) hope is that Obama will be the nominee and that there are enough white people out there who won't vote for a black candidate that it will swing the results to the GOP despite everything else.

Given the importance of whites-voting-for-whites to the strategy, it is certain that McCain's VP candidate will be white. No Jindal, no Rice--either would destroy the last hope for winning the election.

Posted by: Dirty Davey on May 6, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain has been told to omit specific words from his public announcements.

1) "depends": McCain is not allowed to say "It depends" because it will remind people of the undies of seniors.

2) "senile": no comment necessary

3) "AD": Again not necessary

4) "forget": He is never allowed to forget anything.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 6, 2008 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

A quick point: Governor Jindal converted to catholicism in high school; I very much doubt it had to do with politics.

Ah. I'd give three to one odds it had to do with a girl.

Posted by: Tripp on May 6, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Ah. I'd give three to one odds it had to do with a girl.

I'd guess it had to do with the constant negative attention a teenaged Hindu in Louisiana gets/got.

Posted by: shortstop on May 6, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

What's most interesting about this post is that Hulk Hogan was the name that came to Kevin's mind when he tried to picture the ultimate embodiment of Manliness. ;)

Posted by: Royko on May 6, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

What's most interesting about this post is that Hulk Hogan was the name that came to Kevin's mind when he tried to picture the ultimate embodiment of Manliness. ;)

Only because Dubya can't serve a third term.

Just messin' with you, Kevin.

Posted by: shortstop on May 6, 2008 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Ah but if McCain wins, it sets up the classic joke: This never would have happened if McCain was alive. I'm afraid it wouldn't be funny by February 2009 no matter who his running mate is.

Posted by: Deggjr on May 6, 2008 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

And Kevin Drum confront the dumb issue by choosing a rock with higher intelligence.

Jindal is the ticket for Mccain. At first glance, you would think it was a blatant attempt to balance out age and ethnicity but man oh man...you learn and listen to this guy and he's a genuine whiz kid. This guy's got all the speech skills like Obama except he's smart, got more accomplishments and authentic.

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