I guess I'll stop talking about candidates and talk about McCain
Mitt Romney pulled out of the GOP race yesterday, leaving the field clear for a focussed, concentrated GOP attack upon the Democrats for every day, every week and every month leading up to November . Not good if Democrats spend the same time just trying to tear their party candidates down.
It is the moment to leave Bush to his sad history, your great candidates to hoped for quieter debate and to address the question of the GOP and John McCain.
If I’m going to start on McCain, I’ll begin by having what many regard as the cheapest shot of all. He is too damn old.
Now before all you oldsters on here get all worked up about it, I am not talking about chronological age. I know that some great leaders have been older. What I mean is that he is “seen it all and don’t want to see any of it again” old. Like I’m old.
He is four years older than I am and I have just turned down a suggestion that I go on the golf club committee because I said I am too damn old. Others older than me aren't, but I am.
It is an age that can give you some special wisdom and special insight – perhaps. It is not an age to sit comfortably on committees doing what committees do – or sit in the Oval Office doing what Presidents do.
I’m talking about an age that makes you think you are wiser than most. It is an age when you have seen a lot that matters and don’t care anymore about all that you haven’t seen. It is an age when you are impatient with what you are hearing, impatient to move to a decision because you have the experience, or the belief that you have the experience, that makes you want to take short cuts to the answer. Time is short, you see. It is a dangerous age. I know. I’m right there in it.
We are grumpy old men. We don’t want anyone changing our world until we have done with it, which won't be too long. I revel in it. I employ it in shops when I get bad service, I do self-indulgent diaries on Dkos and don’t give a damn whom they offend. I sit over my beer in the club house lounge and employ it against every decision ever made by the management committee. Yeah, being a grumpy old man is a pleasure that many of you can look forward to but have yet to earn the right. It takes no special talent, it just comes from livin’ a long time.
I enjoy it but I sure as heck wouldn’t impose it on a nation.
The Guardian had a piece by Sidney Blumenthal about McCain when he came to the UK in 2006 as a guest of the Conservative party. He wrote
McCain's political colleagues, however, know another side of the action hero - a volatile man with a hair-trigger temper, who shouted at Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor to "shut up", and called fellow Republican senators "shithead ... fucking jerk ... asshole". A few months ago, McCain suddenly rushed up to a friend of mine, a prominent Washington lawyer, at a social event, and threatened to beat him up because he represented a client McCain happened to dislike. Then, just as suddenly, profusely and tearfully, he apologised.
Appalled by how he is described as behaving? Sorry, I love it. McCain has earned the right, so don’t you youngsters forget it. All of us of our age have earned the right. But we should do it on our own porch on a summer evening with our pals. It has no place in the White House.
Now let me get a little more serious. There is another sort of age that John McCain has and maybe you have noticed it. It is not shown on his face, which has the same grey look that my own shares and it don’t mean nothing.
No, it is in his eyes. Look at them when next you hear him speak. They appear not connected to what he is saying. They are looking far off into some distant past and into some vaguely perceived future that is not too far away. They are the eyes of an old man. Some of my friends have this look. Not all, but some do. I could describe it better but it is not a place that I want go because to do so I would have to look into a mirror. I don’t do much of that these days. I don't have to because I'm not running for President - or for a place on the golf club committee.
I think that I could quite like John McCain. I wish he would simply join me and my other pals for a beer or two in our enjoyable retirement. We could share a few grumpy jokes about times present and remember fondly times gone and leave tomorrow to younger folk.