Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The Old Man and the Presidency

John McCain is 72 and actuarially has a higher risk of dying in office than a younger man. But he is in good health (he’s released over 1,000 pages of his medical records; Obama, with typical parsimony, has released one page) and 72 is a good deal younger than it was in earlier times.  He is hardly likely to shuffle off this mortal coil immediately after the inauguration.

Out of 43 presidencies, only two ended in the very early days of the administration. William Henry Harrison, age 70, took the oath of office on March 4th, 1841, gave the longest inaugural address in the history of the Republic, caught pneumonia as a result, and died a month later. (Joe Biden might want to note this example of the hazards of oratorical prolixity.) James Garfield, age 49, took the oath on March 4th, 1881, and was shot by an assassin on July 2 that year. He lingered for two and a half months until his incompetent doctors finally managed to kill him.

With modern medicine, both Harrison and Garfield would have been back at work within two weeks.

The fact is, if John McCain were to die after only a year in office, Vice President Sarah Palin would have more foreign policy experience, by far, upon entering the presidency, than four of the last five presidents, who were, like her, all governors and had never held federal office.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.