After having (mostly) navigated through the sociopolitical minefield that was Obama vs. Clinton in terms of race and sex, we now get another area to broach: John McCain is old.
The weird thing about McCain is that he seems much older than he actually is. Seventy-two, while certainly elderly, still leaves years of capable, mentally alert life barring significant disease or disability. And the issue with his age isn't his mental capacity (he's the exact same kind of cluelessly aggressive conservative demagogue that we see coming out of Young Republican groups on campuses the nation 'round), it's simply how he comes off - as a caricature of every crusty old meanspirited coot wondering about kids these days and their e-pods and the funny new athletes with the odd names like "LeBron" and "LaDanian" and "Albert".
But here's the funny thing about John McCain: when you look at him, he's always been kind of a meanspirited coot, just not one that was so deliciously ripened on the vine of life. Of course, there's the sham-esque charity thing:
Between 2001 and 2006, McCain contributed roughly $950,000 to the foundation. That accounted for all of its listed income other than for $100 that came from an anonymous donor. During that same period, the McCain foundation made contributions of roughly $1.6 million. More than $500,000 went to his kids’ private schools, most of which was donated when his children were attending those institutions. So McCain apparently received major tax deductions for supporting elite schools attended by his children.
This stuff goes back decades, according to friends and acquaintances - it's not new, and it's not a function of age. Perhaps at one point the cranky might have been called sauciness, the redolent vigor of an angry youth. Perhaps later it might have been called crabby, spiced with the salt of middle age. But it's all the same thing, really: John McCain's natural home is somewhere in Assholetown.
They have great tax rates, but shitty transportation. Ba-dum-bum!
What we need to be careful about is that the particular expression of his assholishness, as influenced in its expression by his age as it is, is not actually a function of his age. The fact that he stands in rooms of dour, bitter people complaining ad nauseum about a man 25 years younger than him isn't because he's old - if he was 41, he'd be standing in rooms full of dour, bitter people complaining ad nauseum about a man five years older than him.
McCain isn't a cranky old man - he's an old man who's cranky. Let's remember that going forward. And before you step on his lawn.