A quick review of the U.S. Presidential record from 1960 to 2004 reveals:
John F. Kennedy (born 1917) was 43 years of age when he defeated the older Richard M.Nixon (born 1913) and was sworn into office in 1961.
Score one for the younger candidate.
Lyndon B. Johnson (born 1908) assumed office after Kennedy was assassinated. When he ran against Barry Goldwater (born 1909) Johnson was the older candidate.
Score one for the elder candidate.
Richard M. Nixon (born 1913) defeated Hubert Humphrey (born 1911).
Score two for the younger candidate.
Nixon won re-election against George McGovern (born 1922) the younger candidate.
Score two for the elder candidate.
Gerald R. Ford (born 1913) assumed office when Nixon resigned. The pardon Of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford has been pointed to as the predominate reason for the younger Jimmy Carter (born 1924) being elected.
Score three for the younger candidate.
Jimmy Carter was resoundingly defeated in his bid for re-election by the older Ronald Reagan (born 1911).
Score three for the elder candidate.
Ronald Reagan easily defeated the younger Walter Mondale (born 1928) and was re-elected.
Score four for the elder candidate.
George H. Bush (born 1924) defeated the younger Michael S. Dukakis (born 1933).
Score five for the elder candidate.
George H. Bush (born 1924) was defeated by the younger Bill Clinton (born 1946) in his bid for re-election.
Score four for the younger candidate.
Bill Clinton defeated the much older Bob Dole (born 1923) for re-election.
Score five for the younger candidate.
George W. Bush (born 1946) defeated the younger Al Gore (born 1948) in 2000.
Score six for the elder candidate.
George W. Bush (born 1946) defeated the older John Kerry (born 1943) in 2004.
Score six for the younger candidate.
Final score from 1960 to 2004? All tied, six apiece. No apparent ageism charge can be leveled at American voters.
But what became of the administrations of the younger Presidents, specifically, those in their forties to early fifties?
John F. Kennedy (D) became involved in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, the forward placement of nuclear missiles in Islamic Turkey, which led to the Cuban missile crisis and the near madness of a nuclear exchange with the Soviets, and the tragic decision to ride in an open convertible on the streets of Dallas on November 22, 1962.
Jimmy Carter (D) had barely escaped his forties as he presided over an administration which seemed unable to deal with the twin evils of a stagnating economy and double-digit inflation, not to mention the 444 days of the Iran hostage crisis. As Jimmy pulled the rug from under the Shah of Iran the country was re-born as the Islamic Republic of Iran and is an almost-nuclear thorn in the side to most of the world.
Bill Clinton (D), as the younger candidate, defeated two elder challengers in both elections. He served his term in office while in his late forties and early fifties. For his illegal and morally reprehensible actions in the Monica Lewinsky affair he was impeached, yet ultimately not removed from office. His trade agreements led to cheaper imported goods but created a veritable tsunami of job losses in states dependent on manufacturing jobs.
While the issue of age is one that the American voters seem to ignore, based on the somewhat recent record, the record of those younger candidates is one that should not be forgotten.
Tags: Election 2008