Episode 1: No Country For Old Men

In the first episode of The Latest, we look at whether politicians raised in the era of “Leave it to Beaver” are equipped to address problems like 8Chan or Alaska turning into a tropical resort.

The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 1: No Country For Old Men
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Transcript

“Those kids in Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president.”

“We choose truth over facts!”

“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

That’s Joe Biden making a series of gaffes this week on the campaign trail, leading some to question his mental acuity. It’s starting to seem like the only way to keep Biden from misspeak is to do what he knows best and stick to a script that he plagiarized in the ‘80s.

It is, of course, worth pointing that these “misstatements” vastly pale in comparison to the errors Mr. Trump makes on a minute-by-minute basis, like honoring the dead in Toledo after the Dayton shooting, or saying “I love you” to his daughter Tiffany.

Now, these mistakes obviously aren’t on the same level: Joe Biden makes cheerful, fatherly flubs. “Come on, dad, you weren’t Vice President during that mass shooting — you were vice president during that other mass shooting!” Mr. Trump just isn’t a detail-oriented guy, which is why he struggles to spell seven-letter words like “counsel” or “Melania.”  

But what it says to me is that these men are painfully old. Joe Biden is 76; even his hair plugs are old enough to buy beer. And Mr. Trump is 73, just five years shy of his IQ. 

The current age for retirement is 66, which means you were born in 1955 — the year Elvis was on TV for the first time, Rosa Parks wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus, and if you wanted to send somebody a Snap, it was though a singing telegram.

In the last debate, Biden got trashed for mixing up his website and his campaign text message number. Who can blame him? When he was a kid, if you wanted to use a phone, you had to get permission from the operator. 

Mr. Trump is even worse. Despite loving pornography, the man doesn’t use a computer. He has his staff members print out his emails like your mom insists on printing out a Google Map. And he doesn’t even type his tweets; he reads them aloud, like Fred Flintstone barking into his Dictabird. Except in this case, Fred Flintstone has nukes, and the bird is the eagle on top of the Swastika. 

Obviously, this all sounds pretty ageist, but that’s not my point — plenty of people do great things well into their “senior years.” 

Sylvester Stallone is 73 and still starring in action films, despite the fact that he’s a ball of wax covered in olive oil. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86 and is doing just fine; she just needs to be well-maintained, like the Statue of Liberty when it’s under construction. Warren Buffet is 88 years old and eats McDonald’s for breakfast every single day, which is a pretty good indication that Mr. Trump will live to be one thousand. 

My point is that these “senior moments,” or, in Mr. Trump’s case, CTE onset by severe scalp trauma, are a big deal not because they are old — but because there are plenty of people who were not raised on “Leave it to Beaver” who could determine what to do about 8Chan, or facial recognition, or Alaska becoming a tropical resort.

Look, I like Joe Biden — and if he’s the Democratic nominee, I’ll vote for him even if he’s in a coma. But before we get there, I’m hoping there’s a moment where everyone can say, “okay, do we really want another old man?” 

It’d be nice to have someone that’s just a little bit younger — like 70.