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Back in late January, 2015, I did a post entitled The Party of the Living Dead. In it, I drew attention to what Barack Obama did to the Democratic Party — which is that he deprived it of a bench and left it in the grips of septuagenarians such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the like. Even that young whippersnapper Elizabeth Warren — with whom I served back in the last millennium on the debate team for Northwest Class High School in Oklahoma City — was slated to be 66 or 67 by now, and Hillary Clinton was slated to be 69 — older than Ronald Reagan was on the eve of his first election. I did not have the wit to mention Bernie Sanders, then and now another septuagenarian; and I took it for granted that the Republicans would nominate someone in his or her forties or fifties. It never crossed my mind that they would nominate someone older than Hillary. But here we are.
I mention this because I believe that Tim Kaine or Mike Pence will be President before long. There is, as Aristotle said with regard to the Spartan gerousia, an old age of the mind as well as one of the body — and Hillary is evidencing both. She is not only ill — probably with Parkinson’s disease — and lacking energy. She is, as Huma Abedin noted some time ago in an email to someone recently hired at the State Department, “often confused.” She may win on Tuesday. My guess — for what it is worth — is that she will. But she will not be with us long. Hell, she is not always with us now.
For all of his defects, Donald Trump does not seem to be lacking in energy — perhaps because he is not, like his opponent, given to imbibing. But let’s face it: he, too, is old, and the campaign must be a terrific strain. Moreover, his incoherence — the fact that he seems to have attitudes and resentments but not well-worked ideas — fits rather well with Aristotle’s observation. It is, of course, conceivable that the man was never able to think through issues. He certainly seems to be stuck in adolescence, and he clearly has a problem with impulse control. But these things get worse as one ages. The ablest people remember their conclusions but forget the line of reasoning that got them there. Trust me: I know.
In any case, given the strains associated with the office, it is unlikely that The Donald will make it through a full term, and the presumption, expressed in some quarters, that, if elected, he will be running for re-election in four years is absurd.
Which brings me to my point. In 2012, no one gave much thought to the Vice Presidency. Did a single American in that year vote for Barack Obama out of admiration for Joe Biden? And, to ask a less absurd question, did anyone vote for Mitt Romney out of admiration for Paul Ryan?
Not even I fell into that category. I was delighted with Romney’s choice, but I would have voted for him anyway. I would even have voted for him had he put the loathsome Chris Christie on the ticket.
This year, however, is different. When you enter the polls on Tuesday, you may really be choosing between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. For once, you might want to give some thought to the vice presidential options.