Why do we like elderly presidents?

Summary: Our actions show us who we are. Look at our choices in Campaign 2020 to see our weakness, and how we can again become strong.

Elderly Man Dementia - Dreamstime-153064107
ID 153064107 © Steveheap | Dreamstime.

First, there was Reagan. He had Alzheimer’s in 1984. We did not know that, but he was obviously in bad shape. But we elected him anyway

The Democrats are no better. Their two presidents in 2016 were Hillary and Sanders, both too old to be CEOs of major public corporations. Ditto Trump. Millions voted for them anyway. Especially despite the many indications of Hillary’s poor health (details here). Weirdly, all offered statements by their doctors as evidence. You cannot become a private in the Army without their doctor’s evaluation of you, but you can become president with a note from your mother doctor. Obama’s doctor explained why that’s absurd, using the note from Trump’s doctor as an example.

Now both parties are doing it again, with election ballots filled with Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Trump. Just like Hillary in 2016, Biden gives evidence of some incapacity. As for Trump, even conservatives admit that his actions have been horrifically bad, and remain incompetent today. See this post about his actions and inaction (especially the articles in The American Conservative and the National Review editorial). Also see these WaPo articles about contradictory and often bizarre statement s by Trump’s: here and here. He is 73 years old, and might be folding under the immense pressure.

We have little knowledge of the political and mental health of these people. Yet we are voting to give them immense power.

Why do we get these people on the ballot? Because they are brand names, and we vote for people like we pick breakfast cereals. I discussed this in We need leaders. We elect figureheads. Here’s why.

This behavior is appreciated by our ruling elites because it makes us easy to rule. It also justifies their belief in our unfitness for self-rule. As does our gullibility (see the Big List of Lies in Our leaders so often lie, but we still believe them).

There is no solution so long as we treat elections the same way we do menus in a restaurant. We are citizens, the crew of the Republic – no passengers on the cruise ship America. The action takes place in the kitchen, before the primaries. There we will find the political machinery bequeathed to us by the Founders, powerful and awaiting only our effort to put it in motion.

For more information

Ideas! For some shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a powerful and disturbing story about “Birth of a Man of Steel …for the Soviet Union.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about ways to reform America, about the Left-wing, and especially these…

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  2. Election 2020 will be about open borders & America’s future – Fascinating quotes from the first debate.
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  6. Vote for your ideal figurehead in 2020!
  7. Triumph of the Left over the liberals who nurtured them.
  8. None of the Democratic candidates are moderates.
  9. The hidden key to Sanders’ amazing success in 2020.

Books about President Reagan

"My Father at 100" by Ron Reagan
Available at Amazon.

My Father at 100

By Ron Reagan.

From The Guardian: “In this book, Ron Reagan describes his growing sense of alarm over his father’s mental condition, beginning as early as three years into his first term. He recalls the presidential debate with Walter Mondale on 7 October 1984. ‘My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered,’ Ron Reagan writes.” Experts agree about the president’s behavior during that debate.  About the book, from the publisher …

“February 6, 2011, is the one-hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. To mark the occasion, Ron Reagan has written My Father at 100, an intimate look at the life of his father-one of the most popular presidents in American history-told from the perspective of someone who knew Ronald Reagan better than any adviser, friend, or colleague. As he grew up under his father’s watchful gaze, he observed the very qualities that made the future president a powerful leader. Yet for all of their shared experiences of horseback rides and touch football games, there was much that Ron never knew about his father’s past, and in My Father at 100, he sets out to understand this beloved, if often enigmatic, figure who turned his early tribulations into a stunning political career.

“Since his death in 2004, President Reagan has been a galvanizing force that personifies the values of an older America and represents an important era in national history. Ron Reagan traces the sources of these values in his father’s early years and offers a heartfelt portrait of a man and his country-and his personal memories of the president he knew as ‘Dad.'”


9 thoughts on “Why do we like elderly presidents?”

  1. Perhaps we elect doddering US Presidents in the same way that the Vatican elects Popes:

    Because of their great age & limited life expectancy, they are unlikely to become tyrants,

    1. recidivist,

      I don’t know, but suspect that’s not why they elect old popes.

      Electing elderly figureheads as presidents does nothing to prevent the development of a tyranny by the people in the backrooms who are really running things.

  2. The Man Who Laughs

    I don’t think that we actually like old Presidents. There are some specific reasons for the cases you cite, Let me unpack this.

    Reagan wasn’t the first President whose health became the subject of a deception. The economy in 1984 was pretty good, Mondale had run on a promise to raise taxes, and the statute of limitations on the Carter Administration had not yet run out.

    Trump wasn’t elected because he was old. he was elected for two reasons. First, the GOP tried to foist another Bush on the country, producing the Great National Upchuck. Second, the Democrats ran Hillary. Jim Kirk could have shorted out one of those alien cosmic supercomputers by telling it to compute which one of the choices in 2016 was worse.

    Now you’ve talked about serial institutional meltdown, which apparently has now got to the two major parties. Trump appears to be a one off with no obvious successor, so after he leaves the GOP reverts back to being the party of Bush. So after Bush the Elder, Bush The Lesser, and Bush the Floridian, I suppose we will have Bush the Mexican or whatever.

    The Democrats are bit harder to figure out. The party establishment seems to prefer Biden because the One Percent doesn’t fear him, and keeping him running for office may help prevent any real investigation of his dealings in Ukraine, and those of his coke-addled son. But for whatever underlying reason, they simply haven’t got much of a farm team, what they have on the bench is what they have, and no is insisting on anything better.

    I believe, though that on those few occasions when the Roman Senate was allowed to have a hand in picking a Caesar, they tended towards very old men. (Nerva, case in point) Maybe they hoped they’d another choice real soon or maybe it’s just something you see with an empire on the skids.

  3. Good article, Larry, but hard to answer your question for the reasons you gave in your response.

    Another potential article you could right is about how the value of the news services is increasingly becoming diluted by running fake or unverified stories (sometimes knowingly) as clickbait. Now they are increasingly trying to sign people up and get them to pay for bad information.

    The voters decisions are only as good as the data they receive.

  4. Hi Larry,

    In Parliamentary or weak Semi-Presidentialist republics, you often see older men elected as President – the grandfatherly attitude serves them well in their role as magistrate of last resort, symbol of national unity, etc – and younger men elected as Prime-Minister. As an example, the President might be the one with the responsibility of declaring a state of emergency, limiting civil liberties etc, but the Prime-Minister would have the responsibility of using those powers to address the emergency, which is the bit which requires the most hard work.

    Is it possible (and I ask out of ignorance) that the problem in the US is that the President has a dual role? So perhaps in peacetime some people vote in a President who is the best symbol of what they believe in, and not necessarily the best manager – which might not be so problematic if you’re not in an emergency?

    1. JP,

      That’s an interesting idea! On the other hand, we have vast expectations for our presidents, unlike the monarch-head of state ceremonial role.

      Whatever the answer, I believe that having the roles combined was one of the several major structural errors in the Constitution. Our inability to fix them is a big reason for the regime’s scinescence.

      1. Randolorian,

        That’s an important point! Most of the world’s democracies were born after WWI. Few choose to follow the US model: 3 branches, and a president (operational leader AND head of state). That’s because they’re smart. Our system was State of the Art in 1783, but events have shown that it does not work well. With our strengths, we’ve been able to muddle through crises – but these have shown the weaknesses of the model.

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