Today’s NYT headline on a Sestak story might as well be “Sestak Ignores Specter’s Request to Get Off His Lawn”:
White House Embraces Upstart Who Beat Specter
A 58-year-old former Admiral who’s spent two terms in Congress is an “upstart” only in a world where age and senility are taboo topics. Reporters who would cringe at the notion of an 80 year-old performing a bypass, or a 76 year-old prosecuting a murder trial, routinely ignore the fact that Specter and Bennett are elderly men whose prime was well in the past.
The men who beat Bennett in Utah were 30-40 years younger than Bennett. Utah has the lowest median age of any state in the country. But I haven’t seen a single mention of the relevance of Bennett’s age in any of his political eulogies.
A big part of the reason that age is off limits is that the Village also venerates incipient senility within its ranks. If they started pointing out that 70 and 80 year-olds might be better off retired, people would start wondering why we’re still watching Sam Donaldson and reading David Broder.