The Corner

McCain: Age and Money

Another email:

Did I miss it or did you (deliberately) not mention the impact of a 1-term pledge on the age issue? Would it help diffuse people’s doubts? Or would it provide an implicit acknowledgment that he is too old for two terms?

The fifteen percent of readers who thought the one-term pledge was a bad idea for McCain mostly answered that less question in the affirmative. When I first proposed the one-term idea in the spring, I said that McCain’s age was going to be an issue whatever he did, so he didn’t need to worry that a one-term pledge would highlight it. But I also thought it would defuse the issue. I now think his age is less of a factor in the primaries, since Thompson is making him look younger. (It may also be worth noting that McCain’s mother is still vigorous.)

David Weigel says that in assessing McCain’s electability, I neglected the possibility that he might not have any money during the months between the primaries and the conventions. Leaving aside whether I’m right that the one-term pledge is the way to do this, if McCain does something to shake up the race and persuade conservatives to give him another look, he will raise money. There’s no scenario where he wins the nomination and still doesn’t have money.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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