As the New York Times noted back on June 29, "The 2016 election may be far off, but one theme is becoming clear: Republican strategists and presidential hopefuls, in ways subtle and overt, are eager to focus a spotlight on Mrs. Clinton's age. The former secretary of state will be 69 by the next presidential election, a generation removed from most of the possible Republican candidates."
It all started with the deep and profound utterance of Stuart Stevens, the brilliant lead strategist for Mitt Romney's hilarious 2012 presidential run, who remarked that Hillary has "been around since the '70s." At that point, the floodgates opened. The comments lined up as follows:
Republicans: She's too old
Democrats: She's not too old
Independants: She's too old and she's not too old
Conservative media: She's too old
Liberal media: She's not too old
Ryan Lochte: Who is Hillary Clinton?
We could spend a lot of time arguing the merits and drawbacks of having an older person in a position of vast power and responsibility. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice, is 79. Kim Jong-Il continues to rule North Korea two years after his death. On the other hand, Ronald Reagan, began to experience the effects of Alzheimer's during his second term in office. Pope Benedict XVI retired this year to follow his lifelong dream of becoming a papal consultant. The bottom line is that some older people seem to have no age limit on intellectual functioning, while others succumb early in life. Intellectual acuity in later life, like getting a good tax refund, can be a crap shoot.
The sexism thing is another matter, but, in spite of it being an easy red flag to raise and a fun theme for a blog post, the truth is that even male politicians have been called "too old" to run for office.
Let's turn to the basic question that might make all other questions moot: Will Hillary actually run? Since Mrs. Clinton has been mostly silent on the matter (except for occasionally declaring that she wouldn't run), we are left to explore two areas that haven't received much attention:
The Hairstyle: The New York Daily News has reported that "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared Monday at a Arkansas library dedication, sporting a new, refined hairdo that could be a sign of her further polishing her image ahead of a 2016 White House bid."
This is big (the observation, as well as the hair). Clearly, Clinton has ditched, if only for the moment, the casual ponytail for something more "put together." Does a more "done" look signify a desire to capture the more moderate, independent vote? Will we see subsequent hairstyles that will appeal to other ethnic/age/political demographics? Will Clinton sport dreads, braids, weaves, extensions, Brazilian blowouts, a partially shaved head? The possibilities are endless.
Another factor is the copy cat phenomenon. Whatever style Clinton ultimately settles on will become the rage. A simple ponytail will bring little money to the beauty salon industry, save for manufacturers of elastic ponytail holders. A complicated do will help support American business. Stay focused on the head.
Hollywood: Four front-runners had been tapped to play the young Clinton in the film Rodham. They included Les Misérables star Amanda Seyfried, Zero Dark Thirty's lead actress Jessica Chastain, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon and current title holder of "Most Sexiest Woman Who Ever Lived or Ever Will Live" Scarlett Johansson.
Although Johansson and Chastain have already opted out, we want to look closely at who is ultimately chosen, since, if Clinton runs and is elected, approximately 60% of the American population will believe that the virtual Clinton is the president and not the actual Clinton. We must hope that Hollywood chooses an actress worthy of our vote.
In sum, let's all hope that what happens is best for the American public. Let's also hope that Rush Limbaugh, who seems obsessed with all things Hillary, will follow his own advice and retire at age 65, which will occur the year Clinton is elected.