Happy 67th birthday, Hillary Clinton!
As a fellow October baby, I send you wishes for a relaxing day, maybe a visit with the new grand-baby and hopefully a nice cocktail at the end of the evening. You deserve it.
What you don’t deserve is the inevitable criticism of your age if you decide to announce you candidacy for the White House, a decision which could come, according to you, as soon as the mid-term elections are over in November.
While Hillary was only 61 when she ran for president in 2008, if she throws her hat in the ring and wins, she would be 69 when she’s sworn in as President of the United States in January of 2017. And that, many critics claim, is Just. Too. Old.
Of course, those haters had no problem imagining a 72-year-old John McCain as president in that same presidential election. And Ronald Reagan was 69-years-old when took office in 1981, and we all know how enthused most Republicans still are of the man. So how are conservatives going to square their ageism with that, especially when you consider that many Republicans still want Mitt Romney to run again, and he’d be 69-years-old in the first year of a presidential term, as well, and with 23 grandchildren (and probably counting) in tow compared to Hillary’s one granddaughter.
Hillary is young compared to some other notable women leaders — Golda Meir was 71 when she was Prime Minister of Israel. Nancy Pelosi is 74. As the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, she’s often referred to as the most powerful Democratic woman in America. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is 76.
As women, our 60s may not be the new 40s, but it’s hardly a time to be put out to political pasture. According to a report in National Journal, Hillary’s 69 in 2017 looks very different than Reagan’s in 1981. Reviewing various studies and data points, HRC can expect to life at least to the ripe old age of 86! At 69, she’s just getting started!
Of course, no amount of scientific data will keep Hillary’s opponents from focusing on any aspect of her they believe will help them take back the White House. As she is enjoying her special day this year, I suspect she’s already got some choice comebacks for the “she’s an old grandma” critiques. Either that, or she’ll be contemplating them on this birthday.
Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist and journalism entrepreneur who is also the author of the book Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. She is the founder and publisher of the The Broad Side. Joanne is at work on a forthcoming anthology exploring our society’s love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton. You can find her on Twitter at @jlcbamberger. Also, follow The Broad Side on Twitter at @The_Broad_Side and on Facebook!