The Politics of Age and Trust

Whether you support either Governor Romney or President Obama, whether you have strong political views favoring one or the other, whether you don't really care who wins, there is one aspect of this political race that is missing in all of the news coverage and that's age.

Gov. Romney is 65 years old, putting him at the traditional retirement age for most people.  This age of retirement is when folks, having worked a lifetime, can take time to reflect on life, enjoy their family, read a few books, and otherwise take it easy. Romney, at this same age, is competing for the most stressful job on earth.  It is one of those 24/7 jobs where just one misstep can cost billions in money, millions in jobs, and thousands in lives. This job allows its holder to set long term trajectories for a powerful nation, arguably the most powerful nation on earth.

Yet, his age has not been a factor at all.  The beautiful thing here is that the age of 65 seems not to be important as a foundational criterion for job suitability.  It was a considered factor for the election of Dwight Eisenhower, who was elected at the age of 63, but his stature was immense and his opponent was weak.  More recently, Ronald Reagan was aged 69 at his inauguration. Age was often mentioned as a factor.

There is another factor of age never mentioned but is important in the hearts of the people. It is trust.  If someone this age is competing for a high level job, most people feel confident this is the job they want, to protect and serve, to guide and enhance, to maintain and sustain. There is trust that no hidden agenda lurks in the background. 

This is singularly remarkable for a country that worships youth and physical attractiveness. 

A full list of president's ages at inauguration can be found here.

An interesting note is that in our era, the three youngest elected presidents (Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama) were Democrats, while the three oldest elected presidents (Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush) were Republicans.


Don Allen
College Station, TX


Whether you support either Governor Romney or President Obama, whether you have strong political views favoring one or the other, whether you don't really care who wins, there is one aspect of this political race that is missing in all of the news coverage and that's age.

Gov. Romney is 65 years old, putting him at the traditional retirement age for most people.  This age of retirement is when folks, having worked a lifetime, can take time to reflect on life, enjoy their family, read a few books, and otherwise take it easy. Romney, at this same age, is competing for the most stressful job on earth.  It is one of those 24/7 jobs where just one misstep can cost billions in money, millions in jobs, and thousands in lives. This job allows its holder to set long term trajectories for a powerful nation, arguably the most powerful nation on earth.

Yet, his age has not been a factor at all.  The beautiful thing here is that the age of 65 seems not to be important as a foundational criterion for job suitability.  It was a considered factor for the election of Dwight Eisenhower, who was elected at the age of 63, but his stature was immense and his opponent was weak.  More recently, Ronald Reagan was aged 69 at his inauguration. Age was often mentioned as a factor.

There is another factor of age never mentioned but is important in the hearts of the people. It is trust.  If someone this age is competing for a high level job, most people feel confident this is the job they want, to protect and serve, to guide and enhance, to maintain and sustain. There is trust that no hidden agenda lurks in the background. 

This is singularly remarkable for a country that worships youth and physical attractiveness. 

A full list of president's ages at inauguration can be found here.

An interesting note is that in our era, the three youngest elected presidents (Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama) were Democrats, while the three oldest elected presidents (Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush) were Republicans.


Don Allen
College Station, TX


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