Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Does the Office Age the Man?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Does the Office Age the Man?

Or is it just time? It's an old cliche that the office of the presidency really ages its occupants. Now that we're coming up to the end of Bush's second term, we'll see more and more of the comparisons between how he looked when he started and now. In fact, here's one that takes a look at all the presidents elected twice in the last hundred years (it has Nixon, who didn't serve his full two, but it doesn't have Truman, who was only elected once, but served more than two years longer than Nixon did--for that matter, Teddy Roosevelt was only elected once but served longer than Nixon, too, but he started more than a hundred years ago, so maybe he doesn't count).

The amount that a president ages in office is likely to be discussed even more avidly this time around because McCain will be 72 by the time the election comes around, so he'd leave office at 80 if he served two terms. But then I started to think about McCain when he was 63 and running against Bush in the 2000 primaries. He looks like he's aged more since then as Bush has, and he wasn't even president! Maybe it comes down to the fact that it's eight years later. How much older do you look than you did during the 2000 election. Quite frankly, I'm not looking so great, and I wasn't president, either (although I did live through the Bush administration). So, although I've got to admit that the presidency without a doubt has far, far more stress than I want to experience, I think we've got to admit that eight years can age you all by itself.


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