Here’s yet another test of Morrissey’s Axiom of Politics and Courtship: Desperation isn’t an aphrodisiac in either. In Utah, where Republican incumbent and nominee Orrin Hatch looks ready to sail to a sixth term in office, his Democratic opponent has decided to make Hatch’s age the central issue in the campaign. And as the local ABC affiliate reports, it’s not just Hatch’s age that Scott Howell argues that voters should keep in mind, it’s the sudden stop to the aging process that may or may not occur over the next six years:
In a blunt fundraising letter sent out Sunday, Democrat Scott Howell repeatedly attacks the senator’s age.
Howell begins his fundraising email, “I’m going to be frank.”
Howell continues, “Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy.” …
But the most explosive part of Howell’s fundraising letter may be when he says that Hatch could, “die before his term is through.”
Classy! But Orrin Hatch is “only” 78 years old, which is exactly the average life expectancy for Americans in 2012, according to the CIA Factbook. Hatch doesn’t even make the top five in terms of age in the US Senate. What’s more, four of the top five are Howell’s fellow Democrats, including the top three slots:
- Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), 88 years, 239 days
- Daniel Inouye (D-HI), 88 years, 11 days
- Daniel Akaka (D-HI), 88 years, 7 days (retiring)
- Richard Lugar (R-IN), 80 years, 167 days (defeated in primary)
- Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 79 years, 88 days
Feinstein’s running for re-election this year in California. Maybe Howell can raise that question in that race, too! Also, Inouye has already confirmed that he plans to seek re-election in 2016, at the age of 92. Maybe Howell can express his concern about senior mortality in Hawaii in that election, too.
As anyone with a few operating brain cells can attest, anyone could die at any time. It’s completely unpredictable. Political death, however, is a little easier to diagnose.