Obama’s Skin Problem: Race or Wrinkles?

Much has been written about whether presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama can overcome his race handicap. But his age may be just as big of a hurdle.

Though Senator Obama is 45 years old, his rail thin boyish figure makes him look much younger to many of us with, shall we say, more traditional middle age builds. His youthful appearance contributes to concerns about his level of experience vis a vis the Democratic field’s front-runner, Senator Hillary Clinton. [Though Senator Clinton’s time as First Lady is certainly relevant, it’s worth noting that Senator Obama has held elective office for 9 years (six state, three federal), while Senator Clinton has held elective office for 7 years (all federal).]

Have older Presidents been better Presidents? Well, I, with the aid of Wikipedia, looked at the top five Presidents in history. According to a consensus of scholars, they are Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. The average age of the Fab Five is 51. Then I looked at who the scholars regard as the worst five Presidents in history – Harding, Buchanan, Pierce, Johnson and Harrison. The average age of the Flop Five is seven years higher, 58.

The bronze medalist in this competition, Theodore Roosevelt, was three years younger than Obamba when he entered office. (With that whole walrus ‘stache thing going on, who knew Teddy was young?) And JFK, an enormously popular figure for the Democratic primary voters Obama needs, was a couple years younger than Senator Obama when he took office.

The point is, when it comes to Presidents, older does not seem to have correlated with better. Still, perception is reality in politics. Obama looks very young, and that hurts him in the debate about experience. So, at the end of the day I submit that the lack of wrinkles and jowls on his skin may be as big a problem as the color of his skin.

The solution for Obama? It’s quite obvious. Two words. Walrus mustache.

– Loveland

7 thoughts on “Obama’s Skin Problem: Race or Wrinkles?

  1. bbenidt says:

    Obama has scored the best riposte of the campaign so far, methinks. When challenged about experience, he says Cheney and Rumsfeld had lots of experience, and look where they’ve gotten us.

    I say let’s elect Obama now, before he has more experience in the senate. With another term or two, he’ll only learn how to bloviate, using 25 words when 2 will do, burying his point in treacly blather. He’ll learn how to trim his sails to the political wind, how to listen to handlers and pollsters rather than to his constituents or his conscience, how to use porkbarrel earmarks to cement himself in office, how to think only about reelection.

    Let’s get him now, before he has too much experience.

    Obama’s experience as a community organizer is enormously valuable. It put him in touch with real people and their real concerns — something a Bush or a Kennedy lacked. It helped him understand how local, state and federal government initiatives helped or hurt people. And it helped form his sense that individual responsibility and aspiration are the drivers in people’s lives, not government programs.

    Part of TR’s experience was as police commissioner of New York. Local government can teach a person a lot about how power works and how things actually get done. Not a hell of a lot gets done in the U.S. Senate.

  2. Karl Rove says:

    B. Hussein Obama is the perfect liberal candidate – Muslim, not too black, not too white, master of the soundbite, impossible to pin down.

    In the end, Hillary will make a wonderful VP for B. Hussein Obama.

  3. You’re making my point!

    His Christianity contributes to the obfuscation that is B. Hussein Obama.

    If he can passively lead half of Democrats to believe he might be Muslim, and the other half to believe he his Christian, then he is the perfect political amalgam of victim, race, creed, global pedigree and (of course) American. Too bad he can’t find some Jewish ancestry like Hillary and J. Kerry purport to have.

    Why there’s a little to like in all of his personas! Which one(s) do you like?

  4. EMM says:

    Well, Karl, we haven’t hit the Jewish roots you’ve requested. However Lynne Cheney — the VP’s wife — has just found out and reported in her new book that her man Cheney and Obama are 9th cousins. AND…don’t choke on this now…President Bush and Obama are 11th cousins! Oh! That damnable interracial dating, heh?

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