Significant or not? McCain would be the first president born in 1930s

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MUCH has been made of Senator John McCain’s advancing years. He is, as everyone knows, the oldest candidate in the field, and if things go his way in November he will take office at age 72, which will make him older than any other new president in history. This fact has provoked merriment, most conspicuously on late-night television, where he is often the butt of codger jokes.

Actually, he inhabits a more serious historic role, as the latest — and almost certainly the last — hope for Americans born in the 1930s to send one of their own to the White House. The 1900s, the 1910s, the 1920s and the 1940s have all been represented in the White House. But not the 1930s.

It is the missing decade. A demographic blip? Perhaps. But it might also be that Americans born in the 1930s lack the particular qualities we look for in our national leaders.

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