In the quest to dismantle Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2016 presidential ambitions, Republicans have switched their talking points from Benghazi to Bengay.
They're suggesting Clinton, who will be 69 in 2016, is too old for the job.
"Perhaps in the Democratic primary and certainly in the general election, there's going to be an argument that the time for a change of leadership has come," Republican strategist Karl Rove was quoted as saying in The New York Times. "The idea that we're at the end of her generation and that it's time for another to step forward is certainly going to be compelling."
And Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, no spring chicken himself at age 71, called the potential Democratic field of Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, who's 70, "a rerun of 'The Golden Girls.' "
Meanwhile, talk radio's Rush Limbaugh asked in April if voters want to "actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis."
But Clinton would be running for president at the same age that conservative icon Ronald Reagan did when he was first elected president in 1980, becoming the oldest person to ever serve in the Oval Office.
The Republican's age was a factor in the campaign, and when he ran for re-election in 1984 at the age of 73, Reagan actually deflated the issue of his age somewhat with humor in a debate with his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Walter Mondale, who was 56 at the time.
"I will not make age an issue of this campaign," Reagan famously quipped during the debate. "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."
Reagan won 59 percent of the vote, picking up 49 states. That fact alone should serve as a warning to Republicans not to focus on Clinton's age.
If the GOP is trying to connect with younger voters, it had best heed a report released last month by the College Republican National Committee, which said young swing voters viewed the party, fairly or not, as "closed-minded," "racist," "rigid" and "old-fashioned."
On key issues like gay marriage and immigration, the study found the party was out of step with many young voters. Even on the economy, young voters weren't receptive to ham-handed Republican messaging.
Republicans would do well to attend to policy and message rather than highlight an opponent's unremarkable age.
The Denver Post, July 2