Hillary’s not the only one who made a big move today.
As you know, the 2016 Presidential hopeful joined Twitter, and — though her history on the service is precisely one message long — quickly managed to turn herself into the topic of conversation (though, at the time of writing she seems to have been upstaged in the United States by the New England Patriots; #Tebow and Josh McDaniels are trending, but not #TextsFromHillary):
I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight one narrative surrounding Clinton’s entry to Twitter: that it is only the opening salvo of a broader attempt to “seem young.” Should she be elected President in 2016, she will be pushing 70, and though women generally have longer lifespans than men (so her age should be of marginally less concern than John McCain’s when he ran in 2008), life expectancy is not the only important component of a candidate’s age. Ben Smith lays out the real perceived threat to Hillary’s campaign in Hillary Clinton’s First Tweet Shows What She Fears Most:
Clinton Monday launched her Twitter feed — pre-leaked a week earlier to Politico by a staff that has shown no familiarity with the social web — with some of the most studied jokes in the history of the internet, riffing on a meme — Texts from Hillary — that’s more than a year old. The message of the image, the studied colloquialism and pantsuit jokes, and the idea was simple: “I’m not old.”
But as Smith points out, Hillary is old — and she won’t be going up again John McCain this time around — her challengers are likely to be considerably younger:
And the generational threat remains the main one to Hillary Clinton. Cory Booker’s likely ascent to the Senate in 2013 puts him, as one ally said, on a plausible, if perhaps unlikely, path to Iowa.
And Reagan-like “my opponent’s youth and inexperience”-type judo aside, Smith is right — age is at the least a cause for concern, and at the most could prove a formidable obstacle to the White House:
The . . . dagger at Clinton’s heart is generational. Even in 2008, Barack Obama won in part by promising to “turn the page” on the Clintonian past, and to welcome a new generation. In 2016, Hillary Clinton will face an electorate that includes people who were born just as Monica Lewinsky was becoming a household name, to whom the Clinton years are a kind of hazily positive past — the sort of film-reel history that Watergate represented in Bill Clinton’s election.
The painstaking Twitter rollout is the digital representation of that neurosis.
So the primary challenger in the primaries who Smith called out by name — Newark Mayor Cory Booker — wasted absolutely no time in taking the opportunity to demonstrate that he has a slightly firmer grasp on what’s hip/cool/fresh/what the kids are into than does stodgy old Hillary… by advertising on Twitter:
In case you were curious whether he planned to run for President — no, no, no need for concern: he’s just running for the Senate!