In 2015 – possibly even in the next couple of months – the former secretary of state will have to put an end to the “will she, won’t she” speculation that has rumbled on since she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008, and decide whether she will seek the presidency in 2016.
Among the obstacles that stand in her way will be the traditional sexist question: can a woman be tough enough to serve as commander-in-chief of the mightiest military force on earth?…
But if she had a predictable sexism to overcome in 2008, she will have to confront an additional prejudice in 2016. Let the Fox News contributor Erick Erickson spell it out for you. “She’s going to be old,” Erickson said in April. “I don’t know how far back they can pull her face.” He made those remarks as the stand-in anchor of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. Which was apt, considering it was Limbaugh who remarked during Clinton’s last presidential run: “Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?”
It’s true that, were Clinton to win, she would be 69 as she took the inaugural oath, making her the oldest president in history bar Ronald Reagan, who was 16 days off his 70th birthday when he was sworn in. While age surfaced briefly as an issue in Reagan’s re-election campaign, when he was nearly 74, few expressed revulsion at the notion of witnessing him ageing in the White House.