I will not be sad if Barack Obama is elected President in the fall; indeed, I will be delighted beyond measure. Of all the possible Presidents who could disappoint me, he’s the one I’d most like to do it.

And John McCain is shaping up just now to be a poor candidate, who seems mainly to favor more, longer wars for reasons even he cannot quite explain. I hope very much that Obama supporters will continue to make the case that he is ill informed, corrupt, and temperamentally, characterologically, and intellectually unsuited for the presidency.

But it diminishes liberals, progressives, and Democrats—the party, let us not forget, of Social Security—to mock McCain simply for being old or for acting as old people do or enjoying the things old people enjoy. I feel guilty, and I know my fellow progressives and liberals do, for doing and allowing this. Ageist attacks hurt not just the elderly at whom they’re directed, but all the superannuated among us.