By Bob Cesca: There's a myth about old people. They're evidently wiser than the rest of us. Through longevity, experiences and a lifetime of observation of the human condition, they have insights about the world that the rest of us aren't yet aware of.
And they vote.
Senior citizens take voting very seriously. If you want to know exactly why American politics are so screwed up -- weird and stupid, as Shep Smith likes to say -- you might want to point an accusatory finger at certain old people whose enthusiasm for voting far exceeds their enthusiasm for ascertaining the facts. The number of American voters between the ages of 60 and 69 are nearly triple the number of voters between the ages of 18 and 29, and just less than double the number of voters between the ages of 30-39.
Yes, yes, I know. This sounds awfully ageist -- especially for a liberal. I hasten to note that there are a lot of old people who are well-connected with reality and can tell a scam from the real thing. They vote for the right reasons and make reasonable choices. But it's empirical fact that old people -- people older than 60 -- vote more than any other demographic group.
And this year, most of them are probably going to vote against the president. Mitt Romney holds a lead among seniors and the trend line is showing that they'll totally vote for the Republican nominee if the election were held today.
Meanwhile, according to a January Kaiser Health tracking poll, 50 percent of seniors don't like the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") while just 30 percent hold a favorable view of the healthcare reform law.
Utterly baffling, especially considering how seniors need affordable healthcare in order to, you know, not die.
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study determined that senior citizens more than any other demographic group of Americans benefit from Obamacare. The law hasn't even really kicked in fully and yet 14.3 million senior citizens have benefitted from the law's preventative care provisions. In other words, millions of old people have received free preventative care via Medicare that they wouldn't have received if Obamacare hadn't been passed.
And so they're going to vote for the guy who wants to repeal the law.
Worse yet, they want to vote for Romney even though the president's healthcare reform law will close the dreaded Medicare Part-D donut-hole. Thanks to President Bush, Medicare Part-D exists (though not paid for) as a means of helping seniors with their prohibitively expensive prescription drugs -- and thanks, too, for that period of time every year when seniors don't get the benefit and have to pay for their prohibitively expensive prescription drugs out of their fixed-income pockets. The donut hole.
President Obama's Affordable Care Act closes that hole. This will literally save the lives of senior citizens of every party affiliation and every ideological persuasion -- Birther to moonbat.
And yet senior citizens want to vote for Romney who has vowed to re-open the donut hole and take away the preventative care provisions added to Medicare by President Obama.
Yes, some seniors have a special wisdom not evident in other age groups, and, yes, they deserve praise for fulfilling their patriotic duty and voting more than other age groups. But holy hell, too many of them are just as stupid as the rest of the infamous low-information American voters. The 50 percent seniors who are contemplating a vote for Mitt Romney are shooting themselves in the foot. They simply don't know what they're giving up -- whether it's motivated by race or ideology or who knows what.