Oh my:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “Iraq” on Monday when he apparently meant “Afghanistan”, adding to a string of mixed-up word choices that is giving ammunition to the opposition.

Just in the past three weeks, McCain has also mistaken “Somalia” for “Sudan,” and even football’s Green Bay Packers for the Pittsburgh Steelers. [!!!]

Ironically, the errors have been concentrated in what should be his area of expertise: foreign affairs.

McCain will turn 72 the day after Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) accepts his party’s nomination for president at the age of 47, calling new attention to the sensitive issue of McCain’s advanced age three days before the start of his own convention.

But McCain’s mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?

Voters, thinking about their own relatives, can be expected to scrutinize McCain’s debate performances for signs of slippage.

Every voter has a parent, grandparent or a friend whose mental acuity declined as they grew older.

Especially true if your last name is “McCain”.  John Cole thinks Democrats shouldn’t “go there” (as the kids are wont to say), and I suppose that’s true, because old people vote. It does raise the issue of what “making age an issue” would look like. Asking McCain to denounce every silly thing said by anyone over the age of 65? Wondering “what kind” of old person he is? Or if he is really an old person at all – he’s not really properly old, like 96 or 103 or something; he’s like a weird old-adult hybrid, a “half-elder” or a “semi-nior citizen”? Worrying about the peculiar old-folks’ church he goes to, and whether he is a secret druid? (Probably out of the question, as McCain doesn’t bother with church.) Or doctoring audio of his wife so it sounds like she’s whipping a crowd of radical retirees into an age-war frenzy by blaming all the world’s ills on “whipper-snappers”?  Or … mmm …. ahhh … huh?  Where was I going with this?  Who are you people?  I think you’re stealing from me!  I’m calling the police!  What’s the number for 911?

Still, dude’s old.