It’s easy to dismiss as an ageist gimmick, but GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s call for mental competency tests for elderly politicians really isn’t so unthinkable or unfair.

If state judges in Massachusetts are forced to retire at age 70, and state police at 65, why not force politicians 75 and older to prove they have the mental fitness to run for president or Congress, or control the most powerful position in state government?

What is the big deal giving presidential candidates competency tests? Or members of Congress or judges? It would be the new term limits.

Isn’t it a little scary if your president is not mentally competent? Think Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Haley’s proposal – while drawing criticism from pols like Bernie Sanders and Mike Pence – is a politically smart strategy because it highlights the age and mental competency of both 76-year-old Trump and 80-year-old Biden.

And evidence suggests there is some support for Haley’s proposal.

A bipartisan majority of voters believe presidential candidates should pass a mental competency test, though most don’t back Haley’s specific age of 75 as a threshold, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll.

Only 11% said presidential candidates should not have to pass such tests.

A majority of voters – both Democrats and Republicans – said a competency test for candidates past 75 is “not asking much” while one third said it would be “disrespectful.”

Disrespectful? When it comes to the safety and security of this country, who cares if it’s disrespectful?

You have to take competency tests for a lot of things – government, security, police require them, why shouldn’t politicians, especially those running for president? They put standards on so many positions but when it comes to the most powerful leaders of the country, there are no rules.

If you file a complaint against a motorist over 75 the RMV can investigate and take their driver’s license away if it determines mental incompetence.

So why not test a president that has nuclear capabilities? And why not test members of Congress who can declare war and control the purse strings of government? Don’t we want to make sure the person facing off against Vladimir Putin is mentally fit to handle it?

The average age of a member of the U.S. Senate is 64. A total of 15 senators – including 76-year-old Ed Markey, 89-year-olds Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, 81-year-old Bernie Sanders, 80-year-old Mitch McConnell, 78-year-old Angus King of Maine, and 75-year-old Mitt Romney. Sadly, Elizabeth Warren is just 73.

In the House, Haley’s plan would apply to people like 84-year-old Maxine Waters and 82-year-olds Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn.

In Massachusetts, 76-year-old House Speaker Ron Mariano would have to pass a mental competency test.

If they don’t like it, too bad.

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