Four-year mortality for a man McCain’s age: 15%.

Let’s do a little arithmetic, shall we?

Here are the mortality tables from the Social Security Administration.

And here’s what they say:

Of 100 male children born alive, 67 will survive to age 72.

Of those 67, 57 will survive to age 76.

That’s a mortality rate of 10/67 = 14.9%

Right. If John McCain were in average health, and not preparing to take an extremely strenuous job, there would be between one chance in six and one chance in seven of his not surviving to the end of his first term. And “not surviving” in this case means putting into the oval office someone whose total national security credentials consist of a year and a half as the titular head of the Alaska National Guard.

What was that again about putting country first?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: