By Chris Queen at PJ Media
Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? The chocolate chip cookie is such an American classic that it seems like it’s been around forever, but you might be shocked to learn that a few members of Congress have been around even longer.
The chocolate chip cookie has an interesting origin story. Ruth Graves Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass., had heard about some cooks doing experiments with chocolate, which chefs had primarily served melted prior to that time. She and the inn’s chef, Sue Brides, chopped up a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar and put the pieces into a cookie mixture. The rest is culinary history — and now you know where the Nestlé Toll House branding comes from.
The first Toll House cookbook came out in 1936, but the second edition from 1938 is the first appearance of the original chocolate chip cookie recipe (by the way, Wakefield intended the cookies to be crispy), so we’ll use 1938 as our threshold for looking at which federal legislators are older than chocolate chip cookies.
For starters, four senators predate the chocolate chip cookie:
That’s right: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) were all born before the chocolate chip cookie was. The average age of senators is 63, according to Fiscal Note.
But if you look at members of the House of Representatives, you’ll find a few more older-than-chocolate-chip-cookies folks.
Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) all made their entry into this world before Wakefield and Brides debuted the chocolate chip cookie. Rep. Maxine Waters (R-Calif.) is a toss-up, with a birthdate of Aug. 15, 1938, so we might as well count her in this illustrious company. Fiscal Note puts the average age of House members at 58.
I also checked the ages of state governors throughout the United States, and none of them predates the chocolate chip cookie. But to put things in a different perspective, there are 25 members of the House, 11 senators, and one governor who are too old for the epithet, “OK Boomer.”
Looking at these brief lists, it’s interesting that Republicans have more senators of such advanced age, while House members born in 1938 or earlier are mostly Democrats. But average ages for both parties in both houses of Congress are roughly the same.
But when it comes to leadership, the Democrats’ standard-bearers are slightly older.
Add to this the fact that Joe Biden is the oldest president at the time of his inauguration by far. Jimmy Carter expressed his doubts in 2019 about whether someone as old as Joe Biden should run for president.
“I hope there’s an age limit…” he said. “If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president.”
(These days, Carter might not mind Biden taking the mantle of the worst president in modern memory off of him.)
It’s reasonable to wonder if there should be some sort of age limit for serving in public office. According to a YouGov survey from January of this year, a majority of Americans believe that an age limit is a good idea.
“More than half (58%) of Americans say that there should be a maximum age limit, while 21% say there should not be,” reports data analyst Taylor Orth. “Republicans (64%) are slightly more likely than Democrats (57%) and Independents (60%) to say there should be a maximum age requirement.”
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