John McCain learned that lesson today at the hands of a high-school assembly in Concord, New Hampshire.
First, he came out treating the whole thing like a joke - failing to remember that a whole bunch of them will be old enough to vote in the next presidential election. When one of the students quizzed him about his age and his conservatism, rather than address the issue, McCain responded "Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You're drafted."
It did not get easier for Mad Jack from there. The kids pressed him hard on the environment, civil liberties and gay marriage, and at each turn, the chasm between the kids and the codger grew wider.
But this exchange on gay marriage was hands down a stake through the heart of the Candidacy That Wouldn't Die:
Student: “Do you support civil unions or gay marriage?”Game, set, and match to the future.
McCain: “I do not. I think that they impinge on the status and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Student: “So you believe in taking away someone’s rights because you believe it’s wrong?”
McCain: “I wouldn’t put that interpretation on my position, but I understand yours.” […]
Student: “I came here looking to see a leader. I don’t.”