At first, I thought it was a joke: Leading Republican operatives are trying to sell the idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton is too old to be president.

Really? This from a party that deifies Ronald Reagan, a man who was older when he took office than Clinton will be in 2017.

But, there it is. Karl Rove, who is three years younger than Clinton, says he is at the tail end of her generation. Mitch McConnell compared her to the “Golden Girls” of television fame. Rush Limbaugh showed his usual class in warning that the American public wouldn’t want to watch her age before its very eyes (though we’ve been doing just that since 1992 and Clinton is currently the most popular she's been, you get the picture).

I guess the Republicans think this makes sense. It certainly fits into their apparent game plan of alienating everyone in America except angry white men.

The “Party of Lincoln” now gets about 2 percent of the African-American vote and its response is to pass all sorts of voter identification laws which have the sole aim of preventing as many black voters as possible from actually voting.

Wherever Republicans have control of state Legislatures they are using their power to enact bizarre abortion restrictions which are unlikely to actually prevent any abortions, but which certainly tell young women that Republicans are on their side.

My personal favorites are the ones that require abortion clinics to have hospital affiliation agreements and then forbid hospitals to sign such agreements.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but there was a time when even the most conservative Republicans agreed that abortions might be acceptable in cases of rape or incest or when a mother’s life was in danger. Ah, those good old naive, wishy-washy days.

Now, we want to force young women to give birth to any child she conceives, no matter what the circumstances. Once that child is born, of course, good luck for getting it medical care.

So, if you are a political party that alienates blacks, Latinos and young women, who is left?

Why, older women, of course. We don’t know whether Hillary Clinton will actually run for president or not, but we do know that Republicans are touting the idea that a 69-year-old former Secretary of State -- unlike a 69-year-old former California governor -- is too creaky to run the country.

What we seem to have here is a major political party that controls the machinery of state governments across the nation, most tragically here in Wisconsin, that seems intent on using its power only to beat up on people who don’t have power.

I doubt that this will last forever, but it is ugly as it lasts.