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According to a recent (unscientific) poll, 20 percent of Americans wouldn't vote for Chris Christie for president simply because he's fat. Even big fans of the NJ governor despair of his chances at the presidency because they think his rotundity will lose him too many votes from people repelled by his appearance or concerned about the implications of his weight on his health.

But is it true that a fat man can't win the presidency?

Many people didn't expect to see an African-American president in their lifetime. A woman has become Speaker of the House. A Mormon is the on-again off-again front-runner in the GOP presidential primary. All kinds of artificial barriers are falling. Perhaps the next prejudice to fall should be the one against crude, bullying fat men.

Paul Campos points out that Christie's weight could actually help him, in a couple of ways, particularly in the GOP primaries:

In the context of contemporary American politics, an unapologetically fat body, at least a fat male body (again, it should be obvious that putting 50 pounds on Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin would instantly destroy their presidential aspirations), could well function as a kind of symbolic flipping off of the endlessly intrusive nanny state, so despised by both libertarians and cultural conservatives.... [T]o take advantage of this sentiment he has to stop being a “good” fat person—that is, he needs to become unapologetic about his body, rather than putting on the shame-ridden performance expected of fat people by the health police.

He seems smart enough to want to stay out of the 2012 race, but it will be interesting to see how this factor plays out if he runs in 2016. Maybe he'll pull a Huckabee before then and slim down. If not, I can't see it being overtly any kind of significant issue. But as an unspoken one, I think overall it would be a big plus for him. It would have a perverse appeal for the Tea Party crowd, who seem to want to go against the grain of things just for the hell of it. They'd love nothing more than a symbolic repudiation of Michelle's vegetable garden and the model of healthy and sensible eating habits it represents, because the most important thing is poking a finger in the eye of liberal sensibilities, no matter how worthy and common-sense they are.

I think his weight would actually be a plus for him because, with 34 percent of Americans now obese, he could run as a true everyman, at least in pant size.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Have you noticed the average weight (0+ / 0-)

    difference between liberals and conservatives?

    Now that would be something daring to write about.

    •  We see (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Bill W

      what we want to see. Without actual data that sounds like it would be just an exercise in straight-up prejudice. And many of the white working class who make up the GOP's conservative base these days are poor, and poverty is a big factor in obesity.

    •  It's more an issue of policy than of individuals. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      There are lots of very broad correlations - "Red" states tend to have higher obesity rates, lower annual incomes/educational achievement, higher percentage of uninsured, and are net receivers in Federal redistribution of national wealth, in large part because of all of the above.

      Puts a different twist on the whole idea of "states as the laboratories" of political/social/economic experimentation.  And we turn out to be the lab rats they experiment on.

       

      I'm one of those lucky homos in a bi-national relationship - at the age of 49, all I had to do was give up my career, leave behind my dying father, my aging, diabetic mother, my family & friends and move to the Netherlands. Easy peasey!

      by aggieric on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 12:55:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I haven't noticed it. (0+ / 0-)

      I've seen data showing that obesity is more prevalent among low-income, less educated, and minority populations.  Certainly three groups that would be better off under Democratic policies.  Which is why I try to convince folks here to lay off the fat-bashing.

  •  "You can never be too rich or too thin" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuetheRedWA

    There is a huge difference between poor/obese people and Christie.  He can afford not to be obese, he can afford to buy healthy foods that won't make him obese.  He just over eats and his body type is that of a heart just waiting for an attack.  That said, we reelected a man who exhibited signs of dementia during his fist term, so who knows?  Maybe in 2012, fat will be in.

  •  It's not the fat that makes Christie unattractive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coconutjones

    as a presidential candidate.

    It's the huge a**hole part.

    ----- GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

    by JimWilson on Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 07:41:56 AM PDT

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