Mike Kueber's Blog

September 30, 2011

Chris Christie’s weight problem

Filed under: Issues,Media,People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 1:51 pm
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As I mentioned in my blog a few days ago, my conservative drinking friend believes that Chris Christie is too fat to win the Republican nomination.  That kind of thinking has been around ever since Kennedy was perceived as winning his debates with Nixon because of his physical attractiveness.  Radio listeners thought Nixon had won the debates, which led to the joke still in play today – John Doe has a great face for radio.  It is also the conventional wisdom that Lincoln would never have been elected in 1860 if his facial ugliness was more prominent in the campaign.

Chris Christie looks fine from the neck up, but he is undeniably obese.  Most news reports put his weight north of 300 pounds on a 5’11” body.  The only one other president who was similarly afflicted was William Howard Taft, who was president from 1909 to 1913.  Like Christie, Taft’s weight vacillated greatly as he struggled with his weight.

Washington Post columnist Eugen Robinson recently wrote about Christie’s weight problem, but he surprisingly chose to focus on issues other than how the electorate reacts to attractiveness.  Instead he argued that Christie needs to lose weight because he won’t be able to perform the obligations of the presidency at his highest level if he is carrying too much weight.

That’s an interesting argument.  Leading America is a critical role, and we should have a right to expect all candidates to be at the top of their game.  But how important is physical health?  Franklin Roosevelt is generally considered to be one of our top-ten presidents even though he was afflicted with severe ailments.

I think being an overweight president is different than being an overweight athlete.  Presidents operate from the neck up, and Christie is fine there.