*Today’s post a little different than normal but it is something that really struck me. Stick with it and let me know what you think about this issue at the end. I’m geuinely interested!

There’s been a lot of talk lately over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s weight. As you might know, he was considering a run for the presidency but decided against it. In the weeks leading up to his announcement, much ado was made over the fact that he probably weighs well over 300 pounds.

He is certainly a hefty man. But, why oh why, did THAT matter when it came to leadership and competency? The truth is, it didn’t. And, imagine the uproar if we were talking about a WOMAN! Double standard city.

Another politician whose looks were debated

Aside from health-related concerns, no one should have said a word. Just as Sarah Palin’s “hotness” shouldn’t have been discussed when she was in the game. Sadly, most of the chatter was about his lack of self-control. How would that translate into the presidency, bewildered underweight TV commentators asked? They failed to recognize that self-control does not solely resonate in portion selection size.

As Frank Bruni of the New York Times points out
, President Clinton has struggled with his weight to a lesser degree and President Obama is still addicted to cigarettes. Who knows what kind of issues our national leaders struggle with behind closed doors? We all have our vices and issues with self-control. Being fat just happens to be rather visible.

Bruni writes:

When I listen to the talk around me, I detect more sympathy for smokers or alcoholics than for overeaters, though the latter are in the grip of a similarly compulsive and perhaps addictive behavior, one with a twist that can make it even harder to control. It can’t be quit entirely. Cold turkey isn’t an option.

The issues struck a nerve because as someone who has struggled with various eating disorder issues for years, I can relate. Christie or any other public figure shouldn’t be mocked or judged by their appearance.

Luckily, the guy has a thick skin and has even admitted to thinking many of the fat jokes on late night TV were funny. However, why was it a question of his leadership? America doesn’t want a fat President? But, what about lying womanizer who seduces interns? Fat is the least of qualities we should be concerned with. I love what Bruni says here:

The thinness that I managed in college didn’t reflect laudable self-control. It reflected bulimia and laxatives. My borderline obesity in my mid-30s wasn’t a sign of indolence and drift. Professionally, I was working harder and more reliably than ever.

And my sustained anguish over my waistline and tortured efforts to regulate it bespoke a kind of shallowness and vanity that I’m not looking for in politicians. It seems too prevalent among them already. I’d prefer a big fat president, governor or senator to one who’s constantly darting behind closed doors for a makeup touch-up or posing at a predetermined flattering angle for the C-Span camera. Ever been to the Capitol? 

Oh so true, Mr. Bruni. Having worked on Capitol Hill, I’ve seen the vanity and the arrogance of many a political leader. Why the obsession with Chris Christie’s weight? People were trying to read into what his weight said about his character. The problem here is, the two are unrelated.


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