Saturday, June 02, 2007

who needs a fat president?

Maybe we do. The WaPo's Richard Cohen writes of the current crop of candidates, their weighty issues, and how fat is increasingly viewed as a moral issue. Who would you prefer: Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt or George Bush? One of two fat boys? Or a trim, athletic monomaniacal conscienceless dictator?

The sum total of pounds lost in the great cause of democracy has now clearly exceeded 150. Mike Huckabee's down about 110, Bill Richardson's down more than 30, Rudy's looking trim and, as pundits galore have told us, if Al Gore sheds more than a pound and a half, it will be universally taken as a declaration of candidacy.

What Winston Churchill would make of this I cannot say. He might reach for yet another drink.The great American pastime is not baseball, but moral crusades. This accounts for why we once made booze illegal, why we continue to make war on all drugs, and why now we have turned to obesity – morbid obesity, as it is sometimes morbidly called. . . .

This explains why a presidential candidate must be trim. To be overweight, even pleasantly so, suggests a lack of self-discipline. That, of course, is utter nonsense, the previous president being an example of all such. Bill Clinton went on his daily jog, more or less maintained his weight, and yet strayed morally in ways that two entire congressional committees and a special prosecutor documented for no really good reason. Maybe Mr. Clinton should have stayed fat. . . .

But the aforementioned Churchill smoked, drank and was overweight. Teddy Roosevelt, a remarkable president, was a wee 5-feet-8 and weighed about 200 pounds. Helmut Kohl, the former German chancellor who presided over the peaceful reunification of his country, favored a dish called saumagen – pig's stomach stuffed with lard. His tenure was the longest of any chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, hardly a skinny himself.

I recognize, of course, that for most of us willpower is what we sadly lack, and nothing in our genes commands pasta instead of veggies. But I would still choose a TR or a Churchill over the trim President Bush any day. And I would point out that Mr. Gore, overweight though he may be, was right about Iraq and global warming.

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Anonymous Brion. said...

one of the BEST Prime Ministers we've ever had here in NZ, was on the slightly LARGE size (David Lange). He did have the 'stomach staple' fairly late in his 'innings' tho!


June 02, 2007 10:08 PM  
Blogger ~Jen~ said...

I'd take Big Bird over the current clown in the White House. That's a fact jack. ;)

June 03, 2007 1:38 AM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I had not really thought about it, but maybe you need the extra weight to have moral fiber. We could use Teddy now. He was a Republican but he also was a serious reformer who pulled the teeth of big business and broke up the monopolies. He, like his cousin Franklin, was considered a traitor to his class by championing the working people of this country. Sadly, we had that clown Ronnie Reagan for a president and he was allowed to decontrol businesses and banks. I'd vote for some tub, if I thought they had the guts to wrest control from these ultra conservatives and religious extremists and return the republic.

June 03, 2007 4:59 AM  
Blogger Andrea K said...

I'd rather have a president who focused on improving domestic and international issues rather than worrying about his waistline. But that's just me.

June 03, 2007 6:14 AM  

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