Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why Chris Christie's Weight not an Issue for Republicans

In 2009 President Obama picked Dr. Regina Benjamin for the job of Surgeon General in his administration. Immediately, there was a flurry of online posts about her weight raising questions such as Is she too fat to be Surgeon General. The conversation and direct attacks on her person went on and on with the right wing media leading the charge.

Today we hear that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is about to make the decision regarding his entrance into the Presidential race. His decision is said to be imminent and the blogs and news articles about him being ‘too fat” are coming at a furious rate. However, I like the take that although there are some who would view Christie’s weight as a negative, the fact that he is a man with power could help him with some constituencies. Paul Campos in his article title Lay off Christie’s Weight! It Just Might Help his chances makes this interesting argument.

“…Fatness in general is considered bad—and to some extent feminizing—but it is a more complex characteristic in men, and especially powerful men, than it is among women. While it’s true that it is bad for a man to be fat, it is unquestionably good for a man—and most especially a socially powerful man—to bebig. Our language encodes this judgment in countless ways: For leadership we look to the big man, the man of substance, the heavyweight contender, the man who can throw his weight around, and so on. In this sense, Corzine’s ad mocking Christie was inadvertently reminding viewers of a powerfully positive characteristic of his opponent. Indeed, I would venture to guess that a short, slim man who wanted to run for president would face more difficulties in regard to the cosmetics of power than Christie…”

The attitude of the Republican Primary voter might also help Christie, Campos noted. Why? Because they are in a mood to go against anything “the nanny state” tells them. According to him, “…could well function as a kind of symbolic flipping off of the endlessly intrusive nanny state, so despised by both libertarians and cultural conservatives….”

Once again it appears that the Republicans are set to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand they wereadamantly against President Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General but there is a possibility that they would accept Christie, even though he has “liberal views” and is "fat".

This is a contradiction but it might not matter to them because they are looking for someone who can knock Obama out of office with a hard punch. Chris Christie apparently fits this bill because he is bombastic and says what he feels. They like that more than anything else.

“…“There’s an insatiable appetite in the Republican Party for a strong fighter, and Chris Christie fits that bill perfectly,’’ said GOP consultant Phil Musser, a former Tim Pawlenty campaign adviser. “Republicans want someone who can go toe-to-toe with Obama. The level of frustration out there lines up well with someone like Christie, who tells it to you straight… .’’

Like Campos says in his article “the contemporary politics of fat are too complicated to draw that judgment”. Even though many might think this country would never nominate a fat President the hunger out there for something/anything different is real: just like it was real when we elected an African-American man by the name of Barack Hussein Obama.

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