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Chris Christie's waistline, Marco Rubio's hairline, and our raging obsession with superficiality
The Week ^ | 02/10/2013 | Matt K. Lewis

Posted on 02/10/2013 7:53:51 PM PST by SeekAndFind

I t's time to talk about the way our politicians look.

Maybe such superficialities shouldn't matter. But fact is, they do. In the modern era, it's pretty clear that when it comes to the White House, we don't elect bald men, short men, men with beards, men with glasses, or (since Taft) fat men.

This is unfair, but it's also reality. And it's something to consider when we examine potential 2016 contenders.

Let's start with Chris Christie, who has been in the news this week for his weight.

It all started when a doctor publicly expressed fears that Christie, whom the doctor hadn't even examined, might die in office. It was clearly inappropriate for her to make such a declaration. And yet, I think I'm safe in saying that Chris Christie's weight would be an optics challenge if he does run.

It isn't a matter of someone being a few pounds over weight. Christie isn't just fat — he's really fat. (The extent of his girth is often hidden by podiums and tight camera shots, but that won't be the case if he runs for president.)

Consider this question: Would a fat Mike Huckabee have done so well in the 2008 Republican primaries? I think not.

Christie — if he wants to run for president — should lose 100 pounds. (Easier said than done, I know.) Many Americans are biased against the obese — and expect their politicians and celebrities to cut dashing figures. This is not fair, but it is true. Christie's odds of becoming president will greatly increase with every pound he sheds.

And then there's Marco Rubio's receding hairline. There's nothing uncommon about this. Aside from Paul Ryan, few of us have the hairline we once did. But one suspects this could hit Rubio especially hard, since at least some of his appeal is based on image.

Rubio represents the hopes and dreams of a new generation of leaders. He is handsome, young, and Latino. He physically embodies the desire for a new, 21st century brand of conservatism.

This is also why Rubio has to run for president in 2016 — and not a minute later. Yes, he's smart and eloquent, to be sure. But would a balding Marco Rubio — one who has been in the Senate for a dozen years — be such a compelling national candidate?

Lastly, let's turn to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Remember his widely derided response to the State of the Union a few years ago? His delivery reminded a lot of people of Kenneth the page from 30 Rock.

It's hard to pinpoint the problem, but my guess is it might have something to do with the dichotomy between Jindal's looks and his voice. Simply put, his southern accent doesn't match what one might stereotypically expect to come out of an Indian-American's mouth. It may be that the southern thing doesn't travel well — or that some people viscerally feel it's inauthentic (even if it's not).

Ironically, some of these attributes are double-edged swords.

For instance, Jindal's southern accent probably helped him win over some conservative Louisiana voters. And in Christie's case, there is a sort of "everyman" quality that we subliminally associate with hefty guys.

From Chris Farley to Kevin James to Jonah Hill, we often find fat fellas to be funny, likeable, non-threatening — and probably more trustworthy. Christie's girth hurts him in many ways — but it also has this baked-in benefit.

Look, my focus here has been admittedly superficial. I'm not saying this is the way our politics should work — only that it does work this way. And I should acknowledge also my own hypocrisy, since being fat and balding are generally prerequisites to becoming a political writer.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: chrischristie; marcorubio; superficiality

1 posted on 02/10/2013 7:53:58 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Actually I could not care less what they look like, I just think they are wrong for the country


2 posted on 02/10/2013 7:55:09 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: SeekAndFind

I remember when women voted for Clinton because they thought he was handsome. ***RALPH***

Sometimes I’m ashamed to admit I’m female.


3 posted on 02/10/2013 7:59:04 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: fatnotlazy

RE: I remember when women voted for Clinton because they thought he was handsome. ***RALPH***

And when I was much younger, I wanted to be as attractive as Rock Hudson... YIKES !!


4 posted on 02/10/2013 8:00:49 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

And Hillary is the odds on favorite for 2016?


5 posted on 02/10/2013 8:05:09 PM PST by Tex-Con-Man (<-------currently working through post-election anger issues.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Alas, my “gaydar” failed miserably when it came to Rock Hudson. A shame about him. But I guess it reminded me to never judge a book by its cover.


6 posted on 02/10/2013 8:08:57 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: SeekAndFind

I like Chris Christie. I think he would do a lot of good for himself and the country if he repeated the Huckabee act and walked around the state of New Jersey talking with the folks and followed that with a walk to D.C. to present a summation of his discussions to the occupant of the White Hut, cameras in tow of course.


7 posted on 02/10/2013 8:18:13 PM PST by Rembrandt (Part of the 51% who pay Federal taxes)
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To: SeekAndFind

The nation put a dangerous, lying moron in the White House because of the color of his skin.


8 posted on 02/10/2013 8:19:50 PM PST by Psycho_Bunny (Thought Puzzle: Describe Islam without using the phrase "mental disorder" more than four times.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Christie is borderline morbidly obese. He has a greater than 50-50 chance of dying of a heart attack or stroke. So it’s not about looks. (But I guess a super-fat guy is real “authentic” or something, so there’s that.)


9 posted on 02/10/2013 8:22:59 PM PST by BCrago66
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To: SeekAndFind

oh yeah, Barney Frank is real dashing..........


10 posted on 02/10/2013 8:30:14 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ll be voting for Sarah Palin. The rest of you folks can support anyone you want..... I don’t care if you support a chicken pot pie this time around, my vote will be cast for Palin.


11 posted on 02/10/2013 8:31:14 PM PST by Gator113 ( REGISTER THE DAMN LIBERALS and leave my guns alone!!)
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To: BCrago66
Christie is borderline morbidly obese.

I have to disagree with you. Gov. Christie is certainly morbidly obese. He's huge. I'm not making any opinion on his policy, but as someone said, "he needs to lose 100 pounds", but that just gets him to borderline IMHO. From the pics I have seen, 200 pounds + would be closer to the mark.

12 posted on 02/10/2013 8:39:19 PM PST by lafroste
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, it’s a real good idea to elect a guy who could drop dead at any minute with a massive coronary.


13 posted on 02/10/2013 8:41:53 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

any guesses as to what obama’s weight is


14 posted on 02/10/2013 8:55:18 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk
"any guesses as to what obama’s weight is"

No, but cigarette smoking and morbid obesity are associated with very similar rates of excess mortality. I don't remember the MSM harping on Obama's smoking, and expressing concern that he might die in office. Why is that?

15 posted on 02/10/2013 9:05:02 PM PST by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: yldstrk

any guesses as to what obama’s weight is”

About 60-70 pounds less than Moochelle’s.


16 posted on 02/10/2013 9:05:53 PM PST by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: Sooth2222

the MSM has not said anything about Obama’s smoking and possible health issues because he’s liberal. The MSM will cover up anything and everything that would reflect badly on Obama.

But since Chris Christie is an “evil” Republican, the reverse is true, and anything and everything about potential health problems will be discussed ad nauseum.


17 posted on 02/10/2013 9:15:48 PM PST by Dilbert San Diego
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To: Rembrandt

might lose a couple pounds too.


18 posted on 02/10/2013 9:40:47 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: BCrago66

Cleveland and Taft were as big and they both lived to be older than 65. Long-lived for their times. TR, whom so many associate with “vigor,” was also hefty. JFK, by contrast, was a medical “mess.” probably the most unhealthy man ever to be elected President, even though he looked good.


19 posted on 02/10/2013 10:05:10 PM PST by RobbyS (Christus rex.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Hannity is good looking, has great hair, can communicate, has come out against obama's connections hard since far before the 08 election, is consistently pretty Conservative and has a very good smile and likability quotient. I know he is far from perfect, but much of his seeming lacks may be contributed to his having to tow the Fox News line. He would get much of the Fox vote, and much of the vote of people who aren't leftist who hate Fox. I would guess that he is pretty squeaky clean because if he wasn't the left would have flayed and quartered him long ago.

A while back I had a dream out of the blue that he was President and things were going much better than we would have ever guessed they could have been going, at least for a long, long time. I had this dream when I in myself would never have imagined him as President in my wildest thoughts, nor would I say I was a huge fan of his either, not really having many thoughts about him. The dream seemed like it may have been prophetic. I am not saying that it was prophetic for sure, but I have had dreams that seemed prophetic that came true before. Well time will tell if this one was. I know many freepers cannot stand Hannity, but if it is meant to be, it will happen. On the other hand it could have just been a strange dream, The LORD knows.

20 posted on 02/10/2013 10:25:51 PM PST by Bellflower (The LORD is Holy, separated from all sin, perfect, righteous, high and lifted up.)
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To: SeekAndFind
He is handsome, young, and Latino

and also ineligible, along with Jindal. Yes, Christie is obese and not at ALL someone I would want as POTUS but at least as far as I know he's eligible.

21 posted on 02/10/2013 11:22:05 PM PST by ASouthernGrl (BHO sucks - literally or metaphorically, you decide.)
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To: fatnotlazy
Sometimes I’m ashamed to admit I’m female.I feel the same a lot these days.
22 posted on 02/10/2013 11:44:28 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: Bellflower

Hannity is not my all time favourite, but I would take him as Prez...and Mark Levin on the Supreme Court.


23 posted on 02/10/2013 11:46:31 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: SeekAndFind
It isn't a matter of someone being a few pounds over weight.

That didn't apply to Rush Limbaugh, did it?

24 posted on 02/11/2013 2:58:36 AM PST by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: SeekAndFind

A simple hair transplant would restore Rubio’s hairline once it started to recede more. Witness O’Reilly and Larry Kudlow, among others. Their transplants, being more recent, are natural and undetectable, compared to, say, Schumer’s and Biden’s.


25 posted on 02/11/2013 5:12:25 AM PST by Salvey
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To: Bellflower
Hannity is good looking, has great hair, can communicate,,,,

Oh great. I hope hannity doesn't read this. His personal mirror already has enough lip imprints.
26 posted on 02/11/2013 9:56:46 AM PST by crosshairs (All we are saying, is give a high cap piece a chance.)
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