(A fictional exchange of letters with President Taft)
Dear President Taft,
I am writing to you because I am certain that you are the one president that will completely understand and be empathetic with my political plight. We are both Republicans from different centuries without many political commonalities. What we do share in common is our weight and the endless public ridicule. Like you, I am outspoken about it and can dish-it-out as well as take it back. However, I am considering a presidential run and “weighing” my strengths and weaknesses. You were quite able to get elected despite the public disdain for your size. My question to you is and I will paraphrase what many in the media have said: Is Chris Christie too fat to be president?
I appeal to your wisdom in this sensitive matter.
|Dear Governor, From my vantage point, I continue to maintain a keen interest in politics. I have, indeed, taken a special interest in your career and aspirations because of the very outrageous fortune that we both share. I was dogged about my size for a lifetime and now beyond. The piercing arrows of derision followed me right into the White House where I gained 100 pounds or so and became even more of a target. Like you, I was masterful in foiling their jabs with self-deprecating humor. But we both know those moments, alone, when a little tear lets us down and spoils our act as a clown. Is Chris Christie Too Fat To Be President?
To answer your question, “is Chris Christie too fat to be president?”: The constitution is clear about the requirements to become president and size is not a requisite. The important question you truly want answered is, will the disdain that many of the electorate have for what your generation has termed obesity, bias their votes? Now, lets weigh your chances of becoming President.
Despite my size, I had an easy victory. I was endorsed by the very popular Theodore Roosevelt who just completed two terms as president. Governor, should you get the republican nomination, you will not have the advantage of the strong support of a most popular two-term incumbent. When I did secure the nomination and upon my wife’s urging, I retreated to a resort to lose weight (sound familiar?) I stayed for 3 months and lost thirty pounds (which I quickly found again once I was in the White House.) Needless to say, I hated campaigning and I depended heavily upon Roosevelt to do my bidding. Whenever able, I ducked photographers and minimized my personal appearances and speeches. Our campaign stories and speeches were chronicled with words that were reprinted in daily newspapers throughout the country. Even radio had not yet become an American staple.I did not campaign in an electronic age where our stories were told with vivid moving pictures, in living color and instantly and continually scattered about the world. You, Governor, will be a most visible candidate and an easy target for the media and a public that worships fitness and abhors the likes of us. You are experiencing it now and you haven’t even officially declared. The humiliation and stigma that I faced and often hid from is seemingly more omnipresent in your time than mine … but, you will have no place to hide. Let’s look at the facts.Preceding my presidency, at least five presidents were obese. A century has passed since I occupied the White House and there have been 17 presidents. None have been obese. I was the last. Just look at how your last election sized up. Obama; 6’1″ 180 lbs. with a BMI of 23.7 vs. Romney; 6’1.5″ 184lbs with a BMI of 23.9.
The thought of surrendering to injustice is appalling to me but if you want to appeal to that biased crowd that can tip-the-scales in your favor, my advice is, and I beg your forgiveness for it, pledge and then lose 100 pounds. The politically incorrect question truly is not “do you want to be right or president?” but rather “do you want to be fat or president?”
Most presidents get into the White House before they asked to fulfill their campaign pledges. Fulfilling the new “American Dream” and prized pledge of weight reduction prior to the election, and the confluence of your popularity and accomplishments will surely win the hearts, minds and votes of the majority. (By the way, you will be in good company should you not be able to maintain a campaign pledge after the election.)
More importantly, you could be the president that furthers the Reverend King’s dream to live in a nation where we are judged by the ìcontent of our character and not by a number on a scale.