A Big, Fat Political Mistake

Why Jon Corzine should have left obesity out of the New Jersey governor’s race

I have seen the future of American politics, and it is big. Big and fat.

You can get a glimpse of it in the New Jersey governor's race, which pits the slim, distance-running, Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine against Republican Chris Christie, who is built for comfort, not for speed. Corzine ran a TV ad accusing the challenger of "throwing his weight around" to beat traffic tickets, accompanied by footage that did not attempt to conceal Christie's bulk.

"Mr. Corzine's campaign is calling attention to his rival's corpulence in increasingly overt ways," reported The New York Times a few weeks ago, noting that his "television commercials and Web videos feature unattractive images of Mr. Christie, sometimes shot from the side or backside, highlighting his heft, jowls and double chin." Meanwhile, Corzine has also made a point of taking part in 5- and 10-kilometer races every chance he gets.

For a while, Christie dealt with the insults in the classic manner of the overweight, gamely swallowing his embarrassment. "It's just part of who I am, unfortunately," he told The Times, while declining to state his current weight.

But the other day, he decided to confront his opponent. No, not by calling him bald, furry-faced, and four-eyed, all of which would be understandable retorts. No, he took the high road by daring Corzine to stop the sly digs and say what he's thinking outright. "If you're going to do it," said Christie, "at least man up and say I'm fat."

By then, though, it had dawned on Corzine that ridiculing excess heft is about as shrewd as naming Andre Agassi as your drug adviser. In an interview on CNN, the governor tried to contain any backlash by conceding that it might have been wise not to call attention to his opponent's bulk.

It may have also been shortsighted for Corzine to invite voters to ponder traffic violations, considering that he suffered severe injuries in a 2007 highway crash in his chauffeur-driven SUV, which had been clocked at 91 mph. Oh, and he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

But the really plus-sized mistake was undertaking to alienate the hordes of voters who are carrying extra pounds. Nationally, two out of every three adults are overweight or obese, and while New Jersey does a little better than average, that is not saying much. More New Jerseyans look like Christie than look like Corzine, and they probably don't like being ridiculed by proxy.

Politicians in or seeking major offices, of course, tend to be reasonably trim. We haven't had a barrel-shaped president since William Howard Taft, who weighed over 300 pounds. But a generous silhouette was never the presidential ideal. When one White House visitor met 260-lb. Grover Cleveland, the man blurted, "Well, you're a whopper!"

With more and more voters afflicted with weight problems, though, the political environment will probably become more accommodating to large candidates. Our standards of what is acceptable are changing. During last year's campaign, some voters even reacted to Barack Obama's lean physique by raising the question Walter Mondale asked about Gary Hart in the 1984 Democratic presidential race: "Where's the beef?"

The Sunday Times of London found it telling that after publicly declining a slice of cake, Obama lost the Pennsylvania primary. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd carped that he could lose votes for being "too prissy about food." Christie is immune to such political hazards.

In the old days, low-fat individuals could flatter themselves that they deserved credit for being that way. But it's now clear that obesity owes a lot to biology and environment. Some people are genetically prone to excess weight, and some are not.

Lots of heavy folks work very hard to lose weight, without success, or else lose it only to gain it back. Their bodies, hard-wired for famine survival, don't want to be skinny. Some people are thin because they eat sparsely and exercise fanatically, but most are just lucky. So New Jersey voters are probably not going to take Corzine's figure as a symptom of virtue.

In the future, given the changing shape of the electorate, a little extra flesh could be a political asset, if not a necessity. But regardless of who wins, I'm willing to bet this will be the last time a politician is rash enough to mock an opponent's weight. When Corzine raised that issue, he bit off more than he could chew.

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  • Suki||

    Are political ads going to continue to get dumber or does this go in cycles? I seriously would like to know from those who study these things.

  • ||

    You're interested in the findings of people who study political ads?

  • Untermensch||

    When Corzine raised that issue, he bit off more than he could chew.

    Best line of the article…

  • @||

    Then again, Chapman is just chewing the fat.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    My non-expert opinion is that they're going to get worse and worse. I'm hoping to live to see the outright and open hostility levels.

    "My opponent is willing to rape your dead toddler in front of you as his henchmen begin to burn you alive. Can you afford to trust him in office?

    Vote _____"

    I want to see that kind of political attack ad.

  • Warty||

    Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

    In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

    Holy fuck did it take me a long time to stop laughing at that one.

  • ||

    Racist.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's that kind of talk that lead the Founding Fathers to write the Fairness Doctrine into the Constitution.

  • Rich||

    Moreover, "he was raised, wholly on hoe-cake (made of course-ground Southern corn), bacon, and hominy, with an occasional change of fricasseed bullfrog, for which abominable reptiles he had acquired a taste during his residence among the French in Paris, to whom there could be no question he would sell his country at the first offer made to him cash down, should he be elected to fill the Presidential chair."

  • Homer||

    And these guys are really fat..So what do we do?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I've always said there should be a third chamber of Congress, whose members are apportioned among the several states based on the BMI of the population.

  • ||

    Quote: "Their bodies, hard-wired for famine survival, don't want to be skinny. Some people are thin because they eat sparsely and exercise fanatically, but most are just lucky."

    then why have we only been ridiculously fat as a nation starting in the last few decades? Are you saying genetics have changed that much with the baby boomers?

    I posit you don't know what you're talking about and should restrain yourself from wild statements while on an (potentially) influential soapbox.

    At a minimum, read Good Calories Bad Calories to get a basic education, although that book even missed the crucial role of vegetable oil in the problem.

  • ||

    Probably because our food distribution system became much more robust over the past few decades, and manual labor accounts for a far smaller share of employment than it used to. There were plenty of fat people in the old days too -- generally wealthy people who didn't have to do manual labor.

  • ||

    That doesn't account for all the fat kids. In elementary school in the '60s, maybe one or two kids out of 25 or 30 was fat. Now it's easily a quarter of them, or more.

  • ||

    There's something to this. In my family, I'm fat, my father's fatter, and my grandpa is somewhere in between. The big difference, though, is that I was a fat kid, while my father and grandfather were both stick skinny kids. This despite the fact that I wasn't allowed to eat anything with sugar in it until I was about 10. I think the big difference is just that previous generations of kids ran around a lot, and, at least in the case of my family, had to help with pretty hard chores (including lifting big linoleum tubes to help my grandpa). Kids now just don't get that sort of exercise, so they chub up quicker. I don't know how much it will matter for them as adults though; if anything I'll probably end up thinner than my dad as a middle aged man because I'm used to eating for a lower level of physical activity.

  • Mike.S||

    Vegetable oil, is it, Ed?

    Balderdash. It's calories, pure and simple.

    Throughout all but maybe the last 100 years of human history, the problem has been a tenuous daily adequacy of calories, acquired only through expensive, hard physical toil, in an environment that carried most of our ancestors off through disease or trauma before our third or fourth decade. Starvation has been the wolf at the door for much of humankind's tenure on the planet, and we evolved accordingly. "Live fast, die young"--Darwin would be so proud.

    Fast-forward a few thousand years--an eyeblink in evolutionary time scale. Most of do no hard physical labor, nor very much "hard" anything. And thanks to industrial-scale agriculture, food--at least in the developed world-- has never been cheaper or more abundant. Place into this high-input-low-output milieu creatures hard-wired to acquire and store energy, and to conserve it at all cost, and the result Is our current obesity epidemic.

    In this context, obesity-related diseases are nothing more than selection pressure which, over the next 100,000 years or so, would tend to refit the human population to the current environment of slothful abundance. It's just that the environment has changed must faster than human evolution is able to reconfigure us--even if we would allow selection pressures to bear upon us unchecked--and we have a previously unimagined ability to mitigate in the short term the effects of the changed environment (cardiac stents, anyone?) In essence, we are the dinosaurs just as the asteroid has struck the Yucatan, but we are able to delay the darkening of the sky.

    As for vegetable-oil calories vs. Snickers calories vs. tofu calories: source is irrelevant once some minimal daily threshold of protein, carbs, and fat is consumed. Anything above that is stored, mostly as fat. We're wired to love the taste and mouth-feel of fats because they're twice as energy dense as the other two; but energy is energy, whether it's eaten as not-in-our-'hood Whoppers or government-sanctioned bean curd.

  • Warty||

    Balderdash. It's calories, pure and simple.

    If that were true, Eskimos, who eat (or ate, maybe they're civilized now) nothing but blubbery seals, would be the fattest people on Earth and would die of heart disease at 20. But they're not. Or at least they weren't a hundred years ago, when a study I was reading about them was done.

    By comparison, the fattest and unhealthiest people in the country are the wretched inhabitants of Indian reservations. They pretty much survive on flour tortillas, sugar, and booze. And it's unlikely that their fatness is due to the amount they eat, since morbid obesity exists alongside horrible malnutrition in the same population.

    I don't buy that a calorie is a calorie. Try eating a meal of nothing but donuts and see how you feel.

  • ||

    Warty, I think what Mike.S means to say is that obesity is a matter of calories in > calories out.

    Going back to your Eskimo example, living in an Arctic environment takes a higher toll on the body calorie-wise than does living in the lower 48. Add to this the fact that stalking untold numbers of seals for a day or two only to kill one and be able to eat it is much more physically demanding than walking to the cupboard and opening up a bag of Doritos. The same is true for Native Americans in the lower 48, who no longer have to spend all day collecting acorns, grinding them with a massive mortar and pestle, and collecting firewood for baking when they want to eat flatbread.

    While you are correct that a calorie isn't a calorie, the correlation of morbid obesity with malnutrition does not equal causation. If you eat thousands of calories per day of the healthiest foods imaginable, yet do nothing to burn those excess calories, you will find yourself in BBW-ville.

  • Jordan||

    Exactly. If I take in 2000 calories per day and burn 2200 per day, I will lose weight. And eventually I will starve. It doesn't matter if it's 2000 calories of Twinkies or 2000 calories of the healthiest diet ever conceived.

  • Warty||

    It's tautological to say that obesity is a result of excess calorie consumption. You might as well say that alcoholism is a disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

    Imagine that there were a hormone that caused hunger. Furthermore, imagine that this hormone caused your fat cells to absorb the glucose and fatty acids in your bloodstream, causing fat gain. Now imagine that this hormone were released by eating certain things. You would wish to avoid that, correct? That's a rough approximation of what insulin does, and insulin is only released by your pancreas when you eat carbohydrates. Avoid excessive carbohydrates, and you won't get excessively fat. It's as simple as that.

    Furthermore, a calorie does not equal a calorie when it comes to hunger, either. 24oz of delicious fatty ribeye steak is approximately 2000 calories, about the same as a box of cookies. Have you ever eaten a pound and a half of steak at once? Most people feel sick and have to force themselves to finish. Now think of how easily stoners and lonely fat chicks can polish off an entire box of cookies. In other words, it's really hard to eat to excess if you're not eating sugar.

  • Warty||

    And, by extension, it's really hard to eat to excess if you're eating what we think of as "healthy" foods. Your body really wants to be the weight it is now, and you have to confuse all sorts of homeostatic mechanisms to gain or lose weight.

    Eating sugar or starch to stimulate insulin release is the easiest way to do this. There's a reason why bodybuilders eat huge plates of rice right after they work out, after all.

  • ||

    Still seems to me that the basic point is people get fat from taking in more calories than they burn. Some people may have to work harder to keep off or lose weight, and certainly what you eat plays a role. Chapman's statement struck me as saying most obese people are powerless victims of genetics and environment.

    It should be unsurprising that people perceive fat people as lacking of willpower and discipline, which would probably also be seen as a negative trait in a politician. Of course, skewering fatties is probably one of the least politically savvy things a candidate could do.

  • ||

    The best shape I've ever been in was when I spent two months in Central America. I was walking 3-6 miles a day and eating three meals of all the beans and rice I wanted. Occasionally we would get a treat and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or go into town and get ice cream. I lost about 20 pounds and felt great. Sugar and fat have also never tasted better in my life.

  • ||

    I used to believe the "calorie is a calorie" view, but I have come around to the carbohydrate does weird things view. I went low carb after being diagnosed pre-diabetic, and lost 20 pounds with no effort.
    I miss terribly donuts, bread, noodles - but eating essentially only meat and vegetables is not that much of a sacrifice. Oh, and I'm not hungry.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Mike, read the book Good Calories Bad Calories.

    I was just like you because the "a calorie is a calorie" meme fits in so well with our Newtonian view of the world. Then I read this book and it was a real eye opener.

    Don't worry, it won't force you to forgive the government (there is a lot of blame directed at them in the book).

    It is a very interesting book. It surprised me how much I thought I knew about nutrition was based on flawed studies.

  • Kroneborge||

    also this was a real eye opener to me too. I never thought about the omega's

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32.....rt_health/

  • ||

    A calorie is not a calorie. Leaving aside the issue of whether protein, carbs, and fats have different effects when metabolized, what are the foods people tend to pig out on, foods that override the satiety feedback mechanism? It's carbs, esp. refined carbs combined with fats. No one pigs out on protein-and-fat foods. Who eats a dozen eggs at one sitting, or two pounds of steak? But look how easy it is to eat a whole box of cookies or carton of ice cream.

  • ||

    Um, I have a counter example. I'm currently 5'8" and 165 lbs. I'm trying to reach 180 by Christmas. I drink a gallon of whole milk a day, I typically make eggs in batches of 7 or so (sometimes more than once a day), the other night I had a two pound steak (it was on sale), and I make chili with a pound of bacon, a pound of beef, and pound of stew meat (and it's gone within two days).

    But your point is noted. I have to make myself eat all this food, whereas that's not the case with most people and sugar.

  • ||

    I know what you mean. I usually eat a five or six-egg omelet for breakfast because it will keep me full until the early afternoon. I have to make myself eat the last few bites. OTOH if I had a few big bowls of cereal I'd be hungry again well before noon.

  • ||

    I'm currently 5'8" and 165 lbs. I'm trying to reach 180 by Christmas. I drink a gallon of whole milk a day, I typically make eggs in batches of 7 or so (sometimes more than once a day), the other night I had a two pound steak (it was on sale), and I make chili with a pound of bacon, a pound of beef, and pound of stew meat (and it's gone within two days).

    Don't take this personally, but I hate you and I hope you die.

  • ||

    I'm currently 5'8" and 165 lbs. I'm trying to reach 180 by Christmas.

    Umm... why?

  • ||

    To fit the Santa Claus suit. Duh.

  • Warty||

    I hope you're lifting weights, too. Otherwise you're just wasting money on food.

  • Sue||

    I'd be curious to know if the weight you're putting on is primarily fat or muscle. Although it sounds like your calorie ratio is probably somewhere around 70% fat, 30% protein, if the actual number of grams of protein you're eating has increased from your previous way of eating, I'm thinking you might be putting on muscle weight and not flab. In which case, although it may look like all the food you're eating supports the calorie in, calorie out theory, very few people would be upset at weighing more while keeping or reducing their body size. People need to focus more on whether weight loss is fat loss.

  • ||

    Mike.S, really simple experiment then.

    Eat 100 grams of fructose/day (that's 200 grams of sugar, or ~800 calories from sugar) for four weeks.

    Then, for the next four weeks, eat zero sugar.

    That's pretty easy, that's what 8 cans of caffeine free coca-cola classic.

    Be sure to cut out 800 calories of "unhealthy" fat. In your theoretical world, you won't gain weight, because your caloric load will remain constant.

    What will happen is you will be on a crash course for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which causes whole-body insulin resistance. You will feel like crap, your body will store an excessive amount of fat in the liver and around your gut, you waist will grow, etc. You will feel hungry all the time. Your blood pressure will rise, your kidneys will decrease function, uric acid will increase in your bloodstream and you will be inching towards gout. Your triglyceride levels will rise. You will inch towards heart disease.

    Then when you reverse the fructose consumption (and resume eating those "unhealthy" fats to keep in caloric balance), your weight will magically drop. The fog will lift. You'll feel great, very quickly. All those bad things that started happening will unwind. The gout will go away, the pants will feel looser again.

    Try it. You're pretty confident I'm full of shit, after all a calorie is a calorie. Hormones don't matter, right? Prove me wrong :-)

    (ps what else causes liver damage besides fructose? omega-6 oils.)

  • prolefeed||

    The federal ag subsidies are partly to blame. If you make calories a lot cheaper than the market price, you're gonna cause a higher consumption of those calories.

    Now, if the government got entirely out of the business of regulating food, and eliminated all tariffs, it is possible that food calories might be even cheaper than they are now, what with market price Cuban sugar. But at least it wouldn't be obesity due to government screw-ups.

  • ||

    It's natural selection. Fat people who needed glasses used to be killed by the first jaguar that crossed their path, but now that we have achieved "civilized" society, people with such bad genes live on to perpetuate their genes. All sorts of traits that would lead to demise in the old days are going to become more and more commonplace.

  • ||

    Surfing the web all day with the hardest work being pressing the brake on your automatic transmission car after taking elevators to the second floor after having any and all food available at all times of the year at cheap prices could have nothing to do with obesity....

  • ||

    Corzine catches his opponent fixing traffic tickets, and all he can come up with is fat jokes?

    He deserves to lose for sheer incompetence.

    -jcr

  • ||

    1. The "chauffer-driven SUV" was actually a police vehicle with sirens on.

    2. Corzine paid the usual fine for failing to wear a seat belt afterwards.

    Not a fan of Corzine by any stretch, and I agree there was zero justification for having even a police vehicle going 90 mph on city streets just because the governor was in a hurry, but that story has zilch to do with traffic tickets.

  • ||

    Apparently, the BLOCKQUOTE tag gets you labeled as spam.

  • ||

    The point is that it's silly for Corzine to go after his opponent for behaving like he's above the law when he endangered himself and others when in a hurry. The fact that he paid the fine afterward, especially given that the story was all over the media and that he's a very well to do gentleman, doesn't prove much.

  • ||

    "Their bodies, hard-wired for famine survival, don't want to be skinny."

    Citation needed to prove genetic predisposition for being unhealthy...

  • ||

    James, nothing is unhealthier than being skinny when famine hits. So whether your genetic predisposition is unhealthy really is driven by environment.

  • ||

    I think the last "famine" we had in this country involved the dust bowl...

  • BigLiberty||

    Weight 77% heritable (which is about the same as height):

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/87/2/398

    Oh, and for those who are claiming we've gotten "so much fatter" as a nation, the BMI cutoffs have been changed two or three times since the 1970s, each time being revised downward (hence making people overweight and obese overnight). Here's an article about the 1998 BMI revision: http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/.....uidelines/

    There's also been, since the 1970s, a much greater rate of prescribing medications (psych, specifically) which have weight gain as a side effect. I can't link to it because of link restrictions here, but it can be Googled easily "medications side effect weight gain" --- see AP article.

    There just isn't any way to state with firm veracity that we are shaped the way we are shaped as a measure of our morality (which anti-fat attack ads, and most fatphobic rhetoric, claim). Besides, even if Christie was fat because he finds a few solid hours a day to chow on pure lard, how is that reflective of his ability to govern? Everyone has a hobby.

    Thanks to Reason.com for not going along with the popular, yet erroneous belief, that 2/3rds of the nation is fat largely due to dietary change or immorality (sloth, greed, &etc;).

  • ||

    I wish I knew about biology/genetics so that I could critique that study better.

    What worries me is that obesity is becoming more and more of a disease. As in, out of the individual's control.

    Yes, the BMI index has changed many times - and I agree it's a terrible tool to use. I'm not talking about the scientific line in the sand of what is technically "obese." I'm talking about generally unhealthy weight and lifestyle choices that lead to numerous health problems.

    "that 2/3rds of the nation is fat largely due to dietary change"

    I don't think this is so erroneous, though I don't think immorality is a cause.

    Look at the FDA. The organization is charge of farming subsidies as well as telling the American public exactly what "nutrition" is. Do you think there's a connection between massive federal corn subsidies and encouraging people to use ethanol products, corn syrup, etc, etc?

    When I grew up, the base of the food pyramid was grains. Nowadays, they suddenly realize that massive consumption of grains can lead to obesity, diabetes, and numerous other health issues.

    I just don't agree with the general trend that being of an unhealthy weight is something out of the individual's control. I realize that some people are more heavy set than others...heavy set does not mean of an unhealthy weight.

    And I never said it did reflect on his ability to govern. I was simply questioning the increasingly more popular conception that being of an unhealthy weight is strictly a genetic, i.e. I'm no longer responsible for the condition of my health, issue.

  • BigLiberty||

    I take issue with your "unhealthy weight" platitude. Even though weight is a risk factor (i.e., has been correlated, and often the correlations are relatively small compared to say, the relationship between smoking and lung cancer) for some diseases that are most strongly associated with genetics and age, the fact of the matter is that you cannot look at someone and know whether they are healthy or unhealthy, just right off the bat. And I don't consider statistical shots in the dark (since those statistics are generated as population studies) relevant to individual cases.

    Frankly, there are far too many counterexamples (and not just a few that prove the rule, as it were). Skinny people get Type II diabetes as well as fatter people, and there's a good deal of evidence that suggests in the period preceding out-and-out Type II weight gain is a symptom of impending diabetes, not that diabetes is *caused* by weight gain.

    If that were true, every fat person would have Type II diabetes, which is of course not true. And every skinny person wouldn't have it (which isn't true, either).

    Population studies are tricky things, and manipulating samples can turn a null study into something which shows a trend that confirms author or funder bias. The odds ratios are typically very small, and often obesity-related studies get reported as having positive findings when in fact, if you read the study, the trends are within the margin of error.

    One can't avoid the fact that the weight loss industry would like nothing better than for more and more Americans to be considered fat; in fact, many large pharmaceuticals with stakes in the game (developing weight loss drugs) fund these study that correlate fat to any number of diseases.

    The most telling research trend is that fat is being correlated more and more to what were up until recently considered diseases of aging (type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, some cancers). Note that people tend to gain weight from their thirties to their sixties, then waste. Also note that, with an aging population, more and more people are entering that weight gain stage of life. So you could observe a population trending fatter, when it actually linked to (amongst other things listed in my last response) a greater number of individuals who are getting older.

  • ||

    "you cannot look at someone and know whether they are healthy or unhealthy"

    You can tell whether a person is muscular or not. If I'm 250 lbs. at a height of 5'8" and it's not muscle, then I could stand to lose a few dozen lbs. You can't look at a person and predict the numbers from their blood work...but you can get a ballpark idea of who might enjoy being a few pounds lighter.

    "weight is a risk factor"

    This is all I'm saying. I took issue with the article's portrayal of weight as an inescapable tragedy.

    Those pills that are supposed to make people lose weight will never work on any consistent basis - mainly because the things that are worth doing are difficult, not easy.

    If a person wants to lose weight, there's going to be sweat and physical discomfort involved. No one ever traveled down hill to achieve a goal.

    Got a little off topic.

  • ||

    "mainly because the things that are worth doing are difficult, not easy."

    This sort of thing really bugs me. Getting the polio vaccine is easy and worth doing. Showering is easy and worth doing. Breathing is easy and worth doing. When you say that you don't see this as a moral issue but then you talk about how "no one ever traveled down hill to achieve a goal," it gives the distinct impression that you view fat people as those who are unwilling to handle sweat and discomfort, when many, many people with weight problems work very hard to get rid of the weight and can't find a way of doing it that doesn't involve being hungry all the time. If someone makes a pill that works, that would be great.

  • ||

    "hard-wired for famine" eh? So it's like, over the past 30 years, our bodies suddenly realized we had "less food than ever before in history" and needed to take on radical "survival techniques" to compensate for our previously non-obese tendencies during all those past centuries of plenty. I get it.

    But then do I vote for the fat guy, the mean guy, or that other guy whose name I can't remember? This doesn't help me figure that out at all.

  • Anomalous||

    A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

  • Rhywun||

    Fun article, but completely unhinged from the reality of Jersey politics. This guy Christie doesn't stand a chance.

  • creech||

    Agreed, Rhywun. Jersey GOPers I know think Christie has run a terrible race, never should have been the candidate in the first place. His ads are nothing but cliches and hollow promises. The "I'm not....." campaign may have worked for Obamessiah but New Jerseyans are "sold" (or have been bought by) on Corzine, the devil they know.

  • JVDeLong||

    Christie missed his chance to win in a walk. He should say: "All of you who struggle with weight control, vote for me; all of you whose complaint is 'I just can't seem to gain weight', you vote for Corzine." That would tip the scales for Christie.

  • ||

    Corzine has done all he could to avoid his awful record. It almost seems that Christie is the incumbant. This election should have been a walk, but a third party candidate, the President really working hard to get the African American vote, and pretty weak results for Christie in the debates it will probably end up a sizable Corzine victory and NJ will suffer for it.

  • ||

    Corzine shut down the Walt Whitman Bridge for 3 hours Sunday to bring in Obama.

    Those hours: 12-3. Eagles fans coming from Jersey use the WW to get to Philly, which was playing one of the biggest games of the season @ 1. The stadium was probably 25% empty as a result. Don't think people won't remember that days before an election.

  • ||

    Regardless of party, I'm rooting for the fat boy.

    An aside for Jon Corzine - Jim Fixx died at 53. Jackie Gleason lived till e was 71. How sweet it is!

    Oh yeah, Keith Richards is still alive.

  • zoltan||

    Jim Fixx's father and grandfather both had heart attacks in their thirties and died before or during their forties. So he did okay.

  • prolefeed||

    In this context, obesity-related diseases are nothing more than selection pressure which, over the next 100,000 years or so, would tend to refit the human population to the current environment of slothful abundance. It's just that the environment has changed must faster than human evolution is able to reconfigure us--even if we would allow selection pressures to bear upon us unchecked

    There's no such thing as escaping selection pressures. If you use hospitals to combat the health problems caused by obesity, then the costs of hospitals becomes a new selection pressure.

    If the government goes to socialized medicine, that will be a new selection pressure.

    Evolution never takes a holiday. Human caused changes in the environment result in a reshuffling of selection pressures.

    I'd say that at least a minor portion of the rise in obesity is due to evolution, the result of selection pressures currently favoring fatter kids on net, somewhat counterbalanced by sexual selection pressures for thinner physiques.

  • Punk||

    Keep cherry picking examples of how unhealthy lifestyles don't equal early death or obesity and it will do a great job in deflecting the fact that a poor diet and lack of good exercise is a leading cause of obesity & premature death. Genetics, externalities and other non-diet things may account for some but you can't change physiology.

    Someone said correctly that it ain't the amount of calories, it's the type of calories. Stuff yourself full of doughnuts all the time and despite how much exercise you get, there is a very high probability that you're gonna gain some pounds.

  • ||

    Agreed. Personally, I'm 5'8" and I'm trying to get to 180 lbs. before Christmas.

    People need to start seeing food as more like a drug. What you eat affects everything in your body - hormones, inflammation, etc. So it's important not to put shit in your body.

    I'm certainly not saying that government should regulate more of the food industry. I enjoy an occasional trip to McDonalds or Krispy Kreme as much as anyone.

  • Zeb||

    Bullshit. If you eat the caloric equivalent of a dozen donuts in a more healthy form, you still have to use up that same amount of energy, either through exercise or storage as fat.

  • zoltan||

    Calories are calories in the sense that more need to be burned than consumed in order to lose weight. But 1000 calories of doughnuts compared to 1000 calories of egg whites, lean meat, and vegetables will affect how your body feels quite differently.

  • ||

    All calories were not created equal. Some foods, such as grains, actually trigger the body to start storing energy as fat - long term. Versus other forms of calories that are stored to be used in the near term.

    Thus, it's difficult to lose weight on a diet contained large quantities of grain.

    Look up The Zone diet...it's pretty interesting stuff.

  • ||

    Spoken like someone who doesn't understand that complexity of food. The presence or absence of vitamins and micro-nutrients, the quality of the macro-nutrients, and how this sphere governs itself when connected to external stimuli like sunlight, exercise can be proven with a simple experiment that involves only yourself: completely change your diet to exclude most fruits and vegetables and eat only processed foods for approximately 1 month. Don't change anything else. Track your calories, log it all. Then, change your diet completely so that it includes NO processed foods (if you can't make your own spaghetti sauce, a jar of Prego will have to do). Dramatically increase your fruits and vegetables and eat a lot of meat (not the Tyson-chicken junk, but quality meat). Maintain precisely the same physical regimen you had during the first 30 days, track it all, log it. Make sure that your net calories from period 1 are roughly equal to those from period 2. Then, come back to this thread and correct your post.

  • BigLiberty||

    "a poor diet and lack of good exercise is a leading cause of obesity"

    Prove it.

  • ||

    Here's a more general statement.

    Lifestyle choices, ie the amount of sleep you get, the kinds food you eat, the amount and kind of exercise you do, how often you consume alcohol and how much, are all contributors towards obesity.

    Very few babies are born with a beer gut and thunder thighs.

    Obesity, for many people, not all, is largely a choice.

  • Shoshie||

    Um, have you seen a baby lately?

  • ||

    It's been proven repeatedly, so arguing from obstinacy doesn't score you any points.

  • Nipplemancer||

    At the start of the race Corzine's ads made it seem as if he were running against GW Bush and only tangentally Chris Christie. I can't stand either and intend on writing myself in (which is what I always do for Governor anyway.)

  • EMp||

    Isn't Governor Corzine detested by most New Joizeyans? I thought the ad stating that Christie was" throwing his weight around" was hilarious, actually. Anyway, I've always thought it peculiar that the states with the highest amount of unemployed and tax rates, also were ran by liberals. Then the people who voted these politicians in, go to more prosperous regions of the country and STILL vote for the libs! Huh!

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  • Willie||

    Let me have about me men that are fat,
    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights. Yond Corzine hath a lean and hungry look, He thinks too much ; such men are dangerous.

  • ||

    It's natural selection. Fat people who needed glasses used to be killed by the first jaguar that crossed their path, but now that we have achieved "civilized" society, people with such bad genes live on to perpetuate their genes. All sorts of traits that would lead to demise in the old days are going to become more and more commonplace.

  • ||

    Exhibit A: Piggy in Lord of the Flies

    And yes, you could make a very strong argument that civilization artificially props up bad gene pools, much like the government is artificially propping up spoiled banking institutions and companies.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Um, how did these myopic losers get fat pre-Kroger grocery stores?

    Doesn't your hypothesis rely on these tasty-tubbies appearing out of nowhere completely (mis)formed?

    I find it hard to believe that myopic humans were somehow able to do so well that they became obese and thus kitty food. If they were smart enough to get fat using stone tools, wouldn't they also be smart enough to avoid the jaguars?

    I'm not saying that modern civilization doesn't help protect people who have undesirable genetic traits. I am saying that I doubt that early humans got so fat that they were weeded out.

  • Lepus||

    Leave Andre Alone!!

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Calories are measured in a calorimeter, which takes a food, burns it, and measures the heat given off. If the human body doesn't work like a calorimeter, counting calories won't tell you much.

    Of course, the human body doesn't. It digests food through a serious of hormonal responses. The hormonal responses to fat, protein, and carbohydrates are all different. Because of that, the way the energy is generated and stored from each of those three is different.

    It goes further than that, though. The hormonal response is also affected by how fast the foods are digested: apple juice causes more hunger than apple sauce, which in turn causes more hunger than a whole apple. The body processes these differently, even though they're basically identical. The difference is speed. The body also digests different kinds of protein and fat differently, which in turn affects how they're turned to energy or stored as fat.

  • ||

    Thanks, Joshua, for bringing a little sense to the sea of uninformed opinion hereabouts. The "calories are calories" argument is borne, I think, of a preference for the simplest answer, when it simply masks complexities in digestion and biochemistry that defy headline-friendly pseudo-scientific conclusions.

  • ||

    "But it's now clear that obesity owes a lot to biology and environment."

    The biology is being a human being hard-wired to avoid starvation. The environment is high fructose corn syrup in absolutely everything.

  • ||

    So, at this time we are pretending that Clinton weighed less than 260 lbs?

  • ||

    To the people who are genuinely interested in losing weight, please don't pay heed to the "biology" you will read on internet comment sections, no matter how seemingly well-read the poster. As someone who weighs c200 lbs, down from 310 lbs five years ago, my observation is that "dietary science" anywhere other than a doctor's office amounts to nothing but an excuse, as bad as the sugar itself in its own way. If you continue listening to people who explain the totality of your humanity in terms of hormones, you will make them right. Outside of those genuine doctors, most of the "facts" you will read are relevant but indirect details that deny you your personal agency, like asking a meteorologist who will win the World Series.

    "Most" people are not just unlucky. "Most" people need to stop eating so damn much or exercise more. Despite all the predestination "science" you see floating around the Internets, you never hear about someone joining the Marines, having a starvation experience, or getting a movie contract with a weight clause and failing to lose weight.

    To end on a constructive note, losing weight is very hard, but not difficult. Think "Karate Kid." When you want -- really want -- to lose weight more than you want to eat (or not exercise), then you will be ready.

  • ||

    Oh, and that's not a remark on the story. What kind of heel would so nakedly call their opponent fat? What kind of idiot would do it in 2009, where everything is broken down thrice?

    And since when did Americans have an electoral bias against fat people? Hell, "incumbent" practically means "fat" in this country, and not just metaphorically.

  • Rhywun||

    Since the 1800's, if the Presidential elections are anything to go by. The skinny guy always wins. Being tall helps, too. It's the same thing in the boardroom. No big deal--just human nature.

  • Richard||

    Americans like fit, healthy-ish leaders. Youthful, b-balling gym rat Obama beat decerepit McCain, Faithful distance runner Bush beat Kerry (who was shown sailing and falling off his bike) and Gore who appeared as a feminine nancy boy.
    Hell Mccain, in his first intro of Palin to the US, even mentioned "high school point guard" as one of her attributes.

    A pro wrestler and a bodybuilder have been elected as Governors.

    Even Clinton pretended to be jogging all the time, but never seemed to lose weight. Huckabee lost weight before running for National office.

    If you look at Mark Warner, Tom Vilsack, Evan Bayh, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and Palin herself who was recently featured in "Runner's World," the political future belongs to the fit.

  • ||

    Corzine claims Obama supports him because they are a team, and they ARE two peas in the same pod. Obama insulted every known demographic during HIS campaign and he won; because basically, but wrongly, people think the insults are for the other guy. Corzine hopes his own insults will have the same result.

  • ||

    Sarah Palin's not fat, but I doubt Corzine would endorse her

  • ||

    Corzine is in no double-chinned positon to ad hom anyone else.

  • ||

    We're Fat, we sat, get used to it!
    uh, not as catchy as "We're here, we're queer, get used to it"
    But fat people don't have to rhyme, or be cool - all that have to do is waddle into the polling place, get greased up, and squeeze into the voting booth and vote for someone who looks like them.

  • ||

    Corzine and his mafia types are toast. Now it's time to clean up the others states then on to the WH. Let's send Obama back to Kenya and his Nazi masters back to wherever they and their money came from.

  • Andrew Lynch||

    Yes, we'll all drop what we're doing and get right on that reasonable plan of action.

  • abercrombie milano||

    Corzine and his mafia types are toast. Now it's time to clean up the others states then on to the WH. Let's send Obama back to Kenya and his Nazi masters back to wherever they and their money came from.

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