What Does Edwards Bring to the Dem Ticket?

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Extra pounds, in the guise of Mrs. Edwards. And that will lead to Kerry/Edwards sweeping the chubby vote.

So proclaimeth The New Republic's Gregg Easterbrook:

Elizabeth Edwards is overweight but still attractive. There's a huge demographic of Americans who are overweight though still striving to look good: Elizabeth Edwards could become their champion! On the serious side, many women have gone through the life experience of being slender in youth–check the Edwards's wedding-day photo, Elizabeth is a lithe beauty–then simply not being able to keep the pounds off following the double whammy of childbearing followed by child-rearing, which means, oh, 20 years or so without time to exercise. By being an overweight yet still attractive traditional mom, Elizabeth Edwards radiates "I am a real-world person" in a way that none of the other three wives can.

Whole thing here.

Suddenly, Dick Cheney's understated appeal becomes clearer: Beyond radiating the attractive warmth of a businessman-killer straight out of a Quinn-Martin Production, his beer belly (and multiple heart attacks) proclaim that he, too, is a real-world person (compared to, say, George W. Bush's ability to run seven minute miles into his 50s).

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  1. “simply not being able to keep the pounds off following the double whammy of childbearing followed by child-rearing, which means, oh, 20 years or so without time to exercise.”

    Not in this case, I’d bet.

    Both Edwards residences must be small beehives of servants – nannies, chefs, drivers, cleaning staff, personal secreataries, and so. Not all live-in, of course, but far more domestic support than the average soccer mom will ever get.

    Mrs. Edwards may be very busy indeed with charitable projects and noble causes, but almost all of the domestic tasks will have been outsourced as soon as the Mr. started to make real dough.

  2. Anyone who would base their vote in a presidential election on whether they can “idendify” with the weight of the VP candidate’s spouse deserves to have their voting rights revoked and be flogged unmercifally with soggy french fries.

  3. This is another shallow comment, but I just searched for all the photos of Mrs. Edwards I could find. She didn’t look exactly obese, but I also didn’t think she looked attractive, even aside from her weight (see http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101040719/nelizabeth.html). Though the argument for her being a “real person” I would buy. Poor woman hasn’t aged well…and I wonder if her facial appearance might be detrimental to the youthful Edwards.

  4. Is there anyone less relevant to the Presidential election than the challenger’s VP’s wife?

  5. “Is there anyone less relevant to the Presidential election than the challenger’s VP’s wife? ”

    Seriously. For those of you who thought the Veep debate is inane, HA!

  6. RC Dean,

    You’re assuming that most voters read media that discuss the issues, rather than Ladies’ Home Journal. Besides, doesn’t the existence of this whole thread prove how important appearance is in this country?

  7. no kidding, linguist. Give these broads the vote, and look what politics becomes!

  8. I suppose she could always join a research project seeking a cure for obesity if she wants to lose weight.

    http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?issue=4028&n=1

  9. joe likes big butts and joe cannot lie
    You libertoids can’t deny…

    Seriously, though, “Eating less takes less time, not more.” The time factor applies to the preparation and acquisition of food, not the consumption of it. It is much faster and easier to get fast food than processed, and processed food than fresh ingredients.

    Oh, and good post, Phil.

  10. “The time factor applies to the preparation and acquisition of food, not the consumption of it. It is much faster and easier to get fast food than processed, and processed food than fresh ingredients.”

    Very funny.

    It takes less time to consume a smaller quantity of food however acquired than it does to consume a larger quantitiy however acquired.

  11. Hell maybe if Edwards loses, he can go back to being a trial lawyer and sue all of the fast food places that made his wife fat?

  12. “It takes less time to consume a smaller quantity of food however acquired than it does to consume a larger quantitiy however acquired.”

    Go to supermarket. Get container. Go to salad bar. Put salad into container. Skip dressing. Skip bacon bits. Add vinegar. Close lid. Go to checkout. Pay. Leave. Return to home/work. Eat.

    If not pressed for time, repeat above steps uncut vegetables, cutting them one’s self. Reward for extra effort: 1 Breadstick.

    I think I could manage this schedule with two kids, a cook and a maid.

  13. Gilbert,

    It’s not the volume of food that matters here. A six pack of McNuggets has more calories than a dinner plate piled with salad.

    OK smartass, the Supermarket salad bar is the fastest healthy option you can come up with, the nearly-absurd extreme by which you hope lazy minds will be fooled into thinking your lopsided example applies a general rule.

    It’s still not as fast as a vending machine or fast food drive thru. Are you actually clueless enough to believe eating well is as easy as eating poorly?

  14. I’m really starting to loathe Easterbrook.

  15. Nothing’s less time consuming than anorexia. I would suggest that Mrs. Edwards give that a try.

  16. I was a TMQ regular for a couple of seasons. It was about football and cheerleaders and the like, and sprawled into other non serious material.

    Then I read his blog a few times and some TNR pieces. He is a person I disagree with on most issues of importance, but, worse I think he has come to believe that any drivel he puts to paper cuts to the core of How Things REALLY Work or some such. I’m glad he isn’t on my team.

  17. There is literally no telling what he’s going to say next. Remember when he asserted that it was a cabal of energy executives trying to extort rate increases by keeping the electricity off in his neighborhood? How about the four page diatribe lambasting the entire state of Deleware?

  18. Check out the picture for yourselves. She’s not big, but he should have seen it coming.

  19. How could she have seen it coming? Outside of the fact that women don’t age as well as men.

    Edwards looks like he’s about to screw me at the used car dealership.

  20. Any guesses as to the relative (pre- and post-marriage) sizing of Mrs. TMQ?

    Would have asked this earlier, but my wife was in the office using my home gym…

  21. OK smartass, the Supermarket salad bar is the fastest healthy option you can come up with, the nearly-absurd extreme by which you hope lazy minds will be fooled into thinking your lopsided example applies a general rule.

    First of all, on a Libertarian website, you’re blaming fast-food companies for not providing adequate means for you to eat less. And I’m the Smartass (hint: skip the vending machines).

    Personally, I’ve yet to visit a suburban office complex that didn’t have, downstairs, a cafe/convenience shop with numerous healthy eating possiblities, and if you’re in a city and can’t find a similar store within 2 blocks… order veggie chinese.

    As far as fast food goes, I was deeply hung over last week (always wait 30 minutes after the workout before you start drinking), so I went to a McDonald’s, and it was the first time I’d been there since I don’t know when. I really wanted several cheeseburgers, fries, and an oversized soda. They used to have a value meal you could order. They don’t anymore. Salads however, were available in abundance.

    Obesity is not a fucking illness. Weak wills are commonplace. And if you spent a little less time rationalizing your own existence, and a little more time doing situps, you’d probably feel the same way, and maybe even get that raise.

    But, again, I’m just taking issue with the concept that a multi-millionaire attorney’s wife can’t trim down a little bit due to the demands on her time. Fact is, if Edwards was just a big-time lawyer and not a politico, he’d’a better-dealed her ass years ago. Them clothes is hiding it.

  22. It’s an interesting point made in a desultory way. I imagine most wives of candidates immediately start weight-loss regimes when their husbands enter the race, but Edwards has answered honestly that she has no time for South Beach dieting. Easterbrook is too frivolous to consider how her weight appears to the general public, but I’d guess it makes her much more approachable and motherly than her occupation would suggestion (lawyer.) Most of us, used to the slender-even-by-Hollywood’s-standards actresses on Law and Order, equate professional woman with ectomorphic body types. The professional women that I know have, errr, weightier concerns in their lives than portion control and elliptical machines

  23. There is no such thing as no time to lose weight. Eating less takes less time, not more. Everybody has 45 minutes three times a week to work out.

    Had to rant. Keep hearing this from my family.

  24. but there is such a thing as ***higher priorities.*** Jeez, Elizabeth Edwards is hardly Shamu. She’s probably got a BMI under 25

  25. The professional women I know – including a family of lawyers, and two DOJ prosecutors all seem to think that professional appearance, including healthy weight and physical fitness, are very important to their profession edge. Exercise gives you more time and energy to tackle your professional duties, not less. Body type is largely a load of crap, despite what the somber and serious “love yourselves”, hippo apologists might say on Oprah. Everyone who doesn’t have a thyroid condition could maintain an attractive weight if they got off their cans and went to the gym. Maybe some people have different priorities, and spend their time mulling over weighty issues in their barcalounger, but getting on an elliptical machine and saying “no” to that extra quart of Haagendaaz doesn’t mean you’re an empty headed pin-up model.

  26. Body type is largely a load of crap

    That’s right. Remember folks, weight gain is a moral failure, and those who give in to it should be condemned, ridiculed and denigrated with insulting nicknames. That’ll motivate them.

  27. By the way, this was interesting.

  28. Here’s a perfect example of a male conflation of the term “healthy weight” with “what I prefer to see in the bedroom.” If you’re got a BMI within a truly “healthy” range, diet and exercise is primarily cosmetic.

    There is nothing about Edwards’ appearance to suggest she routinely polishes off quarts of ice cream. She’s had a bunch of kids and is post-menopausal. For all we know, she might eat exceptionally well and be on her feet all day.

  29. So, did it work for Tipper Gore? Did she bring the “pleasantly plump” swing voters over to the Dems?

  30. But what about personal responsibility! I thought that would be a key concept for Reason readers! Look, if you’re comfortable with your appearance, and your partner doesn’t throw rocks at you, then you’re probably doing all right (Mrs Edwards has two beautiful children, apparently fathered by the Sen.) But if carrying around extra pounds is likely to interfere with your professional goals, you should lose the weight: not try to convince everyone that they should overlook it.

    Even if weight gain is not a moral failure, its absence is perceived by many in this country as a moral success. Increasingly, it’s even tied with financial success: wealthier people can afford the gym membership/personal trainer/special diet. An attractive body is worth the investment.

    You’re right that Mrs Edwards is not that big. I don’t know if her appearance is a net gain or loss for Edwards – in my view it doesn’t matter a bit. I do think, however, that people shouldn’t try to make excuses when others react negetively to their overweight appearance. Take charge and change it.

    The article on fats many uses was interesting, but probably doesn’t outweigh the mountain of evidence linking obesity to all kinds of disease. As a private employer (and other things being equal), I would tend not to hire a grossly overweight person the same way as I would shy away from a smoker. I would assume lost productivity and health problems and smoke/twinkie breaks interfering with work were a risk. Interestingly, since obesity is now recognized as a disease by medicare it will probably end up being covered by the Americans with disabilities act. All the statists should be thrilled with that notion.

  31. All of you that have what to say about Ms. Edwards are really shallow. She looks how she looks, this does not take anything away from her value as a human being. Besides, different strokes for different folks.

  32. Fat AND Attractive? Sorry, that’s an oxymoron. If it were true, I wouldn’t have problems finding a girlfriend.

  33. You probably have trouble finding a girlfriend because you’ve fallen for the air brushed pictures you see in your Hustler mags.

  34. As a skinny person I personally stand to gain from the “thinness=virtue” idea, yet even I think it’s a load of crap. It used to be that morality involved things like being charitable, standing up for the underdog and fighting injustice; now it involves a thin body and a healthy diet. When in the world did we get so narcissistic?

    If I ever did get fat I don’t know if I’d bother to exercise much; personally, I find reading books far more enjoyable.

  35. Forgot to add, my preference for books over beauty apparently makes me shallow by some people’s standards. Ye gods!

  36. one only needs think back to christina ricci in her chubby cherub days. i believe rubenesque is the term.

    it’s a deeply shallow topic – therefore, deeply shallow responses should follow.

  37. I’d rather read books than go to the gym too, but sacrifices must be made. For the record, I didn’t say that thinness=virtue, I said that it’s a fact of life that many people feel that way, and that fact should shape a rational person’s priorities.

    Jeez, can’t a decent person drown starving kittens to put them out of their misery, and steal change from a sleeping drunk’s tin cup without being called immoral? After all, he’d just spend it on booze or cigarettes…

    dhex, thanks for making my point better than I was managing, and in far fewer words.

    I weigh 365, and hate myself if that makes everyone feel better.

  38. I just love all these doctors — you are a doctor, right, Evil Misogynist? — opining on what is and isn’t medical in nature. More, please.

  39. Looking at Mrs. Edwards’ recent picture in Time, I have to agree with a couple of the posters above: She hasn’t gained that much weight, she just hasn’t aged well.

  40. I just love all these doctors — you are a doctor, right, Evil Misogynist? — opining on what is and isn’t medical in nature. More, please.

    Yeah, obviously you need 8 years of med school and three years residency to spot a fat chick with twinkies in her purse. RIGGHHHT.

  41. Yeah, that’s what I thought. (Adds EM to list of people not worth addressing.)

  42. “…on a Libertarian website, you’re blaming fast-food companies for not providing adequate means for you to eat less.”

    I’m not blaming anyone for anything, just stating facts. Maybe you’d be better off judging the truth of a statement by some other metric than its convenience for your preferred political position.

  43. Yeah, EM has it right. The process of getting fat is indeed a matter of laziness of mind and body. What does it take to eat healthier at home, Joe? Just get some veggies, cut em up, etc. I agree that at work it’s easier sometimes to put change into the vending machine and get some twinkies and m&m’s than to find a good eating place or bring your own food. Again, the answer is: stop being lazy, and get off your ass.

    It’s a matter of getting into new habits, but weak wills and lazy bodies don’t do that. It’s not a disease, just bad character.

    I will say that slimming back down is a whole lot harder than not getting fat in the first place (pregnancy being an exception here), just as stopping smoking is a bitch.

    Phil, the article was interesting, but doesn’t change the fact that, to slim down what you do is eat less and better, and get off your ass and go hiking, jogging or bike riding. I think that 4 out of 5 doctors would agree with that, and that 5th doctor is not a real doctor but Michael Moore’s fatter brother, with a doctorate in anti-americanism with a minor in B.O. from the University of M. A (My Ass ;-}

  44. Although I am not an MD, I do have a degree in microbiology, a major that involves some study of metabolism. Food contains fats, proteins which are converted to amino acids, carbs which are converted to ATP and then into chemical energy. Metabolism is governed by a simple concept: Consuming too much food results in excesses of amino acids, ATP and fatty acids. These are all converted to fatty acids and stored. While weight may be influenced by medical conditions, rarely is it controlled by them. It is basic math. I don’t remember the equation offhand.

    Avoiding rotundity means getting off of your ass and taking responsibility for your health. I live in a Southern city where ribs and fried catfish reign as regional cuisine, and recognize that I have to run a few more miles when I indulge. Motherhood is no excuse either. Marrying an ambulance-chaser ensures the financial capacity to hire someone to watch your precious baby while you take a fucking bike ride.

    It is not simply vanity or superficiality. Obesity is on track to overtake smoking as the leading preventable cause of death in adults. Failure to control the risk factors for obesity tells me that you are either lazy or incredibly bad at managing your time.

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