Presidential Size Matters


Writing at The Washington Independent, Gene Healy makes the case for electing a fat president:

Is corpulence really a disqualification for the presidency in the land of supersized fries? If so, that's a shame.

America might do better with a fat president. After all, some of our best have been big fellows, and lately the trim and ambitious types haven't served us so well….

I once joked that my favorite president was a chunky, draft-dodging, scandal-plagued Democrat elected in '92 … (wait for it) … Grover Cleveland. (The Big-Mac-gobbling Bill Clinton was pretty flabby himself, and lately he looks ever better compared to his successors.)

Like a giant, implacable Buddha, the Great Cleveland set his bulk against Big Government, wielding the veto pen more than any president before. Even $10,000 to relieve Texas farmers during the 1887 drought was too profligate: "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution."…

America's best governor today is New Jersey's Chris Christie, who took office despite his opponent's juvenile "check out the fat guy" campaign ads. Since then, Christie's faced down Jersey teachers' unions and made major budget cuts—showing the kind of gumption America could use in the fiscal crisis to come. Yet most discussions of Christie's political future end with the observation that he's just "too fat" to be president.