I’m not a fan of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, although I respected his bipartisan stewardship during Hurricane Sandy. But I’ve defended him, on “NOW With Alex Wagner,” to offer one example, from charges that his weight disqualifies him from being president. Obesity is first and foremost a health matter, even if scolds try to make it a matter of discipline. There’s also a huge class bias in our preference for thinness today. Obviously Christie isn’t someone who can’t afford healthy food or to get the weight loss help he needs, at this point in his life anyway. But a lot of working and middle class people can probably identify with his inability to lose weight and keep it off. Certainly Bill Clinton’s struggles with his own size were part of what endeared him to common folks. It also set him up for serious heart disease in his 60s.
Uh oh, but I shouldn’t have mentioned health issues related to being overweight, because we know that sets Christie off — particularly, it seems, when an uppity lady brings it up. Everyone’s heard about the governor’s heart-warming star-turn with David Letterman, despite Letterman’s repeated and sometimes cruel jokes about his weight. Now we’re hearing about the way he chewed up former White House doctor Connie Mariano, a Republican and a fan, for warmly expressing concern about his weight, calling her a “hack” and telling her to “shut up.”
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