Tolerant liberal columnists: We should be able to discriminate on the basis of weight

Posted by: ST on September 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I wish I could say I was kidding with that headline, but I’m not. With speculation about a potential Gov. Chris Christie Presidential bid running rampant, two prominent ‘inclusive’ liberal columnists took it upon themselves over the last couple of days to argue that it’s ok to discriminate against a candidate … as long as it’s on the basis of their weight. Ironicially, another prominent liberal columnist came to Christie’s defense. Of Michael Kinsley’s and Eugene Robinson’s respective diatribes, Jonathain Chait writes:

Eugene Robinson writes today in the Washington Post that Christie’s weight inhibits his ability to serve as president. Michael Kinsley, writing in Bloomberg View, goes farther, calling it an outright disqualification. Neither of these (generally excellent) columnists offers much beyond overclass social bias.

Robinson argues that Christie is too fat to perform his job optimally, citing one episode of Christie being hospitalized for asthma. If that were true, you’d see it in his tenure as governor. But Robinson doesn’t argue that Christie failed to tackle his gubernatorial duties with sufficient vigor. How could you argue that? Like him or not, Christie has undoubtedly enjoyed overwhelming success in moving through his agenda and carrying out a taxing regimen of browbeating and insulting skeptical New Jersey-ites.

Robinson edges toward what I suspect is the deeper belief at work, urging Christie to follow the example of others who have lost weight. The premise here is that weight is a marker of personal discipline, and anybody who’s fat must simply be too lazy to take care of themselves.


Kinsley more explicitly casts Christie’s weight as a moral failing, arguing, “a presidential candidate should be judged on behavior and character, not just on policies.” It’s pretty jarring to see somebody openly make the case that being fat is a sign of poor character. It certainly helps make Campos’s case that there’s a moral panic afoot.

He calls Christie’s weight “a too-perfect symbol of our country at the moment, with appetites out of control and discipline near zilch.” (I don’t agree that this is the problem right now, but never mind.) He goes on to concede that Christie has in fact reduced the budget deficit, which seems hard to deny. Doesn’t this blow that argument out of the water, then? Kinsley concludes, strangely:

“[Christie] certainly makes all the right noises about fiscal discipline and seems to have done well so far as governor of New Jersey. Perhaps Christie is the one to help us get our national appetites under control. But it would help if he got his own under control first.”

But why would it help? Why does his weight matter at all? The only real reasoning I see here is that American elites view obesity with disgust, and they’re repulsed at the notion that a very fat guy could rise to a position of symbolic leadership. It’s not a very attractive sentiment.


I wonder if Robinson believes that overweight members of Congress should resign?   How about the handicapped (should FDR have been disqualified?)? And what about people who have a smoking problem like, say oh – President Barack Obama?  NRO’s Greg Pollowitz quips:

So President Obama’s smoking is a legitimate issue? Then the president needs to prove, with an independent nicotine test, that he’s cigarette free, no? And under Robinson’s logic, should we not test the president for cocaine as well? If smoking is a legitimate issue, then the president’s admitted past hard drug use should be as well. Maybe monthly drug testing? Cocaine use “exacerbates everything.”

I’m being sarcastic above.

And as long as we’re talking about “moral failings” being a disqualifier I wonder if Kinsley was a big defender of Bubba Clinton during the various SexGates that happened before and after he became POTUS?  How about during any of the other various left wing sex scandals that have hit over the last couple of decades?  There really aren’t many more – if any – greater moral failings in my book than cheating on your spouse (and/or neglecting your children)

Just how far would either of them go with their respective arguments about “moral failings” and “physical disclipline”? I suspect not very, because assuming the GOP wins the Presidency next year, four years from then there will be Democrats lining up to defeat the GOP President, and those contenders just  might not square up into the “fit” bubbles in which Robinson and Kinsley both currently reside.   And God help if ANY of them were ever criticized on the basis of their respective weights.   Can you imagine the outcry?

Of course – to borrow an oft-repeated classic quote , “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Or, in this case, it depends on the meaning of “fit.”  To liberal elites like Eugene Robinson and Michael Kinsley, being physically unfit (read: obese) should disqualify you from the Oval Office … provided you’re a Republican.  In my humble little opinion, though, I think being philosophically unfit (read: Socialistic) should be a disqualfier.  But unlike Robinson and Kinsley, I believe it should be decided at the ballot box by voters, not by smug pundits who live in glass houses and ivory towers.  But that’s just me …

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13 Responses to “Tolerant liberal columnists: We should be able to discriminate on the basis of weight”


  1. TexasMom2012 says:

    You miss the point that libs only apply ‘standards’ to Republicans never to the Democrats. Therefore, weight issues etc of Republicans are a ‘fair’ concern but Obamas health issues vis a vis smoking and drug use are given a complete pass. They don’t even show pix of Obama smoking because it is a ‘personal choice’ like Clinton’s sex scandals. Case after case libs apply the same standard, no standards for Dems and highest moral and personal standards always apply to the Rs… They are completely consistent.

    I believe that the only reason they threw Anthony Weiner under the bus is because they either knew or suspected that there was more immoral disgusting behavior that had not yet been uncovered. And they also never ever believed they could lose that seat, LOL!

  2. Eric Eikenberry says:

    By that lofty fitness standard, Sarah Palin, who can, and does run in marathons and other footraces, is the most qualified candidate, ahem, “running”… :D

    Survival of the Fittest!

  3. ST says:

    Hah! Good point, Eric.

  4. TexasDoc says:

    So by Eugene’s standards, since he is a public figure by virtue of being a columnist who labels himself a “political expert”, his health should be public business too. When was the last time you were smashed, Eugene? How ’bout those 60s/70s/80s and cocaine?

  5. Carlos says:

    So, does that mean President Obhammud should have been disqualified by inexperience because he couldn’t (and still can’t) perform his job optimally?

    Oh, excuse me. That must have been raaaciiiist!, even though it refers only to Duh-1’s administrative abilities then and now, not to the color of his skin.

    Report me to Attack Watch!

  6. Ineeda Bush says:

    I guess their standards don’t apply to the Surgeon General.

  7. martin j smith says:

    I have more important questions about Christie than his weight. But here to is the LEFT which has these tools;
    Lies,propaganda and the mob. That is all they have. It is totally predicable that of all things the LEFT focuses on is Christie’s physical appearance.
    But if we go the route of moral failings we can examine Obama’s moral failings, For example too many expensive vacations in the midst of a national crisis and lots of golf. Too many super burgers and fries and telling people to slim down. Flaouting wealth when people are suffering. Now these are moral failings.

  8. Carlos says:

    And that doesn’t even touch on Duh-1’s performance in office, Martin, what with Fast & Furious, Solyndra, the New Black Panthers, Cambridge cops, wanting to destroy our nation, etc., added to his resume just since his term began!

  9. tommy mc donnell says:

    i wonder how they feel about michael moore.

  10. Darwin Akbar says:

    If Chris Christie is not qualified to be President because he’s overweight, doesn’t that make “Chaz” Bono unqualified to be a television celebrity?

  11. karmacamilleon says:

    Real health concerns are issues. I love Cain, but his history of cancer needs to be considered. As in, in either case, are we voting for someone that will be there for the next four years? I recall Clinton catching hell for his pudginess. I despised that guy, yet I thought it was unfair to attack him on that because it was an appearance issue. Christie’s weight is different. Very unhealthy.

  12. Carlos says:

    I’m almost as big as Christie, and had a h/a 17 years ago. Plus I’m diabetic (as I’m sure he is.)

    Those factors can be controlled by lifestyle and medication, even if one doesn’t lose all the weight. (For a long time it would have damaged my avocation of playing Santa during the holidays, but I don’t do that anymore.) My point is, just because he’s overweight doesn’t mean he’s got 1-1/2 feet in the grave and the other half is slipping wildly.

    And bottom line is, I’d rather have people with medical conditions who know about the real world instead of someone with mental problems, psychoses, ADHD and still absolutely no real world experience like we’ve got now.

  13. I sense a new meme…it’s not raaaaacist, but instead ‘that’s weightist!’