Too Fat For Public Office
Politicians are elected to do the work of the people and their waistlines shouldn’t get in the way
Last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was rushed to a hospital after experiencing an asthma attack. An favorable candidate for the GOP presidential ticket, Christie’s weight and subsequent health has always been an issue and one he hasn’t been afraid to discuss with the media.
"I think the weight exacerbates everything, and I’ve been pretty candid about that right from the start of my public career," he said. [SOURCE]
Admitting that weight is an issue is one thing but it’s another to actually do something about it especially when your career depends on it. As the race for the White House ramps up, Christie works with a personal trainer three times a week in his mission to loose weight. Is it possible that Christie is too obese for office?
Most recent presidents have had the “fitness” photo op. George W. Bush biked. Even closet fast food junky President Bill Clinton ran for the camera. President Clinton’s love for McDonald’s did eventually catch up to him in 2004 when he underwent a successful bypass operation for his heart. President William Taft (pictured left) is probably the fattest president with historical records showing his weight at nearly 330 pounds. Any serious health problems our presidents faced were downplayed over covered up by the White House and media included President Kennedy’s back problems and President Reagan’s early stage Alzheimer’s. The problem with obesity is that you can’t hide it from the media, it’s as plain as the eye can see in every photograph.
While it may not be politically correct to say but I believe public officials should be in good health. It should be part of their obligations to their constituents to be in their best health both mentally and physically as they do the people’s work. Is it too much to ask that Christie be able to walk up to the President’s podium without having to call 911?
A number of stories have also been written about Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s migraines. She released medical records indicating that these debilitating migraines are being treated with medication. Some found these stories about her headaches sexist but I think the broader issue is when you are going to be in the conversation about holding the most powerful office in the world, you should be physically fit for the job.
President Obama, a long time smoker, got a lot of flak for his smoking and reportedly quit his unhealthy habit. He and the First Lady are fitness obsessed working out every morning and for the most part eating healthy. The Obamas send a good message to American families: The family that works out together, wins together.
The demands of public office require our officials to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, this is not seen as a priority and it should be. It’s not about being a certain weight or clothing size but if you aren’t at least making an attempt to take care of your body so your heart doesn’t give out in the middle of a national or international crisis. Governor Chris Christie may be Mr. Popular when it comes to 2012 speculation but he needs to focus on his health in order to best perform in his current job. You only get one body and if you don’t take care of it properly it doesn’t matter what prestigious office you hold. Heart disease is nonpartisan.