He is. There’s no getting around it. Just like me, Christie is fat, and just like me, there’s very little he can do about it.
And this, according to far too many on the left, is either cause for endless fat jokes, or endless moralizing, or both.
It shouldn’t surprise me, of course. Fat hatred is hardly underground in our society. But it disappoints me, because tolerance is supposed to be a fundamental liberal value. We’re supposed to accept people different than us for who they are, and rather than demanding they change to fit society’s view of what’s “normal,” we’re supposed to challenge society to expand its definition of normal.
And yet, whether it’s David Sirota handwringing that Christie should be kicked off the national stage because of his fatness (but only because fat women aren’t treated well! Sirota is so very fat-positive otherwise!), or Andy Borowitz joking that a Perry-Christie race “would test whether Americans would rather be executed or eaten,” or Ed Shultz calling Christie a “fat slob,” far too many liberals see absolutely nothing wrong with attacking Christie for his weight — because, well, fat is bad. Obviously.
Some, of course, cloak their attacks in the well-worn cover of “but what about the fatties’ health?” At PoliticusUSA, Sarah Jones writes an article about Christie’s “health issues” that doesn’t seem to be much about more than his fatness:
As Chris Christie gets ready to amaze us with his Reagan Library speech tonight and the Right has worked themselves into a frenzy over his possible announcement, Ed Schultz had attorney and radio talk show host Mike Papantonio on to talk Chris Christie as a possible Presidential candidate. The bad news for Christie was Papantonio made an excellent point about Christie’s health. It’s not pretty.
Mike Papantonio posed the question, is Chris Christie healthy enough to run for President? Mike explained the importance of the appearance of health, “The less informed voter is more likely to consider appearance and health….The contrast between Obama and Christie would be startling. I mean, Christie is a red-line, 320 pound cardiac case who should be carrying AED portable (automated external) defibrillator for God’s sake!”
Mike adds, “Can you imagine the possibilities for a 5’10″ 320 pound adult with chronic adult-onset asthma! He’s like an unhealthy version of William Taft!”
But is the New Jersey governor even healthy enough to run? He has adult onset asthma and is clearly overweight.
Yes, the article does talk about Christie’s brief hospitalization for problems with his asthma. Well, to be accurate, it links to an article about Christie’s asthma and includes a two-paragraph blockquote from the article. Otherwise, it’s nothing but “Christie’s fat! And he’s obviously unhealthy! Because…well…he’s fat!”
Folks, we’ve been down this road before. Attacking Christie for his weight is not just an attack on Christie. It’s also an attack on every fat man and woman in America, a flat statement that we are not welcome on the national stage, no mater our qualifications or ideals. When we lead with fat jokes 0r fat shame, we say that it is Christie’s weight, above all else, that makes him an unacceptable candidate. And that is no better than attacking Nancy Pelosi for being a woman, or Barack Obama for being African American, or Barney Frank for being gay.
There’s a whole lot about Chris Christie that I don’t like, from his retrograde education policy to his hostility to unions to his bullying persona. I wouldn’t vote for him for any position. If he chooses to run for president, I will work assiduously to see that he’s defeated. But this would be true whether Christie was fat or thin, tall or short, male or female, black or white, straight or gay, cis or trans. It is Christie’s political views and bullying personality that I oppose. And it is those — and only those — that I will attack. And nobody who calls themselves tolerant should do anything else.