Lose a bunch of weight, get nominated for President

January 7, 2008 at 11:58 am 5 comments

So, I’m perusing my morning blogs and made my usual stop over at Shakesville. There, I happened across this post from Mustang Bobby talking about a recent NYT column by William Kristol, talking about the prospects of Mike Huckabee being the Republican nominee for President. Now, Mustang Bobby’s got a whole bunch of other excellent points which y’all ought to go read, but the part that jumped off the page (screen) at me was this quote from Kristol’s column:

Huckabee seems to be that. He came up from modest origins. He served as governor of Arkansas for more than a decade. He fought a successful battle against being overweight. These may not be utterly compelling qualifications for the presidency. I’m certainly not ready to sign up.

Look at that, y’all.

Basically, there are three factors which William Kristol lists as reasons why Mike Huckabee would make a good candidate for the presidency, and they are:

1. Came from modest origins

2. Governor of Arkansas for more than a decade



Of the whopping THREE reasons this guy cites for why Mike Huckabee makes a credible Republican candidate for the job of PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, one of them is having lost a bunch of weight.

Are you shitting me?! Seriously, am I have some kind of nachos-before-bedtime-induced nightmare or something? Because if I am, PLEASE someone wake me up!

The other day, Kate pointed our attention toward a link which painstakingly listed evidence which points toward Huckabee having lost all that weight through WLS instead of through “good old-fashioned diet and exercise.” Some folks wondered why on earth it mattered, why on earth it was important.

This is why.

Because in a culture where fat is conflated with a list of moral failings as long as my arm, a man can actually turn a 100-pound weight loss into a bid for the presidency, and is not laughed off the fucking stage!

Does anyone REALLY think that if Huckabee had just come out and said, “Oh yeah, I did lose a bunch of weight. I went and had lap-band surgery and now I live with a surgically induced eating disorder,” he’d really be poised to win the Republican nomination??

If that’s the case, then I take it the only thing keeping Al Roker and Carnie Wilson from taking their own respective spots in the Oval Office is that neither has done their time as governor of a state yet. snort!

This is why fat acceptance matters – because until our culture stops seeing fat bodies as flawed and thin bodies as morally superior, until our culture (by which I mean our media) overcomes its fascination with weight-loss “success stories”, however short-lived they may be, then we’re going to keep seeing bullshit like this. People who get ahead not based on their own merits, but instead based almost entirely on their ability to manipulate people’s prejudices against fat.

[ETA: Whups. I just realized – Carnie’s not going to be able to be President after all. Seeing as she’s Brian Wilson‘s daughter, she didn’t exactly come from “modest origins”, did she? Sorry Carnie!)

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Now it’s Thorny’s turn to cry… Sock Day!

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah  |  January 7, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I think you’re reading too much into a small cut from Kristol’s column. He explicitly says that he’s not ready to sign up . . . he’s talking about the elusive “likeability factor” and the many different ways candidates can tap into that.

  • 2. Thorn  |  January 7, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I’ll grant you it’s a bit of a leap. But at the same time, the article does ultimately come out in favor of Huckabee, and perhaps I should have included this in the post, but the next line goes:

    Still, as the conservative writer Michelle Malkin put it, “For the work-hard-to-get-ahead strivers who represent the heart and soul of the G.O.P., there are obvious, powerful points of identification.”

    The point is, and perhaps I made it poorly, “lost a bunch of weight” gets listed there as if it’s some kind of proof of morality. A lot of Republican voters don’t like Rudy Giuliani because his marital track record makes them think he’s not “moral” enough.

    Now, I don’t hold a lot of truck with what often gets counted as Republican “morals”, so that part of it is no nevermind to me, but it’s not Huckabee’s 33-year marriage to the same woman that Kristol talked about, or his religious background, or any of a bunch of other potential “moral” markers. It’s his weight loss.

    That weight loss gets to stand in as code for “Mike Huckabee is a very moral person,” and why? Because having a fat body is considered proof of a host of moral failings, all of which would be considered “bad” in a president.

  • 3. Rachel  |  January 7, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    That’s insanely irritating. Not only does Huckabee come from extreme Evangelical origins, which are not well-publicized, his bid for presidency is based on his “war on weight?” What kind of country do we live in?!

    I’m scared.

  • 4. moudou  |  January 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Isn’t it an issue here that a possible eating disorder is presented as some kind of an achievement a triumph even, isn’t that serious? Or is it only serious when the ED occurs in someone of a low weight?
    I mean imagine if they said Huckabee came from humble origins, served as governor of Arkansas and also fought a successful battle to become anorexic/bulimic.

  • 5. sandrar  |  September 10, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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