Christie Too Fat to Be President?
What a relief! One of the nation's most sanctimonious, overrated, puerile, and irritating political commentators has finally announced his unqualified, immediate, and permanent retirement. I refer, of course, to that walking embarrassment to the Ivy League, Michael Kinsley.
Well, to be a bit more precise, Kinsley didn't explicitly announce his retirement -- rather, he let us know what must be his intentions by authoring a column that he could have written only to prove, in one short piece of prose, his utter lack of qualification to engage in public commentary, written or oral. He has succeeded.
Writing for Bloomberg on September 29, 2011, Kinsley penned a column the thesis of which is that Chris Christie can't be president because "He is just too fat." OK. Someone was going to say it, but who would have thought that first out of the gate would be a national columnist with two Harvard degrees, fat-baiting away before the New Jersey governor even got in the ring?
Let's get the very, very obvious response out of the way immediately, and in manner that might be comprehensible even to Michael Kinsley: suppose you've been trapped in a mine shaft thirty feet below ground for five days, and you've got about twenty minutes of air left. Further suppose that a would-be rescuer's puffy, cigarette stained hand suddenly pierces the darkness and reaches out to you. What are you going to do? Wait for a more acceptably svelte paw, attached to a non-tobacco user, or grab the God-sent extremity and get the hell out of there?
Get it, Michael? When you're in deep trouble, you take your rescuers as you find them.
I hope America has more than twenty minutes of air left, but I'm absolutely certain a large majority of our population feels trapped right now, if not in a mine shaft, then in some sort of hellish, self-created dystopia, and desperately in need of some effective, authentic, courageous, brutally honest leadership to help get us out. If and when the electorate decides it's found someone who can do this, it's just not going to care much whether his corporeal existence was created by regular visits to Gold's Gym or too many visits to McDonald's.
But Kinsley's column is not just excruciatingly, obviously, blatantly, embarrassingly wrong; it's bad writing. Don't Harvard College, Oxford, and Harvard Law School teach their students anymore to develop and defend their theses after stating them? Or do products of these once-august institutions now just get to pronounce, while developing and defending a point is a requirement reserved for state college graduates and other peasants?
Kinsley is clear on his thesis from the outset, but the reader has to wait till the penultimate paragraph to find any support at all for his ludicrous idea. That feeble support, it turns out, is that "the president inevitably sets an example." That's it. Being fat is a bad example. So Chris Christie can't be president.
It gets worse. Along the way to the "bad example" argument, Kinsley admits that he has forgiven Obama for his "secret smoking" and Clinton for his "...well, you know." Wow. Was Kinsley inebriated when he wrote this? Is it possible he didn't realize how much more ridiculous he was making an already ridiculous argument, by admitting before in any way supporting it that he has "forgiven" equally unhealthy or worse personal conduct in political leaders he likes? I guess some people think they get to write like this when they have multiple degrees from Harvard and Oxford.
Here's my grading for Michael. Thesis: improbable, illogical, wrong: D; Development and Defense of Theme: Nonexistent: F.
Having given Kinsley's preposterous and badly written screed more of a response than it merits, here are a few more random thoughts on the subject:
First, we all might want to get down on our knees and thank God that Michael Kinsley wasn't advising the British cabinet in 1940 when it was looking for Neville Chamberlain's replacement. For the historically challenged, that replacement was to be man named Winston Churchill: 65 years old, totally sedentary, very fat, regularly drank far too much scotch and smoked far too many cigars. Also just possibly the greatest English leader of the last millennium.
Second, since leftist Kinsley could hardly be expected to admire Churchill for the mere achievement of saving Western civilization, which civilization all proper leftists today regard as odious, we can move on to a significant political figure no doubt dearer to him. Franklin D. Roosevelt had his own self-destructive "issues." Paraplegic and wheelchair-bound from the age of 39, Roosevelt worsened his health by soothing his nerves and alleviating the burdens of office with a lifetime pack-a-day habit and a much greater daily intake of booze than was wise.
In the end, Roosevelt probably paid for his personal weaknesses, dying of a stroke at 63, while Churchill amazed his doctors 'til the age of 90.
More pertinently, for those concerned with civilizational survival, it's fair to suppose that Churchill's and Roosevelt's personal weaknesses were more than a little overshadowed by their wartime leadership that culminated in the defeat of the Nazis and Japanese militarists.
As for the present, if the American political process can cough up a personality with the courage, vision, and talent to unshackle our potentially phenomenally productive economy; place our entitlements on a reasonable and sustainable basis; face down our bloated, self-serving, and endlessly avaricious public bureaucracy; and defend the nation and its borders vigorously, effectively, and unapologetically from all enemies, I for one am willing to accord whoever that may be any legal comforts he needs or wants, including those deleterious to health.
I suspect that ninety percent of Americans, though their wish list in a president might differ from mine, after compiling it would feel just as I do.
What are you going to do after your career in public commentary, Michael?