Christie Is Overweight: Does It Matter?


The race for the GOP nomination is, at the moment, preoccupied with one topic: Is Chris Christie too fat to run for president?

The question was raised on The View and is being debated in numerous media outlets from the New York Times to David Letterman to the Washington Post. Photos of Christie next to Obama taken when the two toured Hurricane Irene-flooded New Jersey make it very clear: Christie would not find sitting in econo-class to his liking.

As Jonathan Chait writes in New York Magazine, Christie’s weight shouldn’t be an issue in his candidacy. The fact that “American elites” are making an issue about it shows how they are “repulsed at the notion that a very fat guy could rise to a position of symbolic leadership.” More to the point are Christie’s positions on issues ranging from climate change (he says that the science about human behavior playing a role in global warming is “undeniable”), to his support of the federal assault weapons ban, to his 2008 statement (while a federal prosecutor) that “being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime.” Pundits are touting his success at putting New Jersey on a diet in a fiscal sense, as a result of putting a cap on property taxes, rolling back pension benefits and balancing the NJ state budget.

As a resident of New Jersey, I have been seeing the effects of what is in many ways a “forced” diet. Christie had singled out teachers (“welfare queens,” in the blustery parlance that so many are lauding as eloquence) and the teacher’s union, as well as a number of programs for women’s health and services for individuals with disabilities, as prime culprits for the “bloat” on the state’s budget. Christie has won praise and attention for his educational reforms which include a reevaluation of teacher tenure.

It’s been interesting seeing Christie, whose governing style (as displayed in the ugly fight over New Jersey’s budget this past summer) tends towards bullying, being transformed into Mr. Moderate, the new darling of the GOP. Back here in New Jersey, the effects of Christie’s “slim down fest” on the state have been gradually, inexorably taking their toll. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, higher than the national average of 9.1 percent. In chatting to the checkers at our local grocery store, I’ve realized that more and more of them are recent college graduates (often in education) who say there simply aren’t any jobs. My current students who are freshmen and sophomores are changing majors, adding minors and reconsidering their options to make the most of their four years in school, before they face a very uncertain job market.

Every year, my town hosts a sidewalk pick-up: Residents can (for a fee, of course) put old and broken furniture, basement junk, no-longer-needed children’s equipment and the like out and the town hauls it away. Every year, before the town’s trucks come by, people sort through the piles. Last year, they took everything except for some old planks and a plastic tabletop from a desk my husband had had since the 1960s. Someone did take the metal legs of the table, unscrewing them and tossing them into the back of a pickup truck. After Hurricane Irene flooded thousands of homes in my town, people searched through the piles of water-damaged items stacked on front lawns.

Christie is in the spotlight for implementing something like the austerity measures that Greece’s government is. Analysts are warning that Greeks and others have had so many austerity reforms (and new taxes) heaped onto them that people are reaching a breaking point. The fiscal “diet” that Christie has put New Jersey on is creating just such unease and malaise.

Christie won the governorship in a campaign that emphasized he was a “regular guy” who understood what it’s like to be an ordinary Jerseyan. As he jets from one fund-raising dinner to another (who knows where next? Christie has made it clear, he doesn’t have to tell NJ residents his whereabouts), it’s debatable whether Christie is feeling the pain and pangs of Jerseyans who are tightening their belts. His plate right now is very full.


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Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

Well, Christie calls public school teachers a bunch of welfare queens. Yet as president, which he is running for, he will end up being paid by taxpayers, because he will be a public worker, with benefits much greater than what teachers ever saw or will ever see. Does this mean he is a wannabe welfare queen?

On top of which, if he were an overweight woman, you better bet that weight would be a great factor. It's just sad that rather than bringing women up to the respect level that we all deserve as human beings, men are brought down as a scale number and objectified.

What in the world is this country coming to? This makes me sad.

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson4 years ago

Another moot red herring!

Sheila D.
Sheila D.4 years ago

I'm finding it hard to connect the headline with the contents of this particular article. And from the comments I've read, it only gets worse. As for the headline; who really cares whether he's overweight as long as he can do the job? Doesn't much matter at this point as he has decided not to run.

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

Have I missed something? Has this site been renamed Hate2? You turn your back for 5 minutes and these Care2 comments boards have become an excuse for bloodletting. I wish people would take this viciousness away somewhere and bury it!

David C.
David Connally4 years ago

@Diane O

Re Privatizing SS
The financial sector would love an extra $600 billion per year to invest – commissions and management fees. How would the markets would respond to such a large influx of cash. P/E’s crazy high? Corporate bond yields drop as the extra money shows up?

What would happen if we had privatization and a company handling funds went bankrupt. Would the government back up pension funds? If they didn’t, there would be many people up the creek – literally starving. If they did, it might encourage the company to take risks, knowing they were backed up.

SS has an insurance aspect. If you die prematurely, your family gets benefits. Particularly if you have children, this is worth much more than just getting the value of the funds you have contributed. After you die, your spouse gets your benefit for life. (If both husband and wife are receiving SS, the surviving spouse gets the higher of the two benefits). If you become disabled, you get benefits. Your annual benefits are tied to the urban-worker CPI. Any annuities include these features?

Why do you think so many pension and endowment funds are in trouble?

Why do you say SS is unsustainable? It currently has $2+ trillion in assets, invested in treasuries. Do you think US treasuries are a shaky investment? We’d be in deep s**t if the world had that view. A small tweak can keep SS going.

Diane O.
Diane O.4 years ago

I believe our generation started working sooner than our own children. I started working full-time during the summers and on weekends at our local hospital at the age of 15. It was the norm rather than unusual. Many of us were taught to save and buy our own clothes, cars, etc. What we are experiencing now is watching our grown children struggle more financially than we did. Education is extremely important more so now than ever before. As a baby boomer, my focus is on my grandchildren who, I feel, will require master's degrees in order to get a regular job. The world is changing and we need to keep up with the changes and prepare for the future by preparing our children with the tools they'll need to support themselves and their families.

Texas has three counties who opted out of social security 30 years ago and they are doing remarkably well and will receive retirement payouts double what social security provides. They haven't lost one dime on their investment. George W. Bush was right when he stated that we should be looking into private investments for our retirement. It has been proven to work. Perhaps that is the future for our children. Change is inevitable. The sooner we face the fact that social security isn't sustainable the better off we'll be. You can research three counties in Texas to verify this information.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

Oh, and by the way I started working when I was 13 years old, part time. I got a job in a restaurant when I turned 15 years old. When I grew up I worked at the the Auto Club, and then at Kaiser Hospital. Anyone who assumes that people who support workers rights and Union rights with decent pay and benefits is just sitting on their couch doing nothing is, well you know what they say about people who assume. In my spare time I cooked dinner every night for my family which included four children, as well as all the chores and activities that go along with a big family. It doesn't take long to type out a few blogs. Sorry to disappoint you tea party wing nuts.

Dotti Lydon
Dotti Lydon4 years ago

Agree, Sharon. Care2 does need some serious maintainence. Does no good to contact Customer Service. My Messaging Service has not worked for months and months. Reported to C.S. X3.

Sharon H.
Sharon H.4 years ago

Now they're back...the other comments weren't even about this thread. Care 2 needs some serious maintenance...

Sharon H.
Sharon H.4 years ago

What the heck happened to the three hundred and some posts that was here a couple of hours ago?