I can’t help but observe that many of the early entrants and front-runners in the 2016 presidential election are a little on the heavy side. Or as Cartman would say: “I’m not fat, I’m festively plump.” Is it just me or are these four candidates big boned?
Maybe it is just winter insulation, holiday cheer, turkey and ham that I see, but it has me thinking about voter perceptions.
This post may seem trivial, even banal to some readers of Redstate, however my point is clear: image matters and perceptions effect reality. My qualitative analysis is based on the fact that the voting population will decide to elect our next president for reasons other than ideological stands on the key issues of our time. Instead, looks, wit and personality will weigh heavily in their choice. And, while politics is show biz for the ugly we still like our presidents to be on the vital side of the health spectrum.
Jeb Bush is looks a little big on screen. His name gives off the large vibe, it is very rotund in the writing. Also, Jeb sounds like the name of a guy who eats buffalo wings with Bubba. Even if he’s just tall at 6’3″ and he has a similar facial structure to Jay Leno, the jowly chin makes him look heavier than he may really be.
Chris Christie on the other hand is a plain large dude. If Rev. Al Sharpton can drop 167 pounds why not Chris Christie? He has apparently dropped between 50-100 due to Lap-Band surgery in February 2013, but he still looks large in recent photos and especially video. In many cases the stomach adjustment surgery doesn’t work long term because one’s appetite re-surges. If you look at the recent Cowboys game he’s a merry old soul in a red outfit and kinda late for Christmas.
Mike Huckabee looks like a southern preacher, because he is a southern preacher. There are many things I like about the guy, I think that he appeals to a broad base of middle-class America. And while his populism rhetoric may give some pause, I don’t think that it is a liability. I think his size may be a liability. He kind of reminds me of Bill Clinton from Arkansas hounding big Macs instead of taking a jog. I predict that prior to making the rounds for fund-raising donors he will shed some pounds. It may be the deciding factor for some.
No offense to Hillary Clinton but she doesn’t look tiny in many of her recent appearances. She’s had some health concerns lately. There are women out there who hold themselves a certain way and she is not one of them. I don’t think that she has to be petite to win, but she is into plus sizes. That means that certain camera angles will catch her over-sized pantsuits looking a little baloonish. I say this in the full knowledge that Chris Christie occasionally looks like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. All holiday themes aside…
What are the differences in optics presented by Barack Obama and yes even George W. Bush?
Both men were relatively slim and fit. Obama it seems has a natural slender body-type. Some people may say he looks athletic, but I’ve seen him throw a baseball and shoot hoops. I’d say that claims for his athleticism is more of a racial stereotype than a fact. Even some black men can’t jump or play ball. But, I like the fact that he gets out there and mixes it up on occasion. He certainly has an interest in sports. George W. Bush jogged regularly and presented himself as a hard-working, brush clearing, fence post digging cowboy. If nothing else he maintained a good diet and exercised.
Our last 2 two-term presidents were on the lean side.
How does this affect the 2016 campaign? I think there’s a real opportunity for [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ], Rick Perry, [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] and yes even Sarah Palin to triangulate the current incumbent crop of presidential candidates as the trim option for the electorate. As much as people might like to vote for someone like themselves, in many cases we also like people who represent our best aspirations both intellectually and physically.
Remember that presidential politics is really a popularity contest masked by policy positions, backed by social standing, industry and the donor-class. It’s not so far removed from student government and home coming King or Queen times 1000. Essentially we want somebody who could win an evening wear competition but who answers the question how would I change the world? in a credible way.
I’m not saying any of these people could not win because of their size. I am saying that rather superficial aspects of these men and women will have an effect on the 2016 race. And, I would recommend that the candidate who has and demonstrates the most energy and enthusiasm may very well win simply on gumption alone.
Therefore, we need a highly conservative Presidential nominee that also looks the part. The office of President of the United States is a package deal.