Thursday, October 6, 2011

Christie, Fat Jokes, and the 2012 GOP Nomination

As a native of New Jersey, I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Chris Christie. Still I was intrigued by his potential late entry into the Presidential race as a contender for the 2012 GOP Nomination.

Alas, Christie will not be running for President in 2012, choosing instead to continue to focus on unfinished business in New Jersey.

This announcement left many Republicans in the tri-state area disappointed and also meant that late-night comedians would have to abandon their "Christie fat jokes" in favor of new material.

Christie, who is both aware of and sensitive about his weight problem, took the jokes in stride. In a press conference (the highlights of which are featured in this clip from Tuesday's episode of The Daily Show), Christie suggested that he cares more about the comedy actually being funny than the repeated references to his larger-than-average physique.

An active discussion of Christie's weight problem did surface on the blogsphere last week alongside speculation of a potential Christie candidacy. For some, Christie's weight raised important concerns about his health and his potential ability to govern. For others like Frank Bruni of The New York Times all of the discussion of Christie's weight in connection with his qualifications for President was a bit overblown:

"Downgrade Christie for his truculent style. Reject him for his limited experience. But don’t dwell on his heft, at least not to the extent that many Americans have been whispering — and some are now outright saying — you should. Girth doesn’t equal character. And mettle has better measurements than the number of scoops in your post-dinner sundae or miles in your pre-breakfast run."

Weight issues aside, Christie would be a stronger candidate in 2016 after he's had more time and experience as a politician in his newish role as Governor of New Jersey. At the same time, he'd also be better able to manage the rigors of a national campaign if he was able to trim down over the next few years. After all a national campaign is grueling for even the most fit of presidential candidates.

In the meantime, NJ can keep Christie and late-night comedians can move beyond the fat jokes. There's plenty to make fun of when it comes to Perry and Romney after all.

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