The “It’s Not My Bigotry” Dodge

I don’t want to devote a lot more time to someone who’s not going to run for president, but the overclass moral panic reaction to Chris Christie’s potential run does reveal some interesting things.    First, the preferred line of the “Christie’ weight is relevant” brigade here seems to be the very familiar bigotry-once-removed argument.   That is, “I’m not saying that I wouldn’t vote for a person of color/woman/LBGT/overweight person, but lots of other people wouldn’t, so we’d better confine ourselves to slender white guys.”   Aside from the fact that this involves projection about 99% of the time, in the case of Christie (who did, after all, get elected governor of a blue state) there’s no actual evidence that it’s true.   Although admittedly people who prefer to ascribe their bigotry to third parties will have some empirical evidence should an overweight woman seek a major party nomination.  Since I’m not a reactionary, I’m not inclined to blithely accept this status quo either.

I would also note that this is completely irrelevant to the arguments made by Kinsley and Robinson.   They didn’t argue that Christie couldn’t become president; they argued that his weight makes him unqualified to be president.   Bigotry just doesn’t get a lot more stark.    Christie’s size isn’t evidence of some moral failing, and as governor he’s been all too competent at achieving his ends.   There are plenty of good reasons why Christie shouldn’t be president, but whether people have the guts to make the argument themselves or pretend to be discussing someone else this one is very dumb and very offensive.

27 comments on this post.
  1. actor212:

    overclass moral panic reaction

    “Overclass”? Them’s some high falutin’ words yer using agin a passel of libruls…

  2. Ed Marshall:

    Ok, everytime I see the man, what goes through my head is “fat ass, fucking Chris Christie”. What amount of guilt am I supposed to feel about it?

  3. Jonathan Keller:

    I think also that another way this has been expressed is the “b/c of his weight, he won’t be able to handle the rigors of a national campaign.” I wonder about that one too.

  4. Njorl:

    We just elected a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. If the Republicans nominated a fat guy named Ho Chi Mussolini, then they’d be getting close to even ground as far as electoral prejudice is concerned.

    I think the real problem Republicans have with Christie is that he’s not cruel enough. I haven’t followed him closely, but he seems to just be very pro-wealth and anti working man. Anyone can be cruel when money is on the line. Republicans want a candidate who sees the value in cruelty for its own sake.

  5. actor212:

    He was hospitalized with an obesity-triggered asthma attack this summer.

  6. mb:

    I’m a fat guy.

    I’d never vote for a man as fat as I am for President — for a myriad of reasons.

    I think there is a world of difference between being governor of NJ (or any other state) and president of the US. The challenges/rigors, etc. are not even comparable.

    This is an academic argument because, not only is Christie not going to run, we will never have the opportunity to vote for a man as fat as Christie is (now) for president. Just isn’t going to happen. If Christie takes the plunge again in 20XX, he will have lost 100-200 lbs first. It is (and I think he understands this as well as I do) a prerequisite to a serious run for the nomination.

  7. rm:

    Maybe none, but you’re supposed to recognize intellectually that his weight has nothing to do with why he is a fucking asshole. And I assume you don’t say stuff like that out loud to people.

  8. efgoldman:

    He’s a bully and a liar, Christie is. I think today’s TeaTard GOBP thinks of those as features, not bugs.
    On the other hand, he has spoken out (and acted) just as forcefully – by appointing a Muslim judge, for instance – against some of the GOBP’s core prejudices, as he has against, for instance, teacher’s unions.

  9. Paul Campos:

    This is based on the universally recognized medical principle that every single health issue a fat person faces is caused directly by his weight, and would be cured by weight loss, which is achievable through simple lifestyle modifications.

  10. c u n d gulag:

    A couple of things – as a “Hefty-American,” or “Diet-Challenged,” one, I can vouch that there are times when there is a lot of prejudice towards us. But I’ll also say, I think it’s worse for women than it is for men. Not surprising, that…
    So, it could be a factor amongst people in the middle. The right will like the fact that Christie’s a bullying, kiss-up/kick-down, blowhard, and won’t care if he’s the 2nd coming of Twiggy, or Jabba the Hut. But his lack of Islamophobia, and acceptance of evolution and global warming will alienate him from the Bircherite true base.

    The second thing to remember is who Christie was running against when he won in NJ.
    The Democratic candidate was incumbent Governor Jon Corzine – the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. In 2009!!!
    And still, Christie, after having a massive early lead, only won by around 3.5%
    So, in other words, Christie didn’t win in NJ in a landslide against the single politician in the country who could be MOST associated with the Dep/Re/cession.
    And his popularity has been slipping rather dramatically in the past year or so in NJ. And not due to his weight, but to re-investigated ties to corruption, and his policies. And the only thing saving him from potentially truly horrible numbers in NJ is that his worst instincts, unlike Walkers and Kasich’s, get tempered through a Democratic Legislature, which saves him from himself. Otherwise, NJ might look like WI and OH right about now.

    Also, too NJ, like NY, has a long history of voting for Democrats for both the US Congress and the State legislature, while voting for Republican Governors as executives. NJ more often than NY recently.

  11. Ed Marshall:

    I can do that, is it still ok to laugh at the “downfall” video that has Hitler accusing Christie of taking Spandex pants as bribes from the Koch bros.?

  12. Ken Houghton:

    “in the case of Christie (who did, after all, get elected governor of a blue state”

    Uh, yes, running a stealth (read: lying) campaign in which he made very few public appearances (at least in the NYC-exurbs area), running against a governor who both allowed the state sales tax to rise (op cit. Florio, James) and was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

    Why the frack couldn’t you take him off our hands?

  13. Scott Lemieux:

    obesity-triggered

    In case anybody needed a proper example of what “begging the question” means.

  14. actor212:

    Excuse me, but Christie himself attributed the attack to that!

    If only there was some, you know, way to “google” information like that.

  15. actor212:

    But hey, don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good narrative, right?

  16. Hogan:

    Indeed.

    After leaving the hospital, Christie again acknowledged having trouble keeping down his weight, which was the subject of controversial campaign ads during the 2009 governor’s race against the incumbent Democrat, Jon Corzine. More recently, he has said he was working with a personal trainer in an effort to reduce weight.

    But, he said, his weight was not what set off his asthma Thursday, attributing it to the heat and humidity of recent days.

    “Despite the well chronicled issues of my weight, I’ve been healthy by the normal indicators,” he said.

  17. cpinva:

    chris christie could be jabba the hut’s evil twin for all i care, if he wasn’t chris christie, born-again asshole. of course, chris christie, born-again bank lobbyist doesn’t help his cause with me either.

    the bottom line: there are multiple reasons to not vote for chris christie, his weight isn’t one of them.

  18. CJColucci:

    Christie has decided not to run. Someone has to say it — no guts.

  19. ploeg:

    I would not say a word about our dear governor’s weight.

    I would say that our dear governor took “riding a helicopter ride to my son’s baseball game” to a new level by ordering a car to drive him the 100 yards from the helicopter landing site to the bleachers.

  20. ajay:

    I think there is a world of difference between being governor of NJ (or any other state) and president of the US. The challenges/rigors, etc. are not even comparable.

    Bear in mind that previous presidents have weighed 300lb (Taft), been pretty much unable to walk (FDR), had Alzheimer’s (Reagan) or been paralysed by strokes (Wilson). If anything, it seems the physical fitness standards for being President are rather less demanding than they would be for being a bus driver or shelf stacker.

  21. Anonymous:

    I agree. The problem with Corpulent Christie is not that he is fat. It’s that he is a corrupt, lying, arrogant fat bully. If he were a corrupt lying arrogant skinny bully like the Governor of Florida, he still would be unacceptable as a president.

  22. NEX-C3:

    Някои наистина ме written.Aided много интересни подробности, точно това, което търсех: D.

  23. chris:

    Even if that were true, it wouldn’t make him right. He’s a politician, not a doctor.

  24. chris:

    Some of those weren’t widely known at the time of their election, though. IDK about Taft — maybe people used to not care as much about weight.

  25. Neocons:Munich :: Austerians:Stagflation - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money:

    [...] for other reasons anyway. It’s just overclass moral panic, identical to Kinsley’s silly arguments about Chris Christie. Other people have to suffer to pay for imaginary sins; that’s the whole argument. And you [...]

  26. Shantanu Saha:

    Well, every time I see the man, what goes through my head is “fucking Chris Christie.” I don’t hold his fat against him, being fat myself. I just think he is an ass, a tool for large corporations and vulture capitalists to control the Garden State and reduce the investment necessary to keep it viable for the future (which, you know, might impact the earnings they would receive right now).

  27. Richard Gadsden:

    Being fat was a marker of being rich. Then the industrial food industry arrived, and being fat became a marker of being poor.

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