New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is one very popular politician. In fact, he may well be one of the few politicians these days that is generally well-liked by a majority of the populace: liberal, conservative and independents alike. His approval numbers in his home state of New Jersey are amazing – 90% of Republicans approve of the job he is doing and (shocker!) even 62% of Democrats give him a thumbs up.
Chris Christie was already a rising star in the Republican Party before Hurricane Sandy. He was invited to speak in a prominent role at the Republican convention in August. While some criticized the speech as self-serving, others acknowledged that Christie might have been astutely reading the tea leaves. Nominee Mitt Romney was not generally well-liked even within his own party and perhaps Christie didn’t see any particular benefit in spending precious political capital (and prime-time airtime) in trying to “sell” Romney. In any case, a mere two months later, New Jersey was hit with Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie more than proved his mettle. His efforts on behalf of his constituents hit by the storm were extraordinary. He tirelessly pursued every avenue to secure assistance for New Jersey. In doing so, he wasn’t shy about cozying up to President Obama. While some partisan conservatives didn’t like this (especially just mere weeks before the Presidential election), most people understood and appreciated his motives. Finally, we were witnessing a politician with the guts to throw partisan politics out the window and Do The Right Thing. How refreshing.
Fast forward to 2013. Obama has been sworn in for a second term. The Republican party is seen to be in disarray by many (most?) pundits. There is one Republican sitting pretty though and it’s Governor Christie. It seems as though the 2016 presidential race is starting even earlier this year (how is that possible?) Many are already predicting a Hillary Clinton win on the Democratic side. (And to be honest, I’d love that, but geez, talk about jumping ahead of ourselves!) Chris Christie is one of a small handful of names that are being tossed out as serious contenders on the Republican side for 2016. And it should be all good for Christie, even if this discussion is being had very (very!) early in the game. Christie has insanely good poll numbers, he is bright, attractive, relatively young and he is a Bruce Springsteen fan to boot. (Ok, I might be betraying my bias here. I guess a Presidential candidate doesn’t have to love Bruce.)
But, Christie does have one weighty problem and yes, it is his weight. Last week the topic came up yet again. Christie good naturally poked fun at himself during an appearance on the David Letterman show. And then former White House physician Connie Mariano put her two cents in — publicly commenting that she was afraid Christie could die in office due to his weight. Christie’s shoot from the hip reaction was one many have come to expect from him and it revealed both his best and worst character traits – he’s blunt and he’s a little TOO blunt (for a politician anyway). Christie told Mariano to “shut up.” He also pointed out that the good doctor did not have access to his medical records and had never personally examined him.
Still, the issue of Christie’s weight does not appear likely to go away. For one, it’s a good news story — combining two of the things Americans love to talk (and obsess) about — politics and weight. And it’s not something that can be swept under the carpet. Unlike Obama’s smoking (which supposedly is now in the past), the evidence of Christie’s unhealthy lifestyle is right in front of us.
Does Christie’s weight influence your thinking as to whether he’s qualified to be President? How much is the public entitled to know about the health of those we select as our leaders?
Anya@IW has written for ImperfectWomen.com since 2009. She dutifully follow current events and pop culture and loves having a platform to share her imperfect opinions.