Posted on 02-11-2009
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

An amusing read from TNR tracing the political travails of portly American politicians in the past 100 years.  The current gaunt post-bypass physique of Bill Clinton and his two workout obsessed successors have caused some of the memories of the chubbier 42nd President (referred to in the article) to fade somewhat.

The article also questions whether a candidate built on the proportions of a beached whale like Taft would be electable today.  Just as media types joke about broadcasters with faces made for radio, the downside of the television age (starting with the infamous Nixon-Kennedy debate) has been the propensity to bring out telegenic empty shirts over perhaps more qualified candidates (a tendency that unfairly seems even more pronounced for female candidates).

In the interest of fairness it must be noted that not all the made for TV candidates are intellectual lightweights or shallow cads, and this sentiment was not entirely absent before television. The Republican Party bosses in 1920 gave this country Warren Harding who “looked presidential”.

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