With two days to go before the NJ governor's election and the race basically a dead heat between Corzine and Christie, I'll go out on a limb and make a prediction: Christie will lose. My prediction is based not on the pusillanimous campaign that he has run, or the votes that Daggett is sure to steal from him, or the fact that NJ has traditionally been a Demo state. Christie has the ability to overcome these negatives. Remember, a couple of months ago he had a comfortable lead over the unpopular Wall Streeter, Corzine. How can anyone really get excited about Corzine, who comes across as an smug, aloof college professor who inherited a substantial trust fund. The race has always been Christie's to lose.
The reason that Christie will lose is that he's fat.
Fat people evoke mixed feelings, positive and negative. Jolly is a positive word that we usually apply to fat people, i.e. jolly old St. Nick. We often think of fat people as fun, funny, rambunctious, like Falstaff, Fatty Arbuckle, John Candy, John Beluschi. We all have that fat friend whom we tend to call when we want to have a few beers and a slab of baby-backs while catching a game at the local sports bar. Yet, this stereotype of a fat person has at the same time a negative connotation of being undisciplined, slightly out-of-control, liable to hurt himself and others. Again, think John Candy, John Beluschi, Chris Farley, all three of whom died young from insatiable appetites that led to self-destruction. Fatty Arbuckle was America's favorite clown until he got charged with raping a young starlet. Lack of self-control can sometime be laughable, but also scary, pitiful. And that seems to be the common denominator that underlies our perceptions, both positive and negative, of fat people; namely, they are undisciplined slobs.
History shows that we rarely elect a fat person to office. Reports claim that a third or more of Americans are obese, but how many obese congressmen can you think of? We haven't elected a fat President since Howard Taft, who was mediocre in everything but his prodigious capacity to eat. Al Gore dropped thirty something pounds when he decided to run for President because he knew that a triple chin would turn voters off. After losing to W., he evidently ate his sorrows away, his face taking on porcine features like squinty eyes and fulsome cheeks.
Maybe the reason that we don't elect fat people to office is that we see in them too much of ourselves, or at least too much of what we don't like about ourselves. As much as we hate to admit it, we know that Europeans are on to something when they accuse us of being self-indulgent, spoiled, conspicous consumers. The Pursuit of Happiness has it darker outcomes, among which are those extra twenty pounds around the mid-drift.
Corzine's campaign ads sublty take advantage of Christie's "portly" physique by displaying full length photos of him in all his slovenly glory. One ad accuses Christie of "throwing his weight around."
The great irony of this campagin will be that Christie lost because he didn't have the guts to trim down his gut. Okay, that pun was too thin by any measure.