Too fat to be Governor?

The seven deadly sins are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Numbers one and three have felled many politicans in recent memory. But in the New Jersey governor’s race, #2 appears to be affecting the race. A recent ad by incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine accuses Republican challenger Chris Christie of “throwing his weight around” by using his position as U.S. Attorney to escape punishment for dangerous driving. The ad’s wording, along with the photos of Christie, is an obvious double-entendre about Christie’s heft. The political website 538 surveys all current Governors for their fatness, with accompanying pictures. A new poll from Public Policy Polling find that 4% of New Jersey voters are more likely to vote for Christie because of his weight, while 19% are less likely. Notably, among that 19%, the majority are not current Corzine supporters.

So what do you think? Is it legitimate to consider a candidate’s enormous weight? Only if the weight is a result of sin #2, rather than of some medical condition? Is it more important, less important, or equally important as any of the other deadly sins? Is Jon Corzine the right guy to be raising questions about dangerous driving?

New Jersey, by the way, has the 8th-lowest state obesity rate in the U.S., according to CalorieLab. In the Colorado, which has the lowest national rate, in four decades that I have been following Colorado politics, I cannot remember any candidate as heavy as Christie winning any statewide office. Maybe somebody can point out a Board of Regents election in 1970, but in Colorado, Christie’s size would definitely be a political disadvantage. Although, personally, I think that Christie’s much bigger disadvantage is that he has run an extremely vague campaign, hoping to win mainly on the strength of not being Jon Corzine. As the PPP poll shows, being “not Corzine” is a defnite advantage in New Jersey, but perhaps not sufficient in itself.