December 12, 2012

He’s not too large to be president. His tie is too small. (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

As long as we’re speaking superficially about the 2016 field, how about Chris Christie? 

He was interviewed by Barbara Walters for her “Most Fascinating People of 2012″ special, during the course of which she referred to what she called the “elephant in the room” (never an optimal way of alluding to someone’s weight) and asked him if he thought he was “too heavy to be president.” He called the question “ridiculous” (“I mean, that’s ridiculous,” he elaborated.).

And quite right, too.

Look, William Howard Taft was fine. (In fact, one upside of Christie’s increased national profile is that we get to talk about the Taft presidency more.) 

Besides, there is good precedent for larger-than-life politicians. As Caesar says in “Julius Caesar,” “Let me have men about me who are fat.” Skinny people are dangerous, Caesar said. But too many of our modern politicians have what Caesar would have characterized as a “lean and hungry look,” or, just as alarmingly, a P-90X Level Fit look. It is these lean people who are determining what health care is going to look like for the rest of us; who are urging our children to move more; and who are setting fashions too small for much of the population to squeeze into.

Why not get someone who looks like America? It’s the presidency, not a theme park ride, for crying out loud. He’ll have his own airplane, so seat size won’t be a question. Besides, it’s not the size of a candidate’s waistline but the size of his ideas that matters. I doubt he’d even need to use the Taft four-man bathtub. 

Frankly, a bigger obstacle to his campaign right now might be his enthusiastic embrace of President Obama, a thin man.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.