"He's too new ... and he needs to put some meat on his bones," says Diana Koenig, 42, a housewife in Corpus Christi, Texas, who says she voted for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. "I won't vote for any beanpole guy," another Clinton supporter wrote last week on a Yahoo politics message board. The last overweight president to be elected was 335-pound William Howard Taft in 1908. As for tall and lanky presidents, "you might have to go back to Abraham Lincoln" in 1860, says presidential historian Stephen Hess. "Most presidents were sort of in the middle."Someone on the AOL politics message board says it's that weird mole on his face that's the real non-starter. Jesus fucking Christ, people! There are two wars on, my rent is ridiculous, Osama's eating at Tavern on the Green right now, and the Chinese paramilitary cops have got Segways. The President They Deserve was the title of Englishman Martin Walker's biography of Bill Clinton, fat, mean-spirited sybarite. Funny because it's true. [Wall Street Journal]
Through clenched teeth, let us affirm that it's a sign of the health of our republic, and the strength of our two presidential candidates, that pettifogging bullshit has become a mainstay of this election. Questioning someone's experience, voting record, fidelity to core conservative or liberal values, vapidity on the stump? Fine. Arguing that so-and-so's name sure don't sound Iroquois like "Pat Buchanan," so clearly he can't be commander-in-chief? Decidedly less so. Now comes word, courtesy of the thwarted InStyle editors at the Wall Street Journal, that Obama might be too skinny to make the world safe for democracy.