Time magazine cover: Time editor, by way of explanation, says Chris Christie is a 'big Republican' and did a 'really huge thing' in winning reelection. Really? Sure looks like a reference to fat, a near taboo for US politicians. But maybe not for Christie.
Did Time magazine call New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, um, rotund? That’s a question rattling around media sites Friday, given that this week’s Time cover features a silhouette of the non-svelte but newly reelected Mr. Christie, and the title “The Elephant in the Room."
Time itself demurs. “He’s obviously a big Republican. But he’s also done a really huge thing here this week,” said Time Executive Editor Michael Duffy on MSNBC Thursday night.
Mr. Duffy went on to say that Christie had now established himself as a serious 2016 presidential contender and a cultural phenomenon on the level of Sarah Palin or maybe even Bill Clinton.
“He’s lifted himself beyond politics,” said Duffy.
Pshaw. Not to the phenomenon part – Christie has indeed vaulted to the front ranks of US politicians by winning big in a blue state. But as to the obese-shaming denial, that’s a crock. Any journalist who has ever been in a page one or cover story meeting would know otherwise. Editors spend huge amounts of time shuffling through photos and asking about their impact, and whether we should crop here, and if maybe this would be improved by a puppy. If you think they didn’t see the “fat” connection, you probably still believe Joe Biden dials his own phone calls.
Look, that’s perfectly legitimate. Christie talks publicly about his struggle with his weight. Generally speaking, political science shows that voters prefer attractive candidates. Think about hair – the last bald person to win a presidential election was Dwight Eisenhower. And he’d won World War II.