The Spectacle Blog

On Weight Maintenance Talking Points

By on 1.6.08 | 10:15AM

Kerry Howley has a typically wonderful piece on Mike Huckabee up now. Here's the opening:

Pick an issue – any issue – being debated in the United States of America/>/> as we approach the 2008 elections, and Mike Huckabee can find a way to tell you that it won’t matter until we collectively slim down. Education? “Kids can’t learn,” he told Charlie Rose in November, “because they’re sick.” The economy? Obesity “will bankrupt this country,” he said in the same interview. The War on Terror? “National security,” he told me in November, “isn’t going to mean much if we have a generation of kids so physically incapacitated they can’t go to war.”

As campaign strategy, weight maintenance talking points are weirdly effective. Issues like global terrorism, failing public schools and the fragile economy are diffuse, impersonal, seemingly uncontrollable. In an election cycle where all of these issues fi gure prominently among Republican primary voters, Huckabee intimates that Americans can help allay their greatest anxieties by choosing salad over bacon. In the able hands of a former pastor, a story about overcoming obesity becomes one of shame, sacrifi ce and redemption.

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