Thursday, August 6, 2015

What I hope the Republicans get asked about tonight

Future presidential candidate Tom Cotton has a runner's build.
Source: Huffpost
Tonight kicks off the Republican presidential campaign in earnest, with the first debate in Ohio. These things are catnip for political junkies, and they long ago stopped revealing actual policy insights about candidates. That's why I'd love it if the moderators asked a question about personal fitness and the importance (or unimportance) of body fat percentage to electoral and political capability.

Mike Huckabee in part built his initial presidential campaign on losing a ton of weight and leveraging the health and fitness angle to soften his bigoted totalitarian religious brand. Even though he's gained it all back, his stature was permanently raised.

Chris Christie passed on his hot presidential moment last cycle and opted for lap-band surgery to try and slim down before 2016. It sort of worked, but he continues to field questions and scorn about the issue.

Jeb Bush has long been explicit about his rapid weight loss as a necessary component of a serious presidential run.

Aside from being an off base question that might prompt meaningful and personal responses from the candidates, obesity and the epidemic of metabolic syndrome in the US is a very real public policy topic that deserves more attention.

This is actually a (rare) health-related issue that the Republicans likely have an advantage on. Mistaken government intervention into nutrition recommendations screwed up out dietary habits for a generation; insane trade, food safety and distribution regulations distort the market and protect huge ag empires and peddle unhealthy food; Michelle Obama pathetically caved to special interests by quietly shifting her public initiatives towards exercise and away from diet.

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