Chris Christie–Don’t Shoot the Messenger

February 8th, 2013

Former White House physician, Dr. Connie Mariano, found herself on the angry end of Chris Christie’s tongue when she observed that he may want to cut out the doughnuts—even in jest—or risk an unhappy ending.

Governor Christie angrily responded that the good doctor, who served in the White House for nine years working for three presidents, should just “shut up.”  He didn’t stop there.  He added that he thought she was “just another hack who wants five minutes on TV.” He did, however, acknowledge that his own doctor has told him that while he’s “healthy” for his weight right now, his “luck is going to run out soon.”

Given how he responded to Dr. Mariano, you have to wonder if his own doctor’s advice was tempered somewhat by the fact that he obviously doesn’t like people criticizing him about his weight.

I totally understand how he feels.  People hate it when their obvious flaws are pointed out by other people.  It’s really none of their business, right?

I might walk through the mall with enough shopping bags that I look like a pack mule and my credit card bill might be as thick as the Yellow Pages (it’s not, I promise), but I’m not going to respond very kindly if someone takes it upon themselves to share their opinion that I’m a “shopaholic.”

Same thing with weight.  I don’t want to hear anyone else tell me that I’ve put on a few pounds. Do you think I don’t know that?  It’s not like I’m a vampire and can’t see myself in the mirror.  Sucking it all in to button an article of clothing or heaven forbid, having said button fly off with such force that it could take someone’s eye out is all the “evidence” I need that I may not really need the chips and queso as much as I think I do.

Still, I think Christie’s reaction was a little excessive.  I know he’s made a reputation for speaking his mind, but on this one, I think he would have been better served to leave it alone.

Christie most likely wants to run for president in 2016.  While his weight won’t be the main issue, it’s likely to come up and he really won’t help himself if he just gets mad when it does.

As he proceeds through the campaign, he’s likely to draw some comparisons to President William Howard Taft who at 5 feet 11.5 inches tipped the scales at about 340 pounds.

What is President Taft most remembered for?

According to White House lore, he once got stuck in the White House bathtub.  Whether true or not, it’s pretty sad that most Americans are inclined to believe it.

There’s also the true story about a telegram Taft sent to Secretary of War Elihu Root before becoming president.  The telegram read, “Took long horseback ride today; feeling fine.”  Root responded, “How’s the horse?”

The fact that Taft died from heart disease shouldn’t surprise anyone.  He actually tried to lose weight throughout his life and obviously was unsuccessful. Reportedly, he often felt pretty depressed about that fact.  Today, we have medical ways to help people like Taft.  He may well have sought that kind of help if he’d had the opportunity.  One thing he never did is tell anyone to just “shut up” about his obvious weight problem.

There is much to appreciate about Chris Christie’s straightforward approach to people and issues.  I’m not entirely sure this is one of those times.  Now that he’s taken his shot at Dr. Moriano, hopefully, quietly for his own sake, he’ll take her advice.