Monday, August 01, 2005

"Most-Fit" Executive Ever?!?!?! Physical Well-Being and Politicians

The Drudge Report (not a real blog - I know, I know) gives details on the much-reported Presidential physical examination conducted late last week. As you've read, President Bush by and large passed his physical with flying colors.

Now, this is a true radio talk-show issue, and little more. Hannity and Limbaugh no doubt spent time lauding President Bush as a man who - astoundingly - is able to dedicate so much time to making the hard decisions and leading the war on terror while still qualifying as in the 99th percentile for physical fitness of men his age. A few notches down the dial, Al Franken's callers probably raged that President Bush is focusing on his fitness at the expense of tending to far more important issues and issues more relevant to his job. After all, some caller no doubt said - or should have if he wanted to get a laugh - that if we wanted a president who religiously rode the bike each morning, Lance Armstrong would be sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom.

In the end, the question to be asked is: Who really cares? Forty or fifty years ago, before C-SPAN or, more importantly, Fox News and MSNBC, physical fitness and even appearance were far lesser concerns among politicians. Now, though, with 'likability' ranking high on the list of voters' concerns, this weekend's news has most certainly had an impact on how people see President Bush - and probably not just how they see him as a private citizen. Some people - and this writer is one of them - see the development as just a little bit depressing.

A little historical perspective, if I may: one of the most tirelessly hard-working politicians in recent times, Lyndon Johnson, was known for having tremendous physical crises during his most grueling periods in the House, the Senate, and the White House. During his first successful Congressional racein 1937, Johnson campaigned for weeks through nearly unbearable abdominal pain. It turned out that his appendix was on the verge of bursting. LBJ also had a massive heart attack in 1955 as he was adjusting to the sometimes 19- or 20-hour work days that accompanied his new position as Majority Leader. During those first months on the job, he gained 35 pounds. The point? Just that a lack of physical fitness is probably more indicative of a hard worker than the opposite physical condition.


At 2:51 PM, Blogger wfoley said...

good point about LBJ

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Mr. Snitch said...

Sad but true, we all come to look like the way we spend our time. Politics, well-pursued, is an unhealthy lifestyle. We've seen a few (very few) pics of Arnold without a shirt since he's been in office. He's not Pumping Iron Arnold anymore.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Jack said...

ha! good point about arnold, maybe the polls are getting him down, or maybe he's just working too darn hard on policy. Hopefully the latter, but the most California voters don't seem to acknowledge and/or appreciatee this effort.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Perhaps President Bush has his eyes on something a little bit more physically challenging for his post-presidential job. He's always wanted to be the commissioner of Major League Baseball; maybe he's trying to show the ballplayers that you can stay in great shape without using chemical enhancements. Assuming he doesn't do 'roids, he's a good example.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Jack said...

hey, if roids help politicians make better policy, sounds like a good deal to me. Cheat ahead!


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