by Michael Stewart Foley
Christie is attempting to unmake the legacy of New Jersey civil rights icon and fair housing activist Ethel Lawrence.
Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of "Jimmy Carter" and "Governing America." Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made headlines last week when one of his aides admitted that he had surgery to lose weight. Christie said that the surgery had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with his health and his family. Christie said: "It's not a career issue for me. It is a long-term health issue for me and that's the basis on which I made this decision. It's not about anything other than that."It is impossible to know whether we should take Christie at face value. Given that there has been ongoing speculation about his presidential aspirations for 2016, often coupled with discussions of his struggle with weight, it is certainly not unreasonable to wonder whether these are related.Why do Americans care about the weight of a candidate and why is appearance an issue in presidential elections? There is very little chance that the issue will go away. Certainly, old-fashioned bias has something to do with this concern....
Despite some tensions with his fellow Republicans, Chris Christie is well-positioned to become the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. He's poised to easily win another term as governor; he polls strongly against Hillary Clinton; and he's successfully tapped into voter discontent about the partisanship, political posturing, and general bullshittery that plagues Washington. There's just one problem: Christie is very overweight — so much so that one esteemed former White House physician (a Republican, in fact) is worried he could die in office....