Monday, November 26, 2007

Campaign Weight Gain

Very interesting video.....
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=5199366&ch=4226716&src=news The video is called "Campaign Weight Gain"

Why do the presidential have to pretend that they like to eat unhealthy food to relate to "the common person"? Do we see our political leaders as representing the good and the bad of American culture? Shouldn't they represent only the good, be the person you look up to?

4 comments:

katrina337 said...

Well...isn't a large part of corporate America based on the food we eat? America's fairly notorious for the obesity epidemic and the large amounts of unhealthy food consumed by the general population, thus to actually be "one of the people" as a good president is said to be, they would need to mimic that, would they not?

I don't really think they should represent only the good. I mean, cultures are made of a mixture of good and bad, are they not? So if we actually wanted someone who would represent the culture of america, we would need someone who represents both.

Rachel said...

What I got from this clip is that their eating habits are part of who they are - they shouldn't change their image because it will be broadcasted across the nation, although it is inevitable that they do (politics and sense perception for ya). I want to see a potential president for what they are, rather than the epitome of the "common man." I don't want to elect the "common man" into presidency. I realize that I do have a bias towards thin people over obese ones (thanks to that online harvard bias survey) so I suppose I have an underlying desire to see a president, or anyone, who resists the temptation of fatty, unhealthy foods, and maintains physical fitness.

SamE said...

One theory: You have to remember, staying away from good (not necessarily healthy) food is probably not considered universally "bad". It can, at least indirectly, make people seem stand-offish, like they don't want to gorge themselves in local favorites, and imply perhaps that they don't want to engage themselves in local affairs. So they have to make themselves appear sociable, which at least means behaving like the people they are around.

Another interpretation: I don't want to elect the common man. But I also don't want to elect a weirdo who doesn't have anything in common with what I perceive as the US. Fries, eggs, hamburgers are unfortunately symbols of America, and rejecting our symbols because they're fattening sounds a lot like rejecting the US because we are fat.

A cynical interpretation: Well, political leaders are mostly in it for the fame and power, so they obviously don't have much self-control. Why would we expect them to hold off on the good-tasting food?

Another interpretation: Well, political leaders really aren't that different from us anyway. We're the ones expecting them to go out of the norm to be different when they really aren't. If you picked 10 random people from across America, their set of eating habits would be quite similar to the set of eating habits we see among presidential hopefuls. This would especially be true if you controlled factors such as education or parental income in your random sampling to match the trends in presidential hopefuls.

Another cynical interpretation: This isn't news. Politicians aren't special in any sort of way. This news story was probably paid by the presidential hopefuls who appear on it, just to get more publicity.

My synthesis: In general, politicians want to behave like they perceive the majority of people want them to behave. If their perception is that people want them to behave one way, such as when Hilary Clinton was at some sort of a fair thing, where "you could get anything on a stick." She probably perceived that people wanted her to eat something, so she did. Similarly, if Rudy Guiliani thinks Americans want to see him eating pizza, he will eat pizza. There probably are also some "that's how everyone is" effects, but I would argue that since these are (based on their track records) some of the best politicians in the US, and much of politics in the US is image (a statement that I can't really back up, but accept based on authority), then (logically) these politicians are good at portraying image, so they have trained themselves to look for and do the things that they think people want them to do.

penguin said...

Being a politician is a job that can add a lot of pounds to anyone. Where is it that most of these political meetings take place? Food establishments. Politicians sometimes have a dozen different meetings in a day that are all a "breakfast," "brunch," "lunch," or "dinner" meeting.

To answer your first question: I do not believe politicians have to "pretend" to eat unhealthy to relate to the common person. I believe that these people must show an appreciation for food due to the fact that this represents an acceptance of culture. Every food may be enjoyed with some needing to be enjoyed in moderation. Political leaders are not to represent the good or bad of America but simply represent America. Unfortunately our country is in a position that we may not appreciate but we must accept that change must be made. Political leaders should not only represent the "good." This word is entirely subjective. Is abortion a "good" or a "bad" thing? We must have leaders that represent both sides to have a truly fair government.

-Graham P