Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 12, 2006 / 12 Teves, 5766

A leader need not throw his weight around

By Garrison Keillor


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Everything was said that could be said about Ariel Sharon last week as he lay in a coma except the one thing that crossed the mind of every viewer watching newsreel footage of the prime minister, which was, "How much does that man weigh?"


(Answer: 255 pounds. And he's five-foot-seven.) He looked like a bull walrus ruling a colony of baby seals. And it made you wonder, how does tiny Israel come up with this family-size guy while the World's Only Superpower struggles along with a wiry little fellow who works very hard on his abs? Is it time we think about getting someone weightier?


We haven't had a fat president since William Howard Taft and that was at the tail end of the Gilded Age, when politicians were expected to be portly. We've had a few semi-beefy ones since (Harding, Hoover), and LBJ carried a potbelly, and Bill Clinton had his moments of bloat, but the American people, now that two-thirds of us are overweight, prefer that the Great White Father be lean, taut, angular, a runner or horseman or cutter of brush. Whereas a guy who looks like he'd be right at home in a Barcalounger with a can of Pabst in his mitt doesn't seem to fit the bill.


I suppose that a compact build indicates some sort of self-discipline, but discipline to do what? Look at Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot. None of them was a hearty eater, and for good reason: paranoia. When you're a megalomaniac, it takes away your appetite, thinking of all the folks who'd love to put rat poison in your ratatouille.


It is human to put butter on mashed potatoes and to choose the cheese plate instead of the lo-fat gelatin and to linger over the port wine and chocolates. The man who denies himself might satisfy his hungers elsewhere, promulgating reckless policies, such as a war against a nation that poses no threat to us and torturing those whom he deems enemies and detaining them at his pleasure and marching his troops into a quagmire. A fat man, someone who must heave himself to his feet in the morning and behold a great pile of flesh in the bathroom mirror, the matronly pectorals and the enormous haunches and spare tire, might be more circumspect. He already looks like an emperor, so he would try harder not to act like one.


The advance eulogies of Sharon spoke of his remarkable political shift, from right-wing warrior to moderate compromiser, and you thought, "This is the sort of man America needs right now. Maybe we've been looking at the wrong body type."


Fat men spend more time in contemplation, if only because they get winded climbing stairs and need to sit down. Because they jiggle when they walk, they may be less prone to delusions of grandeur. The fat man doesn't expect his supporters to hoist him to their shoulders. Nor does he hope to sneak around undetected. He is able to face up to his own mistakes. (How can he not? They are hanging over his belt.) He has lived with derision and that gives him a sense of compassion that may be lacking in a Medium or Small. And yet like Churchill, he knows what it's like to rouse oneself to heroic effort. Neville Chamberlain was the elegant guy in the 36 Extra Long who kept backing down from the Nazis. It was the Old Fat Man who spoke of blood, sweat and tears. He knew about sweat.


The top-ranking fat man in government today is Speaker of the House J. Dennis ("Coach") Hastert of Plano, Illinois, who for years has been two heartbeats away from the presidency, and one of those hearts has a pacemaker. Hastert favors a strong national defense and the education of our children while opposing tax increases of any kind, large or small. He is also in favor of life.


Sitting on the dais behind President Bush at the annual State of the Union address, the Speaker has never missed a single standing ovation. A fat man must get tired of jumping to his feet twenty times in a row, but the Speaker has always been there, clapping his big meaty hands. He would be the first Dennis to become president. And he would look more like us, the American people. Think it over.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles