Big Daddy

Dear Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
Why is it that people who run for office or work for the Legislature feel
that they have to lose weight? I have a number of friends who went to work
for legislators, and it seemed that losing weight suddenly became part of
their job descriptions. I like skinny people as much as the next person, but
I like a plus-size more. Is anorexia a contagious Capitol malady?
–Average in Alhambra

Dear Average-
While beauty may be only skin deep, most candidates for public office prefer
their skin to be not nearly as deep as their opponent’s. Most folks are
looking for any edge they can get, and if looking more beautiful and svelte
than their opponent gives them an edge, they’ll take it, even if it means
eating rabbit food for a finite period of time.

The most recent well-known shedder of pounds is California’s lieutenant
governor and Democratic nominee for insurance commissioner. It seems to Big
Daddy that the lieutenant governor got more press attention over his weight
loss than he did for anything else during eight years in the pulse-checking
office he holds, save for the time he tried to have both the cherry pie and
the plate of brownies by running for governor (though he said he wasn’t
really running) in the 2003 gubernatorial-recall election.

Now, if weight loss is where it’s at for free media, just think of what a
little weight loss could have done for John Kraft, the lieutenant governor’s
opponent in the insurance commissioner race last week. He got 600,000 people
to vote for him, nearly 30 percent of the ballots cast in the Democratic
primary, without one drop of fourth-estate ink about his weight loss (or,
frankly, anything else about him). Now, I have no idea if Mr. Kraft actually
needs to lose weight, but if his mom really did invent Macaroni & Cheese,
chances are a little time on the treadmill wouldn’t be the worst thing in
the world for him. If that’s the case, then using the standard “pound a
point” method of turning weight loss into voter gain, if he’d dropped just
21 pounds and asked reporters to follow him around while tossing low-fat
Kraft American singles to crowds from Crescent City to San Ysidro, he could
have been the Democrats’ nominee for insurance commissioner.

If only I’d been able to lose eight more pounds in November 1970,
California’s history might be a whole lot different. I probably wouldn’t
have been a helluva lot of fun to be around while trying to shave off those
final eight, but maybe it would have been worth it. I’ll blame that on Sam
Yorty, too, that SOB only got 26 percent of the vote that June but he made
my life miserable.

Frankly, from what I’ve seen, far too many Sacramento newcomers are hit with
the opposite problem, something the college kids used to call “the Freshman
15.” In the case of some of these freshman Assembly persons, the problem
looks to be more like “the Freshman 40.” Believe me, I can appreciate anyone
with a hearty appetite and heaven knows I love someone who can eat a
lobbyist’s food, drink their liquor … you get the idea. However, watching
some of these folks eat makes me wonder if they’ve never seen a chicken wing
and ranch dressing paired up before. I realize things are tough in Weed,
Tulare, Rialto and some of California’s other less well-known garden spots,
but don’t these people go to the movies?

Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where they kept the money.
If you’re looking for a political plus-sizes, stop hanging out in the
Capitol and start spending your time at some of the Capitol’s finer eateries
after 5:00 p.m., where on any night of the week you’re bound to stumble into
a political fund-raiser of sorts. There, you’ll be able to cast your net
over two different types of buffets.

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