The people have spoken. Averaging the 19 estimates offered by readers in TNR's comment section for this blog--including one that, annoyingly, required me to convert from kilograms to pounds--I arrive at a crowd-sourced weight estimate for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: 334 pounds. I initially planned to lower the mean figure by 10 points to correct for liberal bias. But on reflection I think there are probably two biases at work here. One is the liberal one, which would drive the estimates up. The other is a demographic one, which would drive the estimates down.
Is Chris Christie too fat to be elected president? Amid reports that the New Jersey governor has become the latest choice of the anybody-but-Romney movement to try to derail the remarkably tenacious Mormon, Christie’s waistline has once again become a national news story. All the anxieties currently being attached to the governor’s weight, however, are likely overblown.
The longing for a Chris Christie presidential run is baffling for many reasons. Among them is the fact that, ideologically, he actually isn't that conservative. As old friend Jonathan Chait writes today at his blog -- which, by now, you should have bookmarked -- Christie on Tuesday endorsed the Bowles-Simpson fiscal plan. As you may recall, Bowles-Simpson calls for reducing the deficit with a mix of spending cuts and, yes, tax increases. The ratio is roughly three-to-one, which makes it pretty conservative by my standards.
Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern AmericaBy Richard White (W.W. Norton, 660 pp., $35) I. The scene is iconic, known to many Americans even casually acquainted with their history. Locomotives of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads come engine grate to engine grate, separated by a mere railroad tie, at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, commemorating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.
Amid speculation that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will enter the presidential race, there's been some talk about the weight issue. How does it affect his health? Would voters judge him harshly for it? (Jon Corzine tried and failed to make an issue of it, obliquely, in the 2009 gubernatorial election.) I prefer the historical approach.
Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis last week was a poignant reminder of the continued presence of capital punishment in the United States. The Davis execution generated extraordinary interest because of troubling doubts about his guilt. Some observers have already speculated that the Davis case might serve as the spark that could reignite the movement to abolish the death penalty. But lost in some of the attention that the execution has generated is the death penalty’s unmistakable and precipitous decline over the past decade.
Take a look at these results from a CNN poll conducted Sept. 23-25 (i.e., after the most recent GOP presidential debate).
The latest wave of 2010 Census data, released this week, confirms what earlier surveys have strongly hinted: Virtually half of recent births in the U.S. are minorities. We are becoming a more globalized nation than most Americans have ever experienced. This great demographic change has potential long term benefits for our economic competitiveness in the international marketplace.
I was in bed at a New York hotel when my stock trader called to say that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. “A horrible accident,” he surmised, adding “unprecedented” to the presumption. He told me to turn on the “tube,” such nomenclature dating him as middle-aged. The phone rang again: “The second tower is on its way down. And, of course, this means it is no accident at all.” Which was my intuition as soon as I’d heard the first terrible tidings. Moreover, I knew instinctively who’d done the dreadful deed; and it wasn’t a new version of the Unabomber.
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] Reihan Salam, in a column today: One thing that is undeniably true is that American conservatives are overwhelmingly white in a country that is increasingly less so. As the number of Latinos and Asian-Americans has increased in coastal states like California, New York and New Jersey, many white Americans from these regions have moved inland or to the South.