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All politics is lo-cal.

On this mere shuttle we call Earth, he big topic is weightlessness. Not he slo-mo, hair-waving, tethered float of daring-doomed astronauts in space. Not yet. In the papers, next to stories of food-stamp cutbacks, Hudson loose-meat recalls, and North Korean famine, are daily reports of weight loss among politicians, replete with before and after pictures of the President and the Speaker of the House. Get out your Vernier Calipers, kids. All politics is lo-cal.

The feeding frenzy in the press produces calorie-free soundbites about Bill's trainer and Newt's treadmill. The pop psychologists digest it, and produce analysis lite: If Bill and Newt can control their appetites, perhaps they can control their own parties. Maybe the press is just jealous? After all, they languish in the land of snacks and fast food on the fly. I think Wolf Blitzer is looking a little jowly under that beard. Is he banging back the Table Talk Pies he snuck onto Air Force One?

Everyone is on the Oprah Watch, gleefully looking for tell-tale signs of Presidential slippage or gainage. "I saw him eat a slice of pizza." "His collar is getting tighter." "Has he really lost weight, or is he just dying his hair?"

While the stock market runs through binge-purge cycles, with Alan Greenspan presiding like some abstemious Dr. Herman Tarnower, and while U.S. companies continue to gobble up the world market, we export more baloney. You can never be too rich or too thin.

Washington, D.C., home of the midwife crisis, became like a summer weight-loss camp. Press releases began, "Hello Mudda, hello Faddah...." At summer fundraisers, when Presidential hopefuls were asked why they wanted to be President, they responded correctly, "I'd like to lose some weight."

They remember Tom Foley, who worked out so much he completely ignored his duties and lost his Speakership to the adipoidal Newt Gingrich. Now everyone wants to avoid the heavy issues of global warming, police brutality, and due process. They're all lightweights. Well, fine, if that's the way you want it, here are my suggestions:

GOP, lose the elephant.

Instead of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, how 'bout Endo-, Ecto-, and Meso-?

Instead of spokespersons, let the trainers talk.

Richard Simmons for HHS.

Jenny Craig for Secretary of State.

Change that anthem line to "O'er the land of the fat-free."

Change Vermont's license to "Live fat-free or diet."

Replace scales of justice with bathroom scales, balanced budgets with balanced meals, arms reduction with redux.

From now on, hold all political conventions at health spas.

Provide tax write-offs for tummy tucks and liposuction.

Here's the political slogan for the year 2000: "A skinless chicken in every pot and a treadmill in every garage."

Newsflash from the people who brought us fat chance: Moral fiber is not high in fiber. In 1974, before dieting masqueraded as decision-making, Adrienne Rich wrote: "The decision to feed the world is the real decision. No revolution has chosen it." I'm carbo-loading for the-revolution. Pass out that cake.
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Title Annotation:Unplugged; humor - media and politics
Author:Clinton, Kate
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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