Monday, January 3, 2011

Shamelessly courting the fat vote

In the new year a reveler's fancies naturally turn to thoughts of weight reduction, but the good news for 2011 is that dieting is all just a liberal plot.

Now, admittedly, simple petulance might explain the attacks on Michelle Obama's campaign for healthier diets that have been heard of late in certain quarters. Sarah Palin in her best smart-ass girl in the back of the class manner sarcastically announced that "Michelle Obama said we should not have dessert" as she (Palin) demonstrated her (Palin's) combined woodcraft and culinary skills by preparing s'mores on her "reality" TV show a few weeks ago.

Rush Limbaugh arguably did her one better earlier in the season, however, declaring that diet and exercise "are irrelevant"; a conclusion he derived by applying a rigorous logical chain of reasoning ("I know liberals, and I know liberals lie, and if Michelle Obama's gonna be out there ripping into 'food desserts' and saying, 'This is why people are fat,' I know it's not true"). Limbaugh further backed his assertion by noting that "a nutrition professor" lost 27 pounds by eating Twinkies.

But trying to set the minds of gluttons at ease is arguably a matter also of shrewd politics and playing to one's constituency. Here is a plot I made of Republican voting versus obesity rates in the 50 states, demonstrating the undeniable correlation between these two variables (the solid blue line is the best-fit linear regression of the data):