Workouts: Bush creepy; Obama a godling

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
— Mark Twain

If the press loves you, you can do no wrong. If they hate you, you can do no right. In either case, what they are presenting is distorted and therefore unfair to their subjects or their readers.

I touched yesterday on the media double-standard regarding presidential work-outs, but Michelle Malkin does a better job of fleshing it out:

Ah, the perks of media affection. On Christmas Day, the Washington Post delivered a front-page paean to Barack Obama’s workout habits. The 1,233-word ode to O’s physical fitness read more like a Harlequin romance novel than an A-1 news article.

Sighed smitten reporter Eli Zaslow,

“The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games.”

For adoring journalists, you see, Obama’s workout fanaticism demonstrates the discipline and balance in his life. Apparently, what’s good for Obama’s glistening pecs is good for the country…

Too bad the doughy, McDonald’s-chomping, coffee-guzzling members of the White House press corps couldn’t see the merits of White House exercise over the past eight years. After giggling about his out-of-shape colleagues in the media, Zaslow mentioned in passing that President George W. Bush shares Obama’s commitment to health. What he failed to acknowledge is that the same reporters who so greatly admire Obama’s lithe figure derided Bush for his training schedule.

Former Washington Post writer Jonathan Chait famously attacked Bush three years ago in an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times headlined “The (over)exercise of power.” Recounting how President Bush ran 3.5 miles a day and preached more cross-training to a federal judge, Chait fumed,

“Am I the only person who finds this disturbing? … What I mean is the fact that Bush has an obsession with exercise that borders on the creepy.” (emphasis mine -admin)

No, he wasn’t. Maureen Dowd called Bush “psychopathic” about exercise. Presumably, she will find it Obama’s daily workouts and fat-ratio fixation rather more endearing.

The press corp mostly sneered at Bush’s commitment to exercise. They sneered at Condi Rice’s exercise regimen, as well; she was the over-achiever subsuming her emotions to the treadmill, or whatever. But Sen. Obama? They’re turning him into “Chesty McCheesecake*”, (and he seems a willing exhibitionist) probably because they haven’t got a clue who he really is or what he’s really about. And perhaps Obama likes it that way; he seems to be smart enough to know that if he gives them his chest, he needn’t bother giving them his thoughts.

All the press can do is hope and prey.

President Bush, who famously never enters the Oval Office in anything but a suit-and-tie, likely had too much respect for the Office of the Presidency to make a point of walking around shirtless. But had he done so – had he moseyed out of a workout with shirt in hand and pecs glistening, can’t you just imagine how the press would have howled about it, decrying his “vanity” in displaying the effects of his workouts? Of course they would have.

American “reporters” have become the political equivalent of teen magazine editors; this person is so hunky and in, this other person is so dweeby and out! Our cover boy loves argula and hates rainy days. He loves to work out and hates to see sad puppies! Send us your secret Barack fantasy! Special edition Barack Poster: Photoshop yourself in his arms!

They’re even giving us the beefcake photos of the slender, chest-waxed non-threatening male (ala Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy) who is about to be sworn in as president. How dreamy! Win a dream date with The Prez! We don’t actually know him or have a clue how he’ll lead, so let’s all just look at his pecs!

Photo by

Does all of this portend a presidency of style over substance? I doubt it; Obama will not get the same “vacation from history” that Bill Clinton enjoyed. In serious times such as these, I suspect a salivating press does not do an American President any favors when it turns him into a beefcake pin-up.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the president-elect and the future first-lady work out; we Americans can use the encouragement and example. It’s just too bad that for the last eight years the press did not see it “equally as fit” to praise a presidential work-out regime as an admirable, and not suspect, thing. And all because the guy had an R after his name, instead of a D.

Whether sighing over a godling president or treating another to 8 years of schoolyard name-calling, or bolstering an inarticulate and unaccomplished “princess” after destroying a “much too common” Governor who could run rings around her, American Journalism is largely in the hands of a bunch of 14 year olds.

*For the record, although people are picking up on the “Chesty McCheesecake” thing, I’m not actually calling President-elect Obama that; I am simply pointing out a vibe the press is creating and rather thoughtlessly encouraging.

Also, Kate wonders, how will Obama stand the stress of Dubya’s job if he can’t handle the stress of a much lesser job.

WELCOME La Malkin readers. While you’re here, please look around. Since it’s still the Octave of Christmas you might enjoy this story, and we’re in praise of Adoration, here.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Gayle Miller

    The mewling cretins of the leftwingnut press (which is, sadly, virtually the entire press corps) only continue to pound the nails into the coffins of their discredited profession – to my horror and dismay. I believe a vibrant and healthy unbiased press corps is necessary for the healthy survival of our nation as our founders (and our better selves) wish it to be.

    Besides, they don’t have to make sense! These are people who think the murdering thug Che Guevera was a HERO for heaven’s sakes! How discriminating can their intelligence NOT be?

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Well, the MSM is of the left, and the left has had a prissy-metrosexual conception of manhood for a long time now. Take a look at GQ, Maxim, Esquire, not to mention who they cast in all these reality TV shows. Just look at today’s movie and TV actors — is there a real man among them? The only traditional manly men in Hollywood are on the right.

    The rugged worker, the firefighter, the soldier, these real-life middle America depictions of manhood are shown nothing but distain on the left. So of course they would have contempt for George W and for the entire Palin family.

  • Piano Girl

    Nothing to add to what Gayle & Bender have already said. I’m missing Dubya and his lovely wife, as well as the VPOTUS and his great wife already and they are still in office for another three weeks.

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  • Jean Balconi

    From the moment when Clinton took seriously the MTV question of “boxers or briefs?”, it’s been downhill with the license that media takes. I know that there were swimmingsuit photos of JFK with his family at the beach, but I’m sure that any beefcake comments were left up to the audience. (BTW I think Robert was the good-looking Kennedy.)

    I didn’t realize that Gov. Palin was still a sensation in the national media until this weekend. It illustrates perfectly the distortion that you talk about. I mean, linking her to her daughter’s future mother-in-law’s behavior? That doesn’t pass the Smell Test. Try it at a social gathering: Tell a friend that she’s lower in your esteem because of something her sister-in-law’s mother did. ;)

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    People are getting frustrated with The Office of the President-Elect not giving more information about what Obama’s actual policies will be, but what I and most others want to know is . . . What will Barack be wearing at the Inaugural balls? Will it be Armani? Kenneth Cole? Hugo Boss? Dolce & Gabbana?

    I know that Bravo and E! and VH1 will all have their breathless reporters at the red carpet to ooh and ahh when The One walks by (!), but I can’t wait. I want to know now!

  • culperjr.

    Oh, for a chance for a real man to show us how it is done! We need Theodore Roosevelt to descend on a cloud of glory on Inauguration Day, tear off his coat and offer to box Obama on the spot. Teddy was a MONSTER–boxing and shooting and practicing martial arts in the White House. Hell, he even lost the vision in one eye from a pugilistic bout and stopped an assassin’s bullet in the massive depths of his pectoral muscles (then, disdaining medical attention, he went on to deliver a lengthy oration.)

    Somehow he managed all that without a Brazilian wax. Or a fawning media.

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  • gs

    …Obama a godling (or god-king?)

    Good point. Is this the subliminal message that Obama’s MSM acolytes are trying to convey? What a photoshop op!

    Last year similar photos of Putin appeared. Is it just me, or does his body look more brutally functional than Obama’s?

    [GS, I don't think you're the first to suggest that Putin looks more "manly" than Obama. But I think in fairness, we ought to be able to judge Bush by his chest as well. Admin]

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  • Barbara


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  • Jeanette

    He needs a bra.

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  • tim maguire

    Unfortunately, I’m with gs. When this first came out, Drudge put up the Obama and Putin shirtless pictures together and the symbolism was unmistakable. Obama the pretty boy runway model and Putin the surprisingly solid looking real man.

    I shudder to think what might happen when they sit down at the negotiating table. Putin looks like he can eat Obama for breakfast.

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  • Gayle Miller

    Do NOT know why this popped into my head – but now it will NOT go away – you don’t suppose our P-E is going to start attending cabinet meetings wearing low-riding jeans with his tidy whities showing, do you? The mind boggles!

    [I'm sure, no matter how "uber-cool" the PE is, he'll be appropriately dressed for his meetings. But, like President Clinton, we may learn that he's been in the Oval Office in his running shorts. Ugh. -admin]

  • Acer Palmatum

    If Obama is the new Keith Partridge…

    Who is going to play the role of Danny?

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  • newton

    Oh… Come… On!

    This thing of Obama-as-the-New-Fabio makes me sick! I don’t want Harlequin-romance-novel-cover chest in a politician! After all, he IS a politician, for cryin’ out loud!

    If I want to see a manly chest, I’d go watch any James Bond film with Daniel Craig. Now, that’s one chest to melt to! ;)

    Also… What actually concerns me even more is what I saw the other day at the local Fiesta market when I went shopping for some of my native products. There was some store inside the market selling some “inspirational” text on graphics and the images of Obama that made him look like MLK Jr. or Gandhi. Now, that is creepy. More than creepy! Of course, there’s the Commemorative Plate and the Commemorative Coins portraying his picture right next to the one of George Washington… No one ever did that to GWB! Heck, he would have never liked that to begin with, and others would have considered it in poor taste, not to mention ridiculous.

    Mark my words: that “transformational figure” shtick is going to be taken too far. How much longer before we are told to buy statues of Obama to place in our living rooms, with GPS systems and tele-monitoring equipment, to make sure we’re all “in the same music sheet”, or else? How long before that? He’s one image I will NEVER bow down to, no matter what!

  • Peter

    It appears our hairless boy wonder has a case of moobs. Well here we go again, another young president attempting to be Kennedyesque. Next he’ll be playing touch football out in the yard. Hopefully he doesn’t throw like a girl.

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  • Peter

    One thing I want to add: Speaking as a card carrying breast man when it comes to women (thus the reason I watch a lot of Latin American television) I get a bit confused, disoriented, and agitated when I see boobs on men. So, damnit Barack, keep your shirt on.

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