EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the March 27, 2006, issue of National Review.
On Fat Tuesday, repentant sinner Bill Clinton declared war on cheeseburgers, fried oysters, fudge, and other tools of the devil. Identified by the Associated Press as “a reformed overeater,” Bill, looking quite ghostly when compared with the robust figure he cut in his glory days, warned the National Governors Association that America has “a huge cultural problem and unless we change it our children may grow up to be the first generation with shorter life spans than we had.”
The problem, according to Clinton, is that Americans are serious chowhounds whose love of grub is a major threat not only to themselves, but to the national economy. According to the Associated Press, Clinton noted that if the U.S. could reduce health spending–now 16 percent of GDP–to 11 percent (in line with what other countries spend), the savings would be $700 billion. But it won’t be easy. “No matter what else you say, no matter what different studies show, you’ve got to consume less and burn more,” Clinton said. “To do that you’ve got to change the culture.” The governors, many of whom support anti-fat school programs, responded with thunderous applause.
It is clear to some of us that this drastic turnaround in Clinton’s viewpoint is the result of post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by that ill-advised investigation of his romantic life, capped by impeachment. Back in the day, he preferred a little plumpness: Monica, let us recall, was only a few corpuscles shy of being renamed Lulu. Now he’s become yet another leading American who believes it’s his duty to tell us what we should and should not be eating…
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