There's been lots of discussion about why Jeb Bush is faltering in the Republican presidential primary competition. Despite the political consensus that Bush would be a formidable candidate, he seems uncomfortable and stiff on the trail, making awkward comments and recently pointing out there are "a lot of really cool things" he could be doing instead of running for president. I think I know why the campaign has gone so badly for Bush. He's hungry.
Before he was officially running, Bush adopted the Paleo diet to shed some pounds. The diet embraces fruits, vegetables and nuts -- inspired by what our forebears ate when they lived in caves -- and shuns processed foods. The menu certainly seems to be working for him -- he's looking much slimmer -- but at what price? Waking up early morning after morning, doing multiple campaign appearances every day, facing a mob of reporters pestering him with questions -- and all that on an empty stomach? You'd be grouchy too.
In an April story that speculated he had shed 30 pounds after following the diet for a few months, Bush confessed, "I am always hungry." Leading the free world is a grueling task -- there are long hours and tough judgment calls. Do we really think that person should also have to battle a growling stomach? We already have a president who chews nicotine gum to suppress his urge for a cigarette. I'm sure there have been more than a few tense moments in Barack Obama's presidency when he sorely wished he could sneak a few puffs. Perhaps he should every now and then, so he can focus on leading the free world.
When Americans pick the president they will be watching on the news for the next four years, they seem to favor someone trim. Presidents were porky before the advent of television -- think of 300-pound William Howard Taft, who may have gotten stuck in the White House bathtub -- but recent leaders have generally been on the slim side. But Bush loves his enchiladas -- and why shouldn't he indulge? Running for president is a grind. I say, give the man a hamburger.