Yesterday, Tom Mulcair’s visit to the Calgary Stampede got some fairly decent coverage in the National Post. I’d like you to have a look at it, mainly for copyright reasons, but mostly to have a look at something rather … well, prominent.
Politicians normally don’t look their best at Stampede, but people are willing to forgive that so long as they don’t look too stupid. Mr. Mulcair certainly looks comfortable enough, but his image consultants might have a fit over …
All right, all right, I’ll spit it out. He’s got a gut.
It’s not quite a beer belly, we’re not talking about putting the man on a diet, but it’s definitely hanging over his belt, and (as you can see from the Post’s comments) it’s just as legitimate a target for public derision as Stephen Harper’s fashion sense.
Mind you, it’s not going to hurt his political image all that much. Most middle-aged men (and not a few younger ones) would prefer to chug a six-pack rather than develop one. And Mr. Mulcair’s overall body shape isn’t all that bad compared with some of the other folks we’ve managed to put into Centre Block.
We’re talking about public acceptability here, which is something a public figure ignores to his peril, and Mr. Mulcair’s gut can be pointed to as an actual point of identification among Canadian voters. We all know people who’ve got a gut, whom we’re comfortable around, and a politician who’s comfortable is one with few problems getting elected.
So it’s a canny strategy. Of course, I don’t think it’d kill him to at least try to suck it in …