The New York Times’ “The Measure of a President” provides visual proof that shorter candidates suffer a remarkable handicap in winning the Presidency. Part of the blame surely lies with the media, which regularly taints their coverage with heightist phrases like “Despite his diminutive stature…” And don’t get started with the term “scrappy.”
It is little wonder that short people are tempted to vote for John McCain, at 5’7″ the shortest major party nominee since 1900. We are outraged by the heightism and discrimination spread by the mainstream media, and we are ready to fight back.
Yet we cannot allow our own justifiable outrage cloud our vision. George W. Bush beat a taller opponent in both 2000 and 2004, and look where our country is now. The last candidate to accomplish this feat was Richard Nixon in 1968 — enough said. Presidents Bush and Nixon were an embarrassment to the short community, and John McCain’s sadly stereotypical Napoleonic tendencies will do us little good in combating societal prejudice.
We look forward to a competent and qualified candidate of shorter stature who will earn our support. Change is coming: we already have one of the shortest Speakers of the House in recent history. Until that time, I am proud to be a Short Person for Obama.