An utterly ridiculous commentary made its way into the LA Times today. Jonathan Chait has a bit of beef with a president who considers exercise important:
Bush can bench press 185 pounds five times, and, before a recent knee injury, he ran three miles at a 6-minute, 45-second pace. That's better than I could manage when I played two sports in high school. And I wasn't holding the most powerful office on Earth. Which is sort of my point: Does the leader of the free world need to attain that level of physical achievement?...
...My guess is that Bush associates exercise with discipline, and associates a lack of discipline with his younger, boozehound days. "The president," said Fleischer, "finds [exercise] very healthy in terms of … keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind." The notion of a connection between physical and mental potency is, of course, silly. (Consider all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood — or, perhaps, the president himself.)
What a bogus thing to say. Since when did "all the perfectly toned airheads in Hollywood" bench press 185 pounds five times and run three miles at a 6-minute, 45-second pace. I doubt most of the actors in Hollywood could even run three miles without having a stroke or something. To make such an argument that mental and physical discipline aren't related is not a little spurious.
Fit though he is, as are most of our recent Republican presidents (no coincidence there I'm sure), I like to think Bush is just a small reflection of the impressive Father of physically fit presidents, Theodore Roosevelt. T.R was a lot closer to fanatical about exercise than any of us will ever know.