Most people struggle to have a full-time job and six-pack abs at the same time. But the waxed and tan Rep. Aaron Schock is trying to lead by example, to encourage Americans to live a healthier lifestyle by exposing his washboard tummy on the cover of the June issue of Men's Health. Unlike so many of us hunched and bloated office drones, the good congressman has his bikini body ready for summer vacation.
"One of my favorite quotes is from Ben Franklin, who said, 'A good example is the best sermon,' " Schock explained to Stephen Perrine. "And I think if you want to start talking about healthy lifestyles and staying in shape, then you yourself should do your best to try to be a model, an example to people you're trying to convince to do the same." Schock maintains his model physique with a light exercise regimen that begins at 6:30 in the morning, includes weight training and something called P90X, and ends with a 5-mile run. Something your average soccer mom/CPA could adopt no sweat, right?
Perrine describes Schock as "pretty fly for a Republican from Peoria" and speculates that he could steal cool back for the GOP from super chill Democrats like President Obama and Bill Clinton. But Perrine forgets that the No. 1 rule of being cool is vigorously maintaining that you're not at all cool, and the No. 2 rule of being cool is to not seem vain by doing something like, oh, being all oiled up next to the all-caps headline "FIGHT FAT & WIN!"
Schock supports Michelle Obama's anti-childhood obesity campaign. But despite the dangers of governing in these politically polarized times, what's daunting for Schock is not crawling out on a limb of bipartisanship, but avoiding fatty lobbyist snacks.
Since 2007 it's been illegal for lobbyists to treat U.S. reps to meals. Yet in the fungible world of Washington, legislators and industry reps have found a compromise: If it's on the end of a toothpick, it's not a meal. So healthconscious pols like Schock now run a gauntlet of Inigo Montoya wannabes who wield tiny wooden sabers in an effort to curry favor and influence policy.
"You can pack a lot of calories on the end of a toothpick," Schock insists. "You have a drink and a few hors d'oeuvres and you've just downed hundreds of calories."
The Hill's Jordan Fabian reports that some of Schock's fellow Republicans have responded to the photos with a bit of bodysnarking along the lines of "Eat a cheeseburger." Representative Jason Chaffetz's account tweeted, "1) I need to do more sit ups. Ok, perhaps I could start with doing 10 2) Aaron, dude, my friend, seriously you need to go to Five Guys with me for a Little Bacon Cheesebuger. Or perhaps the bacon dog extra mayo." Representative Darrell Issa's account retweeted the comments. Schock might suffer teasing at the hands of peers drunk on haterade, but at least he got to unveil his abs in a way that didn't kill his career, unlike the former Representative Chris Lee. And, lest we forget, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has gotten away with baring far more, though admittedly that was before his run for the Senate seat.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.