Helloooo ladies. We haven’t had this much fun since the Old Spice Guy arrived in our lives! I’m talking about Aaron Schock, the Republican congressman from Illinois who is currently on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. I highly recommend that you take a look, I mean, read this article. And at the risk of sounding like one of those guys who says he reads Playboy magazine “for the interviews,” you really should read the interview. You’ll be one of the few who do—it’s hard to focus on the print rather than the photos—but it’s worth it.
I was on NPR earlier this week with a panel of women to discuss Schock’s decision to appear shirtless as part of his “Fit for Summer, Fit for Life” healthy-eating-and-exercise challenge to Americans, and it was very entertaining to take a break from politics and chat with the ladies about his six-pack abs. But all joking aside, Schock was smart to do the photo shoot. Sure, there’s a double standard—if a female member of Congress had appeared in a string bikini, I suspect the discussion would have been very different—but he made the choice to put himself out there, and I think it was good decision. Because of the photos, his fitness campaign is getting some buzz. (Well, at least among the ladies it is!)
Did I mention that he’s a Republican? Having a 29-year-old fiscal conservative in great shape is good for the brand. There are more than enough GOP fat cats running around town—or should I say not running—and Representative Schock is doing his part to change the face of the Republican Party, especially among younger voters.
In the interview, Schock talks about the concerns of young people his age (he’s the first member of Congress to have been born in the 1980s) and he’s worried about the impact of current energy, environmental, and education policies—and deficits—on the next generation. In fact, he calls the lack of concern about the long term “the biggest overriding failure of American government in the last 20 years.” He’s right, whether he’s talking about the expanding debt or skyrocketing healthcare costs. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on healthcare.]
Schock is one of the few Republicans who doesn’t criticize the first lady’s campaign against childhood obesity. “I think Michelle Obama is on the right track with her Let's Move campaign to bring down childhood obesity,” he says. “She and I come from the same state, Illinois, which is number four in the nation for obese children. One out of five Illinois children are considered obese. Not overweight, obese. And two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese. When people hear that, they're shocked, and rightfully so.” Schock points out that healthcare costs are the single biggest factor in the budget crisis, yet eight out of every 10 healthcare dollars are spent on preventable diseases—heart disease, diabetes, and strokes—that could be eliminated if Americans just took the time to eat right and exercise. He’s trying to set a good example and get others to follow by getting in shape over the summer. [See photos of Michelle Obama.]
He might as well be saying, “Look at me. Now look at your congressman. Now look back at me.” Instead of being the man your man should smell like, he’s the congressman your congressman should look like. I hope the Republicans in Congress follow his lead.