Seeing as my original post is over 5,000 words, I figured a summary might be helpful.
“If a man’s dishonest to obtain a job, he’ll be dishonest on the job.”
Between June 2003 to June 2004 Mike Huckabee lost 110 lbs., dropping from 290 to 180 lbs. He attributed his weight loss to diet and exercise. Based on the premise that “if I can lose weight, anyone can, Huckabee launched the Healthy Arkansas anti-obesity initiative and authored a “How I did it,” diet book. Huckabee embarked upon a public relations blitz, making “fitness and weight control his signature issue…, and never stray[ing] far from his own example. The name recognition that this PR effort gained (along with no longer being obese) elevated Huckabee’s long-shot candidacy from risible to somewhat plausible.
It has been rumored that Huckabee’s weight loss was due not to diet and exercise but to gastric bypass (bariatric) surgery. This blog seeks to examine the evidence that is publicly available, to determine whether weight loss from diet/exercise or bariatric surgery is more likely. Because evidence such as witnesses, money trail, etc are lacking, the analysis is primarily medical. The principle used is the Law of Parsimony, a medical application of Occam’s Razor, in which the validity of a diagnosis is gauged by the degree to which it explains all the clinical findings, without the need to add further diagnoses.
The findings are as follows:
- Huckabee’s vague history of diet/exercise doesn’t adequately explain his astonishing result.
- His spokeswoman provides an ambiguous denial denial of bariatric surgery.
- Massive and persistent weight loss with bariatric surgery is about 100x more common than with diet/exercise.
- Bariatric surgery has a highly characteristic weight loss pattern that Huckabee’s weight loss record fits exactly for rapidity, amount and maintenance. This pattern is not at all like that of diet/exercise.
- Huckabee demonstrates changes in physical appearance that appear bariatric both in general and the specific (hair loss and skin changes).
- His particular diet habits are tellingly bariatric.
- Just prior to his rapid weight loss he took an unusual vacation with a furtive itinerary and end date which provided a plausible window for a private hospitalization and recovery.
- In 2005, Huckabee required abdominal hernia surgery, an expected complication of bariatric surgery. This was termed a Spigelian hernia, which are so vanishingly rare that it appears more likely to be used as a cover story for a post-bariatric inscisional hernia.
- The marathon prowess that Huckabee often touts is not so likely to be an example of exercise inducing weight loss, as it is the expected result of (bariatric) weight loss permitting exercise.
- While running marathons Huckabee is shown carrying that energy supplementation, that is both expected of, and associated with, bariatric marathoners.
- The lack of any identified witnesses to the bariatric surgery/hospitalization is adequately explained by medical privacy ethical standards as well as the rigor of Federal HIPAA privacy regulations.
In applying the above mentioned Law of Parsimony, it is evident that the one explanation of bariatric surgery readily, even exactly, satisfies every clinical finding.
Diet/exercise alone is not sufficient to explain the findings; its use as a explanation depends on first compiling a series of highly improbable findings (rapid, massive weight loss), and then introducing new conditions and diagnoses (e.g. rare hernias, hair loss). Making the clinical finding fit bariatric surgery is as effortless as diet/exercise is labored.
If Huckabee did have bariatric surgery, the secret will be unlikely to survive a general election campaign. Huckabee has made his weight loss not just a personal health matter, but a defining saga, a prominent part of his Presidential resume, the subject of a profitable (scam?) diet book, and a model for his public policy as Governor. Its disclosure would be an admission of fraud and deceit that would be to Democrats an inestimable advantage.
Presidential candidates have an obligation to their Party and to voters and to disclose any medical condition that may have an effect on their candidacy, e.g., as did Thompson regarding his lymphoma. Since Huckabee’s spokeswoman has made ambiguous comments regarding the possibility of bariatric surgery, and since the evidence does not appear to favor diet/exercise, Huckabee needs to clarify for the record whether any surgery contributed to his weight loss, and this made disclosure made prior to the GOP primaries.
To this end, medical records would be helpful, which could be as simple as making available the film and radiologist’s report of the barium swallow CT scan he most likely underwent to diagnose his hernia in 2005.