I’m a little late responding to Meghan Daum’s March 3rd op-ed in the Los Angeles Times in which she expresses her total confusion that people are actually critical of the first lady and her anti-fat crusade. Quell horror. One can almost see the tears running down Daum’s sweet-natured face as she writes, incredulous, that people “believe Michelle Obama wants to come into our homes and replace our Doritos with seaweed.”
First of all, Ms. Daum, let me explain. I’m a vocal critic of the first lady and her annoying Let’s Move! campaign, but Doritos haven’t entered my home (or body) since I was in junior high school. On the other hand, my children and I just finished a tasty treat of nori squares…wait, let me correct that, organic nori squares.
Now am I qualified to criticize the first lady?
Certain members of the GOP – and, from the looks of it, the entire “tea party” – have decided that the first lady’s Let’s Move campaign, which seeks to fight obesity by improving school lunch programs, increasing focus on physical education and giving poor people better access to healthful foods, is an example of government intrusion and even a socialist plot.
It’s funny to see Daum mention the Tea Party. I’m unaware of a coordinated Tea Party effort to do away with the Let’s Move! campaign but that doesn’t seem to stop Daum from implying criticism of the first lady is somehow Tea Party-lead. I’m sure it’s been mentioned by members of the Tea Party movement (Michelle Bachman, a critic of the first lady, heads the Tea Party Caucus in the House) but it’s hardly the focus of the tea party. Perhaps it’s just that Daum doesn’t quite understand what the tea party is all about (What? An LA Times reporter misunderstand the Tea Party? Crazy, huh!).
You see, Ms. Daum, the Tea Party isn’t really a party; it’s a belief system, a movement. And while there are differences of opinion among many tea partiers and groups, one thing remains consistent-they all recoil against government overstepping. To many, this is precisely what Michelle Obama is doing-overstepping.
Daum is also misinformed about the real intentions of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign but she wouldn’t be if she’d take a half-hour to read through the White House Task Force on Obesity report which includes over ten pages of “recommendations” on how to micromanage the food industry. As I wrote about in my Townhall op-ed this week, these “recommendations” range from telling the food and beverage industry how they should package their food to telling restaurants what food they should offer to their patrons to how products can be marketed to consumers. And let’s not forget that while this report suggests what industries “should” do, it is just another small step to change those “shoulds” into “musts,” if Washington bureaucrats decide industry isn’t moving fast enough to implement their suggestions.
I also wrote in my op-ed that the Let’s Move! campaign already has legislative victories:
One is expanding the school lunch and breakfast program-a poorly run, inefficient federal effort that is, at the very least, in part to blame for children’s increased weights. This program once served only the poorest children, but today over 30 million children receive a school lunch.
The Let’s Move! campaign claims credit for a provision in the ObamaCare legislation requiring employers to provide women breastfeeding break times and a private space for pumping milk. That’s an onerous regulation that creates substantial costs for many businesses employing women.
Another provision of ObamaCare forces restaurants and vending machine operators with 20 or more locations (read: fast food) to provide visible calorie information to their patrons-despite overwhelming evidence that labels and calorie information do little to sway choices.
ObamaCare also requires all new health insurance plans to cover screenings for obesity and counseling on sustained weight loss, without charging any out of pocket cost for patients. The goal is to ensure doctors are assessing children’s body mass index at all check-ups by 2012. And to add to the Orwellian creepiness of this requirement, a Domestic Policy Council report brags that the Department of Health and Human Services will be collecting this BMI data.
Will Daum recognize these legislative victories as more than just informing the public about better choices? Probably not. But regular Americans do and they object to being told how to live and how to eat.
But Daum doesn’t only target the Tea Party and stupid, Dorito-eating Americans in her piece, she throws in a shot at Rush Limbaugh saying “Oh, and then there’s that paragon of physical fitness, Rush Limbaugh, who suggested last week that the first lady “does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.” What’s going on here (besides the last gasps of an increasingly irrelevant radio blowhard) obviously has nothing to do with keeping kids from being obese.”
Could Daum be any more out of touch? Calling Rush Limbaugh irrelevant when she works for the LOS ANGELES TIMES? A newspaper, which over the last decade, has lost more readership than any other newspaper in the United States, has been trimming staff constantly for years, and in a truly pathetic move a few years ago was forced to eliminate the local “California” section altogether. Real Clear Politics said this about the LA Times: “with the newsroom about half of its size from 2001 and the continuing cutback on staff and coverage, it may be a matter of time before the woebegone Tribune Co. must dump the paper to an interested buyer or even close it down.”
Talk about being irrelevant.