The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

It’s the Diet Coke That Makes It a Light Meal


In the Tuesday Morning Jolt, you’ll find lots of commentary and reaction to the twists and turns in the debt-ceiling negotiations, as well as . . . well, weightier matters . . .

How Dare Michelle Obama Eat Like . . . Like . . . Well, Me!

I’m one of those folks who can only get half-outraged by Michelle Obama’s efforts to nag the country into better eating habits. I find First Lady Michelle Obama fairly unobjectionable, at least by comparison to her tone in her earliest campaign appearances. I’ll bet you’ve forgotten:

I mean, some people, they see sinister forces everywhere, whining about what they deem insufficient labeling of products:

“And the notion of trying to think about a lunch every day! . . . So you grab the Lunchables, right? And the fruit-juice-box thing, and we think—we think—that’s juice. And you start reading the labels and you realize there’s high-fructose corn syrup in everything we’re eating. Every jelly, every juice. Everything that’s in a bottle or a package is like poison in a way that most people don’t even know. . ”

To listen to some people, you would think the average American is beset by $600 earrings, the $10,000 summer camps, unaffordable fruit and hidden poisons on the store shelves, that everyone was falling to pieces:

“I wake up every morning wondering how on earth I am going to pull off that next minor miracle to get through the day. I know that everybody in this room is going through this. That is the dilemma women face today. Every woman that I know, regardless of race, education, income, background, political affiliation, is struggling to keep her head above water.” (This presumably includes her friend Oprah.)

And I think one of the worst whines of all is someone who endlessly blames the other gender for their problems.

“What I notice about men, all men, is that their order is me, my family, God is in there somewhere, but me is first.”

Michelle Obama, I stand with you against whining.

And healthy eating is a fine cause to promote; at first glance it seems like the standard rallying for a noble cause emulated by the late Betty Ford, or Laura Bush’s efforts on childhood literacy, etc. But every once in a while, Michele Obama’s comments on this veer over into the realm of the Food Police: “But when our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, and when many children get up to half their daily calories from school meals, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well,” Mrs. Obama said. “We can’t just leave it up to the parents.”

You scoff, but remember, this is the gang that is banning light bulbs.

But you leave yourself open to some mockery when you do something like this: “First lady Michelle Obama ordered a whopper of a meal at the newly opened Washington diner Shake Shack during lunch on Monday. A Washington Post journalist on the scene confirmed the first lady, who’s made a cause out of child nutrition, ordered a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and a Diet Coke while the street and sidewalk in front of the usually-packed Shake Shack were closed by security during her visit. According to nutritional information on Shake Shack’s Web site, the meal amounted to 1,700 calories.”

James Joyner is only half-bothered: “These stories are mildly amusing and I understand why they’re written. But Mrs. Obama is 47 years old and demonstrably not obese. One can simultaneously advocate physical fitness and indulge in the occasional fatty meal. Frankly, the only part of this story that bothers me is that she was allowed to cut in line and inconvenience the ordinary citizens who were waiting in 97 degree heat for their chance to sample one of these tasty burgers. But even that’s annoyance at our system of treating our politicians like royalty, not Mrs. Obama’s actions. She’s rather at the mercy of the Secret Service and their zeal; it would be unreasonable to expect her to stay cloistered at the White House until her husband leaves office.”

But the Lonely Conservative sums up the objection well: “Frankly, I couldn’t care less what Michelle Obama eats, it’s none of my business. But she seems to think what I eat, and what I feed my children is her business. Which makes her a big hypocrite.”

But the great Jim Treacher sees a connection to her husband’s statement that the country had to eat its peas” on Monday: “Leave Michelle Obama alone, she had to have that burger and fries. What was she supposed to do? Somebody had already eaten all the peas.”

I guess you could say that the American people just can’t swallow that.

Tags: Michele Obama


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