The Campaign Spot

This Will Lead to a ‘Federal Pedestrian Management Agency’

If you’re not subscribing to the Morning Jolt, you missed this in today’s edition:

Look, Mom, I’m Exercisi-AIEEEEEEE!!

Instead of “Let’s Move,” perhaps the First Lady should have called her youth exercise program the “Let’s Move Out of the Way” campaign: “The Governors Highway Safety Association says pedestrian deaths increased in the first half of 2010 and the First Lady’s program to get Americans to be more active could be partly responsible. Governors Highway Safety Administration spokesman Jonathan Adkins told 630 WMAL that Michelle Obama is ‘trying to get us to walk to work and exercise a little bit more.  While that’s good, it also increases our exposure to risk.’”

See, honey? That’s why I’m lazy and drive everywhere!

Sure, Michelle Obama is cutting down on American kids eating pizza . . . only to watch them become street pizza. She’s getting them to go on expeditions, it is it worth it if they’re getting mowed down by Ford Expeditions? American kids are taking up golf, only to get knocked off the road by VW Golfs. Just as America’s kids can fit in their Wrangler jeans, they’re getting hit by Jeep Wranglers. They’re picking up the pace, only to get hit by an AMC Pacer . . . eh, that joke doesn’t work; if a Pacer hits you, the car ends up getting damaged.

The Daily Caller notes that the Governors Highway Safety  Association seemed to recognize that they had stepped into a political controversy by appearing to suggest that Michelle Obama had some hand in horrific traffic accident deaths in the past year, but that at least earlier in the day, they yearned for the angle to generate coverage: “Scott McCabe, Reporter for the Washington Examiner, pointed out in an email to The Daily Caller that the GHSA brought up Michelle Obama in a story pitch for their report about pedestrian deaths. Their pitch included a bullet point that read ‘One is the possible increase in distracted pedestrians and distracted drivers. We’ve been focusing on the drivers, but perhaps we need to focus some attention on distracted walkers! Additionally, Mrs. Obama and others have been bringing attention to ‘get moving’ programs, so perhaps pedestrian exposure has increased.’”

James Joyner invokes last week’s forbidden phrase to open his debunking: “DC’s AM630 commits blood libel,” he scoffs. “Well, first off, there are no figures provided. Via Dr. Google, I see ‘The Governors Highway Safety Association says in the report that 1,891 pedestrians were killed in the first six months of 2010, up from 1,884 in the same period in 2009 — a 0.4 percent increase.’  Now, I don’t know the historical variation in these things, but I’d say offhand that this is a statistically insignificant swing. Regardless, a variety of factors — alcohol, technology, and road design among them — seem to be considered possible explanations for the slight reversal in trend.”

Sure, the idea that Michelle Obama designed her exercise program to slaughter American teens by the sides of our nation’s roads and highways seems implausible, but no more implausible than the notion  that a guy with classic symptoms of schizophrenia and an irrational hatred of his congresswoman since 2007 was driven to commit mass murder by a map graphic from Sarah Palin.

And if Michelle Obama has ever said, “we’re putting childhood obesity in the crosshairs,” this story will blow up big-time.


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