Fox News contributor Sarah Palin hasn't shied away from attacking First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative, designed to fight obesity by urging Americans to become more active and to eat healthier. Palin, adopting a drastically different tone than when she served as Alaska's governor, has ridiculed Obama's common sense effort numerous times.
Like scores of conservative commentators, Palin has condemned the First Lady for allegedly overstepping the government's bounds and trying to dictate what citizens can eat. ("Just leave us alone, get off our back.") Worse, she's squashing individual choice and personal responsibility.
Obama and Democrats are promoting the dreaded Nanny State, where government officials try to tell citizens how to live their lives to the point where they're making dietary suggestions! (No word from conservative critics if they're still upset Uncle Sam helped to dramatically reduce the U.S. smoking rate in recent decades.)
It's tyranny! The first lady's banning foods!
First, the claim that Obama's trying to ban Americans from eating fatty foods represents an obvious lie. She, of course, does not have that power. But more importantly, the guidelines that government nutritionists are now emphasizing simply urge Americans to eat less fatty foods. They're not suggesting salt and fat and sugar be banned. They're suggesting people eat less of each. Period.
So can we stop with the idiotic, right-wing media gotcha's every time a member of the First Family is spotted eating a BBQ rib. That's not an act of hypocrisy, since the entire thrust of the nutrition campaign revolves around moderation, not some dopey drive for abstinence.
That's simply a First Lady fabrication pushed by the Rush Limbaugh's of the world (she's "demanding everybody eat cardboard and tofu"), concocted as an excuse to advertise their hatred for the first family.
Secondly, note that when First Lady Laura Bush spent the better part of eight years using her White House bully pulpit promoting literacy, particularly among children, there was no pushback from the GOP Noise Machine. There were no far-right commentators complaining that Bush was peddling the Nanny State because everyone knows it's up to parents to decide when their children start reading. The GOP Noise Machine remained silent about the First Lady's reading initiative because criticizing the goodwill program would have been insane.
Read the full Media Matters column, here.