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Sarah Palin Opposed to First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign

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Guest blogger Kate Tuttle: Michelle Obama, following in established First Lady footsteps, has adopted a couple of issues to focus on as an advocate during her husband's time in office. For both Laura and Barbara Bush, the issues were education and literacy; for Hillary Clinton, it was women and children's health. In other words, being married to the President and working on the behalf of relatively uncontroversial feel-good issues just kind of go together. So there's nothing really shocking about Michelle Obama planting a vegetable garden at the White House, going on "Sesame Street" to talk about healthy eating with Elmo or promoting her "Let's Move!" campaign against childhood obesity. Except to Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin
On Laura Ingraham's radio show last week, the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate slammed Michelle Obama's anti-obesity program, warning that it smacks of government intrusion into parental decisions over how to feed and raise children.

A quote: "Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track."

Now, I've read the stuff on the Let's Move website (which has sections on food and nutrition, exercise and other health-related topics). I'm not seeing any kind of massive government takeover of the food industry, and certainly not of individual families' kitchens. What I do see is middle-of-the-road, common-sense advice and information for parents, as well as some policy recommendations for better product package information (so that, for instance, junk food cannot hide its true caloric and sodium loads by misleading consumers about the size of a "portion") and a call for partnerships with pediatricians so that children's doctors get more involved in supporting families to raise healthier kids. Nobody's advocating taking away parental authority over kids, although I have to admit, there are times when I wish I could intervene whenever I see a family of supersized kids whose parents clearly are contributing to their lifelong poor health.

Another kid-focused political food fight is in the works, this one on Capitol Hill, where Congress is prepared to vote this week on a bill authorizing an expansion of eligibility for free and reduced school lunches -- particularly needed in today's economy, where an estimated 20 percent of children (35 percent of black children) are living at or below the poverty line. (Those figures are from 2008, so they are certainly understated.) The bill also sets new guidelines in place to ensure that school lunches are nutritionally sound. Given that many children receive inadequate meals at home, making sure that what they get at school is good for them seems to be eminently sound public policy. Even the relatively conservative FOXNews organization argues that school lunch programs are essential to helping break the cycle of poverty.

Palin's just using this issue to make political hay -- and I think this one might backfire on her. If there's one thing everybody agrees on, it's that our kids deserve the best lives we can prepare them for. As divided as our country is right now, it's hard to picture anybody but the most extreme Palin fan really buying her argument. As this piece in the Huffington Post makes clear, it may be poor politics for Palin to attack Michelle Obama, who remains more popular than her husband (a common situation for First Ladies), and especially for a program that aims to help children's health, an issue with which it is difficult to ... well, take issue. But Palin works in mysterious ways.

I'm eager to see where she takes this -- and whether or not anyone will follow.

next: Putting Baby on Auto-Soothe
111 comments so far | Post a comment now
asiah December 6, 2010, 4:08 PM

Nobody Is Going 2 Listen 2 U Palin!!!
So Shutup!!

Mary Sylvester December 7, 2010, 3:18 AM

Palin speaking out against our current administration??? Shocking. She should start taking care of her own family a little better before she offers her opinion on any thing.

E December 7, 2010, 3:34 AM

I agree with Sarah Palin. I think we are capable to make choices for our children. California has already in my opinion imposed on those right in taking the toy out of Happy Meals. I hate going to a place like Subway and they tell me my child has to have a juice or apples. I pay for it and if I want to allow my child to have a coke that is my right.

Priscilla Womack December 7, 2010, 4:07 AM

Sarah Palin, our first lady is not trying to tell people how to raise their kids, she only suggusting getting healthy. Are you stupid? Your prejudice is shining through. Go sit down some where. Please pass this on to Sarah Palin.

Lera Poff December 7, 2010, 4:08 AM

I am constantly looking online for ideas that can assist me. Thank you!

Mike  December 7, 2010, 4:25 AM

I geuss you are all incapable of thinking for yourselves. If you were to look at all the government regulations going on in your life you would be floored. Educate yourselves and understand just how much government intrusion there really is. I for one do not need a failed public school system to teach my family how to eat. We seem manage very well without there help. As for Sarah not being a good mother get a grip ,if the world was to have major catastrophe SARAH could still feed, protect and take of her family. What could you useless pampered DEPENDANT do nothings do. YOU ALL NEED TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR.

2angels December 7, 2010, 5:23 AM

Obviously Palin doesn’t care for the well being of our children. Our kids are in school most of the day and most of the year. I think it’s good what The First Lady is doing.

owensmom December 7, 2010, 5:47 AM

It is so heart breaking to me how many abused children there are in our country… I actually had a discussion with a dear friend today regarding the fact that i found myself unable to hold back the spontaneous rush of tears that had once again been the result of simply listening to the local 11:00pm news. I found my self literally asking God for an explanation as to why people/parents are out there hurting children. I am currently one of the many unemployed single moms in the country right now… and I can manage to keep my emotions in check 90% of time when my financial woes seem to be insurmountable. I believe many people in this country are far too ignorant when it comes to diet, health and nutrition to take care of themselves or their children and kudos to M Obama for striving to make an informed healthy change. I personally feel/hope that Sarah Palin can step back and allow the respected, capable elected leaders of our country to serve the best interests of the people who put them in office. It is just sad how desperate she seems to be to keep her name in the news… and she seems to sound just a bit less stable / rational with every wacky comment / quote…

mel  December 7, 2010, 6:14 AM

palin is not against her ideas, what she is saying is that sooner or later it won’t be advice,It will be an order. Maybe we should look at the fact that people can’t afford to eat as healthy as they may like. Healthy is expensive…Common sense should tell people what is healthy or not. If your a smoker do you really need me to tell you it’s bad for you, I would think that you’d know that. I agree with her that the gov. should run the white house and let moms run their own house!!!!!!

Jennifer December 7, 2010, 6:16 AM

LOL how can ANYONE (such as Becky above) complain about taxes going back to our children??? See? I prefer logic. If my taxes go ANYWHERE I want to see it go to children.

Or to anyone criticizing Mrs. Obama’s campaign against obesity. Most of you are looking at it from the perspective that they’re trying to educate people who are aware of nutrition being important. When, in fact, they’re focus is on those who aren’t educated. So unless you’re failing at doing so you have no reason to concern yourselves with it. I figure this much, using my logic, unless you’re part of the solution… you’re part of the problem. Mrs. Obama is evidently part of the solution while mindsets like yours (those complaining alongside Palin) that ARE the problem. Palin needed intervention a long time ago. She’s the last person I’m taking parenting advice from.

he’s representing our gender (females) and it’s downright embarrassing!

Jennifer December 7, 2010, 6:19 AM

…and obviously I meant “she”; not he. Although it’s a little comical.

Mom of 2 December 7, 2010, 6:22 AM

I totally agree with Jilly and I think Anonymous is really Sarah Palin. Knowledge is a good thing; it helps people make better decisions.

Anonymous December 7, 2010, 6:49 AM

My daughter qualifies for free meals because I’m unemployed, but getting approval was like jumping through flaming hoops! The meals she gets “free” are nothing but junk, and tiny portions! She comes home HUNGRY if I don’t pack her a lunch, so I ALWAYS pack a lunch, regardless of the “free” lunch the school (very reluctantly) supplies. They don’t allow choices in the “free” line, the “free” lunches are totally separate and much much smaller than the other kid’s lunches. It’s like the cafeteria staff are trying to make kids feel bad for being poor. It’s disgusting! The entire menu is horrific, full of saturated fat, sugar, and simple carbs. I haven’t seen a SINGLE healthy choice on the menu in 8 years, whether we pay or not! I THANK GOD for Michelle Obama’s stand on this issue, and PRAY daily that the legislation will pass, and work!

Pott54 December 7, 2010, 6:56 AM

OH PLEASE. I can’t believe the “anti-government” IDIOTS actually trying to act as if Palin’s latest RANT against government is truly legitimate. BOX-OF-ROCKS Palin—did ya holler and complain about government intrusion when Barbara Bush took on education & literacy; when Hillary Clinton took on women & children’s health issues OR NANCY REAGAN’S “just say no campaign” against drugs? NO YA DIDN’T.

And furthermore, there has been GOVERNMENT INTRUSION in “birth control” for years. Evidently this GOVERNMENT INTRUSION wasn’t INTRUSIVE enough to stop Palin’s DAUGHTER Bristol from EXERCISING HER RIGHT to have unprotected sex and have a child out of wedlock. LOL!

PIG PALIN is a phoney piece of crap.
She knows that her core followers are so biased,racist,and polarized, she doesn’t have to make any sense; they’ll follow and agree with her brand of MILITANT IGNORANCE on ANYTHING political and pertaining to this administration & more specifically, the Obamas.

…HEY LOOK—Palin says the sky is falling & it’s the GOVERNMENT’s fault for letting Sasha & Malia fly kites on the White House lawn - LOL!

Someone needs to tell Palin to go FLY A KITE.

Doc L December 7, 2010, 7:06 AM

Sadly, Ms. Palin is not at all about what is good for our children and our country and all about what is good for Sara Palin. Whatever stance she can make that will garner her more attention and money is where we will find her “imparting her wisdom” to us. Her lack of intelligence and/or ability to understand the complexities of this nation is just plain horrifying. She confuses countries, does not understand foreign policy and just plain lies about issues…This all helps to continue to scare and confuse those who do not read any real news but who get their information by listening to fix news, Rush and Glen. It is hard to not be disgusted by her and those who blindly believe every bit of propaganda she spews.

Mike December 7, 2010, 7:17 AM

Pott54 your are incapable of seeing your own prejudice

Gail December 7, 2010, 7:35 AM

Some of you people over react — I applaud the First Lady for speaking up on this issue…I don’t think they are trying to “tell us how to parent” I think it is an effort to HELP - and yes some need more help than others..but have any of you ever eatena school lunch?? I think that with limited money, the school systems are doing a commendable job with what they got….my kids in elementary school (and yes, I pay for their lunch) are offered choices each day, they have to have some protein - but they can choose NOT to take it, they are offered a choice of sides - fruits, either preserves or juices are the only options and they have to provide carbs as well..only and ONLY when everyone has been served are they allowed to go back for seconds — it is when they get older that the poor choices (and this is where parenting comes in) are made…I have seen older children leave school and opt for fast food EVERY DAY…so stop blaming it on the governement, look in the mirror a few more times and take responsibility. This isn’t “intrusion”, but if parents don’t do it, who else can help. I appreciate the efforts made by school staff, but they don’t paid enough to do my job for me. That is my humble opinion — Sarah Palin should learn when to zip it!

Patsy C. December 7, 2010, 7:49 AM

I am very much opposed to Sarah Palin. She needs to stay in Alaska.

Irene December 7, 2010, 8:30 AM

Why doesn’t Ms. Obama DO SOMETHING that really makes more sense like concentrating her efforts to STOP THE BULLYING in our schools with absolute zero tolerance. Let her control her girls’ diets not the rest of the country’s kids. Who does she think she is anyway???? She’s the First Lady NOT the First Lunchlady.

Mike December 7, 2010, 8:35 AM

Why do we all feel the need to have others do for us . We have become dependant zombies.

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