Prior to Eleanor Roosevelt, no first lady was a public figure. The term “first lady” was not capitalized. First ladies stayed in the background. Eleanor Roosevelt became the first full-time First Lady nag, both for her husband and for the nation. Her husband ignored her, but liberal Democrats kept her on a pedestal long after her husband unexpectedly left office.
Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower did their best to restore the older tradition. Nobody ever heard from them. But then came Jacqueline Kennedy, the best-dressed woman ever to grace the White House. She even gave us a tour of the White House on national television. From that time on, First Ladies have been expected to do something both useful and noncontroversial. Each First Lady is supposed to select some national do-good project, and devote her public life to it. I suppose the best example of this was Lady Bird Johnson’s cheerleading for planting flowers along federal highways. That seemed innocuous enough, as long as you were not in the road sign business.
Now we get Michelle Obama. She picked the most controversial topic in First Lady history: nutrition. She is serving as a cheerleader for new federal regulations being forced down the throats of America’s schoolchildren. She wants them to stop eating things that will make them fat, rot their teeth, and generally be worth paying for.
The idea that federal regulations can make fat people thin has to be the most utopian idea in the history of national do-goodism. Nothing else comes close. The one thing that we know about fat people is this: 95 percent of them do not get thin and stay thin. In other words, this project is utopianism on a scale — pun intended — never before seen in the White House. Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty was an exercise in political realism compared to Michelle Obama’s attempt to slim down America’s schoolchildren.
The project has backfired. School districts around the nation have found that snacks that comply with new federal regulations cannot be sold to students. Students want to use their snack money and cafeteria money to indulge their tastes, and healthy foods do not indulge their tastes. So, school districts are suffering losses of income as a result of the new regulations.
Parents really don’t want federal bureaucrats interfering in an area of parental authority that doesn’t exist. Parents learn very early they have zero control over what their kids eat at school, unless they pack a bag lunch. Now comes Michelle Obama, who has become the #1 national nag in an area in which parents have proven incapable of getting their children to pay any attention for the last 70 years.
I can think of no project in the history of federal reform that has had less likelihood of achieving anything except political backlash than this one.
She hitched her wagon, not to a star, but to an exploding cigar. Of federal projects most guaranteed to blow up in her face, and in her husband’s face, this one has to be the capper. This woman is so utterly devoid of judgment, both politically and socially, that it makes you wonder why she was paid $317,000 a year after her husband was elected to the United States Senate. (http://bit.ly/MrsO317k)
I think it is appropriate that she was paid this salary as an employee of a hospital. When we think of “hospital food,” we do not think “I’ll have seconds.” She has taken the menu of the typical hospital’s kitchen and has transferred it to America’s public schools.
Mrs. Obama has achieved what the conservative movement around the United States has been unable to achieve for the last 70 years. Her program is leading local school districts to turn down federal funding. Conservatives been trying to get local governments to do this ever since the end of World War II. They have been totally unsuccessful. But Mrs. Obama has achieved it. Who would have guessed?
And so we read local articles such as the following.
School nutrition experts in Nebraska are struggling to comply with new federal snack regulations championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I think we’ve gone too far, too fast,” Diane Zipay, director of nutritional services for the Westside School District told KIETV.com. “And I don’t think it’s a real-world environment. We might have changed the school but we haven’t changed the child or our world.”
The federal snack rules take effect this year for school districts across the country that participate in the federal free and reduced lunch program. They restrict snack foods sold at schools to those with at least 50 percent whole grain, with low sugar, fat and sodium content. Each snack must also come in under 200 calories, according to the news site.
That means a lot of popular snacks are now off the table, including donuts, brownies, potato chips, full flavor pop, candy bars, and most other foods teenagers prefer. Even salt shakers and packets are now illegal.
Zipay told KETV.com the new rules not only greatly reduce the available snack options schools can offer to students, they defy the concept of moderation that’s important for students to learn.
“I want kids to feel like they can have an apple one day and a Snicker’s bar the next. And that’s OK,” she said. “You cannot buy a Tic Tac in a Nebraska school, I checked.”
The new snack rules are a continuation of a federal school lunch overhaul in 2010 promoted by Michelle Obama as a means of combating childhood obesity, but instead of making kids healthier, the new regulations are driving a record number of students away from school lunches.
Recent reports show more than 1 million students no longer buy school lunches because of the new restrictions. The regulations are also creating more than $1 billion in food waste annually because students are now forced to take fruits and vegetables they don’t want.
In many cases, public schools have lost so much in lunch sales district officials have opted to forfeit federal lunch funding to serve students foods they’ll actually buy, and eat. Just last week, Illinois’ second largest school district opted out of the National School Lunch Program, as did two New York school districts, among others.
She is the incarnation of liberalism’s ultimate mantra: “If you know what’s good for you. . . .”
We know what’s good for us. We just don’t want any. Liberals, sensing this, add sticks to their carrots.
School districts are rejecting federal carrots. That leaves only sticks.
Mrs. Obama’s husband will be long out of office when school children buy apples rather than candy bars. Fundamentalists have a term for this era: the millennium. They think Jesus must return to govern it personally. This is beyond Mrs. Obama’s managerial capabilities.