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September 15th, 2011 4:02 pm
Michelle Obama’s War on Breadsticks
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Oh, the policy initiatives of a First Lady. In most White Houses, they’re confined to feel-good exhortations to increase child literacy or avoid the temptations of drugs. And at their best, they’re an opportunity for the president’s spouse to take a stand on an issue better handled by civil society than government. That’s not without merit. The voice of an influential public figure can certainly change popular attitudes for the better.

What’s a little dismaying however, is when what starts as an earnest appeal to self-improvement becomes an excuse for nannyism and artificial quotas. Consider this, from the Daily Caller:

Bending to the whims of Michelle Obama, Darden Restaurants — the company that owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and other restaurant concepts — announced Thursday that it will cut the “calorie footprint” and sodium levels in its meals and create new kids’ menus to comply with the first lady’s public health objectives.

With Michelle Obama, Darden unveiled its plans for all 19,000 of its restaurants in 49 states at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hyattsville, Md., in front of a prominent sign advertising the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.

The company pledged to reduce the overall calories and sodium in its meals by 10 percent over the next five years, and by 20 percent over 10 years.

Is the First Lady’s goal to suck all the joy out of life? Has our concept of limited government been so diminished that we’ll accept being hectored by the waiter at the Red Lobster over how many cheddar bay biscuits we’ve had because it’s a directive from Michelle Obama’s office?

The First Lady is certainly right that Americans could stand to step up their excercise regimes and cut back on the calories. But taking away options is the low road to virtue. If her case is compelling, it’ll sink in on the merits. If not, those are the wages of living in a free society.

As for those cheddar bay biscuits, I have five words for Mrs. Obama: “… from my cold, dead hands.”

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