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February 10th, 2010 11:54 am
Do it for the Nation, Tubby!
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Somewhere in the White House, there is a speechwriter who, if she has any sense, is perusing the classified section on Craigslist.

This would be the person responsible for First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks yesterday about the threat of child obesity (a crusade I’ve previously chronicled here).

Having labored in a speechwriting shop or two in my day (including the one at the White House), I’m sympathetic to the plight of a writer who needs to get five pages out of a topic where one sentence would suffice (in this case, “step away from the eclair”). It usually involves a lot of excess verbiage and a few stretches of the imagination. But the First Lady’s invocation of obesity as a national security threat rivaled her husband’s propensity for audacity. To wit:

“A recent study put the health care cost of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion a year,” Mrs. Obama said. “This epidemic also impacts the nation’s security, as obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service.”

While advocating for everything from revamping the food pyramid (is there anything First Ladies aren’t responsible for?) to “help[ing] places like convenience stores carry healthier food options” (I have no idea what that means, but I’m sure it includes some subsidies), Mrs. Obama also waxed inspirational about the task ahead:

“This isn’t like a disease where we’re still waiting for a cure to be discovered – we know the cure for this,” Obama said. “This isn’t like putting a man on the moon or inventing the Internet. It doesn’t take some stroke of genius or feat of technology.

Hmmm. But it does take a major program run by the federal government, huh? You’ve got to love liberals. If you’re below a certain rung on the socio-economic ladder, they want to give you everything for free. If you’re above it, however, they want to pry the money right out of your pocket — and now the cheddar bacon potato skins right out of your mouth.

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