Now that Obama has a record as president, chroniclers of the White House, including me, will soon be offering up the usual dumb analysis about how the president compares to this or that sublime or scumbag predecessor. Some years back, National Journal magazine used some kind of tortured logic to get to how George W. Bush was just like Franklin D. Roosevelt. Everyone talked about how brilliant this was. I mean WTF, right? Notably, this was in July 2003, just after Bush had whipped Saddam’s butt in Iraq and the Bush hagiography racket was still going strong. Old W. still figured Saddam’s WMD was hidden in a meat locker somewhere in Tikrit, and the insurgency had yet to catch on.
But I’m going to kick off the inevitable compare and contrast season with the First Lady, who indeed resembles one of her predecessors in an important way. No, I’m not talking about her being the ” Black Jackie” and about all the nonsense suggesting she’s trying to establish some kind of Gangsta Camelot in the White House. I’m talking about how Michelle resembles Nancy Reagan.
Yeah, I said it, Nancy Reagan. Like Nancy, Michelle is using the First Lady’s office in the most effective way possible, brokering her celebrity status to try to usher a fundamental change in the culture on an issue that is devastating American society.
Nancy had her “Just Say No” campaign, and of course she got all sorts of crap for it. The Washington Governing Class prefers sophisticated solutions drawn up in think tanks and universities that force Americans to bend to their superior intellect. But by relentlessly repeating the phrase during her appearances, I believe the message permeated society, changed the ethic a bit, and saved lives.
And now there’s Michelle Obama with her Just Say No to Sitting Your Fat Asses on the Couch campaign, also known as the Let’s Move initiative. The effort also promotes health eating.
Yes, of course there is a new program in the FY 2011 budget to support the campaign – this is the Obama administration, after all – but the emphasis of Let’s Move is on using the First Lady’s bully pulpit to spread the word that it’s time to change how our kids interact with food and with the athletic field.
Anybody who’s been to a school lately or thrown a birthday party for their child knows that too many of America’s youths are bloated, digital-toy-obsessed, sacks of pathetic greasy lard. One of the kids on my son’s soccer team looks like he needs a bus to get him up and down the field.
And who can blame the young ones when their parents have a snack waiting for them at every turn? God forbid these kids should go 30 minutes without a snack washed down with some sugary “juice.”
Even parents who try to withhold carbo-bombs from their kids are faced with a culture that will ensure the dear ones get some anyway, whether from schools, daycare centers, other parents, or everywhere else. When one mother suggested the mandatory snacks doled out after soccer games be eliminated or at least made healthy, she was smacked down like a blood sucking mosquito by the other parents.
Thanks Michelle. Keep showing us how to hula hoop girl. And Barack, keep keeping those smokes out of sight.