Wednesday, November 24, 2010

During Radio Interview, Sarah Palin Attacks Michelle Obama & Let's Move!

On Laura Ingraham Show, Palin tells First Lady to "get off our back" regarding food clip included
UPDATE, Dec. 29: Pushback against Let's Move! is one of the top White House food stories of 2010. The East Wing responds...
UPDATE, Nov. 27: The First Lady discussed her childhood obesity campaign and addressed some of Sarah Palin's criticisms during an interview with Barbara Walters
During a chatty visit with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday to promote her bestselling new book, "America By Heart," former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin (l) took a few minutes to bash First Lady Michelle Obama. Palin does that in her book, too, referencing a comment Mrs. Obama made on the 2008 campaign trail about being proud of her country "for the first time." In the Ingraham interview, Palin not only repeats the criticism, but she also extends it to the Let's Move! campaign, and blithely commingles the two issues.

Ingraham is happy with Palin bashing Mrs. Obama, of course. On her website today, Ingraham has the photo of Mrs. Obama, above, launching the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative. The caption "Remember, the First Mom always knows what is best for you" is meant to be more than sarcastic. The Obama administration, as far as Ingraham and Palin are concerned, is deeply interested in expanding the reach of government, and the First Lady's childhood obesity campaign is one more example of this. Eliminating Big Government is the political rallying cry of the Tea Party, and Ingraham was at ground zero of the Tea movement (check this post from April 16, 2009, when ObFo "ran into" Ingraham at the very first Tax Day Tea Party rally outside the White House).

"Injecting herself into policy"
During the interview, which covers many other topics, Ingraham sets it up for Palin to get out the knives for Mrs. Obama and Let's Move!, by asking Palin's opinion about the First Lady "injecting herself into policy."

"She said it on the campaign trail twice, that it was the first time that she had been proud of her country when finally people were paying attention to Barack Obama," Palin said, speking about the "proud of my country" comment. "And you know, I think that's appalling."

"It baffles me that anyone would have that view, and then allow that view to bleed over into policy," Palin continued, while making a confused analysis of American exceptionalism.

Palin then attempted to clarify what she meant about Mrs. Obama by criticizing the Let's Move! campaign.

"Take her anti-obesity thing that she's on. She is on this kick, right," Palin said. "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..and..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," Palin said.

Food is a hot-button topic, highly political, as well as highly personal, and something that is capable of inciting the most intense outrage and fear, as people worry that the government may intrude so far into their lives that it will be controlling what is on their dinner plates--and what goes into their mouths. America has had an ongoing, wide-ranging battle over government regulation of food for decades, whether it's sodium levels or sugar content or what the word "organic" even means (or crop subsidies, or what items Food Stamps can be used to purchase, or what constitutes a "small producer" for the pending Senate food safety bill....). Palin choosing to attack the First Lady's campaign is a savvy tactic. Even if what Palin says makes little sense, and has no actual basis in the reality of Mrs. Obama's campaign, it's an automatic and emotional attention grabber.

On Wednesday, Palin told Fox News that she's sure she could win the 2012 presidential election if she was running against President Obama.

“I certainly do,” Palin said, when asked whether she believed she could beat the President. “In fact, if you're going to run for any office, you better be in it to win it.”

She added that she was shocked at the reaction to her saying she could win. "Hopefully, every candidate believes that they could beat the incumbent," Palin said. "Otherwise, why challenge the incumbent?"

The Ingraham interview is not the first time Palin has spoken out about "Big Government" intervening in food policy (more on that below, after the audio of the Ingraham interview).

But it should be noted that encouraging parents to make informed choices about what they feed their children, by providing them with information and education, is a centerpiece of the Let's Move! campaign. And during Let's Move! speeches, Mrs. Obama routinely points out that "government can't do it all," as she explains that that is why her campaign is a "grassroots movement" that involves parents, teachers, coaches, boy and girl scout leaders (etc. etc. etc.), members of the food industry large and small, non-profits, and yes, local, state, and federal officials.

The Chefs Move to Schools initiative is a good example of bringing citizens in to helps schools improve their nutrition scenarios, because government hasn't--and can't, and shouldn't--"do it all." The creation of a citizen chef corps fundamentally speaks against the desire on Mrs. Obama's part for more government intervention. On Nov. 29, Mrs. Obama will do more outreach to citizens, when she launches "Let's Move Faith & Communities," a new initiative for citizen leaders to become involved with the campaign.

The audio of the Palin-Ingraham interview is below, and the Let's Move! portion begins at 2:35:

More Palin criticism of "Big Government" food policy...

Palin is emerging as a growing voice against any kind of "government intervention" in food policy. On November 9th, during an appearance at the Plumstead Christian School in Plumstead Township, PA, Palin also said that government should not intervene in food issues, but that it should be up to parents to determine what their children eat.

Palin took aim at the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, which had plans to issue new guidelines limiting the number of sweets allowed in classrooms, calling the Board "a nanny state run amok."

"I look at Pennsylvania and I think of sweets - I think of Hershey. Then I think, how dare they ban sweets from school here," Palin said.

Palin brought cookies to her speech to hand out to the school kids, as a way of thumbing her nose at the government of Pennsylvania.

"I brought dozens and dozens of cookies. I had to shake it up for you guys, especially the press okay," Palin told the students. "I wanted these kids to bring home the idea to their parents for discussion. Who should be making the decisions what you eat, school choice and everything else? Should it be government or should it be the parents?"

"It should be the parents," Palin concluded, the same point she made on Ingraham's show.

The cookies were a well-planned maneuver: On Nov. 8th, Palin tweeted that she intended to bring the students cookies to make her point:

Hmm...may bring cookies to my PA school speech tmrw to make a pt "PA mulls ban on cake/cookies/candy@ school parties...
" Palin tweeted, adding a link to a Pittsburgh news site that doesn't bring up any specific story.

Palin got the state Board of Education's plans wrong; there was no attempt to ban treats from schools, an official told media.

Other cons don't like Let's Move! either...
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and other conservative commentators have found Mrs. Obama and Let's Move! to be an excellent target, too. In September, Beck suggested Mrs. Obama's campaign would cause global French fry riots---and he didn't seem to be kidding. In early November,, a con site, awarded Mrs. Obama the Golden Hookah Award, usually reserved for wasteful giovernment officials or entities, for her ongoing promotion of the $400 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a cornerstone of the Let's Move! campaign that's designed to help meet the very ambitious goal of eliminating food deserts in America in just seven years. Beck and Limbaugh went to town with criticism of the First Lady and the HFFI, too.

*Palin photo by Getty; screenshot from Laura Ingraham website