By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer
It’s pure irony when a hypocrite calls someone else a hypocrite. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh recently attacked First Lady Michelle Obama for indulging in a meal of ribs at a Colorado resort.
“The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice,” he said. “She is a hypocrite, leaders are supposed to be leaders. If we are supposed to go out and eat nothing, if we are supposed to eat roots, berries and tree bark, show us how.”
Well, that’s interesting. I don’t recall Mrs. Obama saying that we should all make our children eat roots, berries and tree bark. All I’ve heard her say is that we should help fix the fact that our nation’s children are among the most obese in the world, and she’s offered ways to do that.
Mrs. Obama, like every first lady before her, has chosen an issue to stand for while her husband is in office. “Just say no,” was Nancy Reagan’s 1980s campaign slogan, and Laura Bush campaigned to promote literacy and education. Mrs. Obama has chosen to become an advocate for eating healthy. She got attention for planting an organic garden at the White House and makes frequent public appearances in support of her cause.
So I suppose in the most literal sense one could call Mrs. Obama a hypocrite. But it’s also not really that cut and dried. I know I’m not alone in saying every woman has been on a diet at some point in her life. I’m sure every single woman has, at some point, sat down in a restaurant and realized that she was sick and tired of her diet and indulged in a treat.
Now, I recognize the fact that Mrs. Obama isn’t on a diet, but hasn’t Limbaugh ever heard of the word ‘indulge?’ Oh wait…I guess he has.
The last few weeks have been tough for Mrs. Obama. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Sarah Palin, among others, have also attacked her for saying that a mother should, if she can, breast feed her children because it’s been shown that breast feeding helps children fight obesity in the future. Additionally, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart’s website featured a cartoon of an overweight Mrs. Obama screaming at her husband to “shut up and pass the bacon!”
I think a lot of this harkens back to the nature of politics today. It’s no secret that things are nasty, and within the last few years they’ve become a lot more vicious. That’s the kind of thing people like Limbaugh feed off of – pardon the pun. Nothing’s sacred anymore. Children, spouses and eating habits of our politicians are no longer off limits.
Because Mrs. Obama is the wife of President Obama, Limbaugh feels it’s OK to attack her. I’m guessing Limbaugh doesn’t have a problem with Mrs. Obama eating ribs – it’s got more to do with the things her husband stands for. I guarantee you if it was Laura Bush, Limbaugh wouldn’t have even batted an eyelash. But then again, he isn’t exactly the voice of balance and reason.
To me, it wasn’t a matter of her acting hypocritically. To do that, she’d have to make secret McDonald’s runs every day and then later do interviews about the evils of the fast food giant.
Mrs. Obama isn’t trying to tell us how to live our lives, she’s trying to give us information on the tools to live healthy and ensure our children don’t die of preventable causes. Limbaugh has turned this into another one of his crusades when really, it’s just no big deal.
The question isn’t whether she’s a hypocrite, it’s why does it matter what she eats, especially when she’s clearly not overweight? And why does Rush Limbaugh care so much?