The first lady of the United States is on a whirlwind publicity tour for her hefty new food and gardening book ($30), which the White House hopes will bolster Team Obama's favorability ratings. I'd say it's a classic recipe for rank campaign hypocrisy and media double standards.
While journalists savor chummy chitchats with Mrs. Obama about beets and Beyonce, FLOTUS is once again escaping hard questions about her cronyism, junk science and generous junkets at taxpayer expense.
Mrs. Obama's 2012 campaign media blitz has already brought her to daytime airwaves ("The Ellen DeGeneres Show"), prime-time reality TV ("The Biggest Loser") and children's programming ("iCarly"). This week, she's hitting up "Good Morning America," "The View," Rachael Ray's cooking show, "LIVE! with Kelly (Ripa)" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Out: Let's Move! In: Let's Move ... in front of the TV cameras!
My prediction? As soon as the fawning media frenzy dies down and Mrs. Obama's book rises to the top of The New York Times best-seller list, POTUS will go back to claiming that FLOTUS is a "private citizen" who should be left alone. The Obamas' Chicago strategists have long enjoyed invoking selective immunity for the first lady without challenge. Lapdog reporters have assisted in creating an impenetrable bubble of political protection around the profligate, policy-meddling first lady.
We've seen it before.
When conservatives challenged Mrs. O's caustic 2008 campaign trail statements disparaging America and fear-mongering for votes, her hubby invoked the "civilian" shield. He threatened Republicans to "lay off his wife," arguing that political spouses should not be subject to public scrutiny because they didn't choose public life.
When Mrs. O's lavish vacation in Spain — accompanied by an entourage of 70 Secret Service agents and 250 Spanish law enforcement officers — provoked a massive public backlash in 2010, then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs argued that the first lady was a "private citizen" who should be off-limits to tough questions about her behavior.
Obama's outspoken bitter half conscientiously and deliberately inserted herself into the public square long before the family moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — whether it was organizing a Woods Fund panel with her husband and Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, taking a publicly subsidized government job with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, or parlaying her relationship with political mentor Valerie Jarrett into a cushy public job at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she oversaw a patient-dumping scheme that benefited her political cronies.
As I reported earlier this month, Mrs. Obama's signature program (now run by Obama's best golfing buddy Dr. Eric Whitaker) just received a $6 million grant from an Obamacare agency with zero independent oversight. Taste the boodle.
Just a humble private mom raising her two daughters while Dad does all that hardball politics stuff? Pshaw. Let's not forget that Mrs. Obama leveraged her hubby's Senate victory to snag a lucrative seat on the corporate board of directors of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. despite having zero experience in the industry.
When her garden gloves are off, her political boxing gloves are on. Mrs. O famously has castigated other Americans' choices in how they earn theirmoney. She used her East Wing power to push Obamacare. She has exploited the bully pulpit to restrict food advertisers' speech. She has served the SEIU's legislative agenda of increasing the welfare state and padding membership rolls with more government school workers under the guise of fighting child obesity.
And she has relied on questionable science to declare war on so-called "food deserts" in poor neighborhoods where she claims only fast food is available. But according to two major peer-reviewed and published studies: 1) poor neighborhoods had nearly twice the number of supermarkets and large-scale grocers per square mile as wealthier neighborhoods, and 2) there is no correlation between what students in a large-scale California survey ate, what they weighed and what kinds of food they ate within the immediate radius of their homes.
While she denies a Nanny State agenda, Mrs. Obama successfully has strong-armed several major restaurant chains into redesigning their menus to her exacting healthful standards. One of those targets is Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants across the country. At a time when most food service providers are struggling under the weight of increased taxes, health care mandates and regulations, Darden Restaurants just happens to be one of the few and fortunate businesses to obtain one of those coveted Obamacare waivers.
When Michelle Obama stops using her public office to push new Big Government power grabs and redistribute wealth to her cronies (flashback: Chicago Obama-lympics), stoke racial grievances, and meddle in Obama administration personnel decisions that lead to whistleblower firings (ask her about former AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin), I'll leave her alone.
Until then, someone's got to deliver FLOTUS her just deserts.
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