Sympathy for the President

Press release of the day:

A physicians' nonprofit wants President Barack Obama to stop chowing down on hot dogs in front of news cameras. In a petition being filed on May 10, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asks the White House to issue an executive order banning staged photo opportunities that show the president, the first family, the vice president, and members of the president's cabinet eating unhealthy foods -- including processed meats -- that can cause cancer and obesity.

"The White House would never set up a photo op showing the president buying cigarettes, so why is it okay to show him eating a hot dog?" says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. "Processed meats like hot dogs kill more Americans each year than tobacco does, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare. As role model to millions of Americans the president has a responsibility to watch what he eats in public."

Since taking office, President Obama has posed for the cameras eating a hot dog at a basketball game with British Prime Minister David Cameron, eating cheeseburgers with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and stopping at a D.C. burger restaurant to share a cheeseburger with a reporter, among other similar instances. His predecessors, including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan have also been caught on camera eating unhealthy foods, from ice cream to a Big Mac....Widely publicized photographs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt eating a hot dog are credited with popularizing what once used to be a widely disliked food. Now Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year.

The petition is a publicity gimmick, of course; the chances that Obama will issue this executive order are barely higher than the chances he'll greet Election Day with an early-morning pardon for Charlie Manson. I'm blogging it because the sheer concentrated nagging gave me my first twinge of sympathy for the president in nearly four years. It was a novel feeling, and I thought you might get a kick out of experiencing it too.

By the way, that FDR story is actually true, sort of: While hot dogs were already pretty popular when he came along, he did make them more respectable. Daniel Fromson told the tale in The Atlantic last year. Here's my favorite part, from Fromson's description of the pre-Roosevelt era:

Hot dog advocates defended their wares from allegations that the products contained actual dog meat, launching campaigns to change the name to "franks," "red hots," and even "hot pig and cow." There were odder stories, too: A kitten gone berserk after eating a hot dog, or an especially weird New York Times piece, "Scorned a Throne, Now Faces Swahilis' Curse; Hot-Dog Man Gets Ominous Note From Africa."

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  • The Other Kevin||

    You can argue this is actually counter productive, because as you can see the president is nowhere near obese. Plus he has all that athletic prowess. Maybe burgers and dog aren't so bad for you after all.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Burgers and dogs aren't bad for The First Family, Kevin... they're bad for everyone else, though.

    Michelle says so.

  • RPR2||

    Processed meats like hot dogs kill more Americans each year than tobacco does

    like anyone could possibly know that

  • ||

    Anyone who dies who has ever eaten a hot dog is a hot dog related death. Sort of like how they do alcohol and drug statistics. Don't you get it?

  • R C Dean||

    If I eat a hot dog, and smoke a cigarette, when I die, does it count as both a hot dog related death and a cigarette related death?

    I bet it does.

  • ||

    And if you are within 200 ft. of a road or vehicle and somebody who has consumed alcohol in the last 24-hours, it's also an alcohol-related traffic fatality.

  • ||

    Yes, RC. Goes towards the primary catch-all DX: Cardiac Disease. It's probably what I would list on the pathology report as COD, provided I knew that HX.

    You of all people should know this.

  • fried wylie||

    slippery slope? what's that, never heard of it.

    "Tobacco kills more Americans each year than does, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare."

    "Processed meats like hot dogs kill more Americans each year than tobacco does, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare."

    "Television kills more Americans each year than hotdogs do, and it costs taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare."

    rinse. repeat.

  • fried wylie||

    *"Tobacco kills more Americans each year than <previous boogeyman> does...

  • wareagle||

    with all due respect, the Physician's Committee can go fuck itself. While I think Obama's habits and Michelle's words are the textbook definition of hypocrisy, I am sick to death of one busybody group after another wanting to dictate the choices people make.

  • ¿Ex Nihilo?||

    Jesse,

    Why do you hang out red meat for Richard in KY? Why?

  • Killazontherun||

    Bait. It's the new Reason way to deal with trolls. Zero in on the address and then send in the kill team.

  • Loki||

    Kill team? Doesn't Reason have its own drone?

  • T||

    Too impersonal for libertarians. We're trying to take political violence back from wholesale commoditized crap churned out by heartless megacorporations to the artisanal craft it used to be.

  • ||

    Libertarians against commoditizing? I'm shocked and, frankly, appalled.

  • juris imprudent||

    Drones are tools of the state. Though I have to admit, the thought of the Kochs owning a drone would cause much LULZ at the spasmodic reaction by the left.

  • juris imprudent||

    And imagine having a laser designator built into your monocle!

  • Zeb||

    Actually, I think that more public smoking is about the only thing that woudl improve my opinion of the president.

  • RBS||

    He should enter the Nathan's hot dog eating contest and chain smoke during the entire thing.

  • PapayaSF||

    Nathan's got their start selling at Coney Island around 100 years ago, and came up with a brilliant scheme to convince people of the quality of their product: they gave free hot dogs to the doctors and nurses who worked at the park, as long as they ate near the stand and wore their medical whites. The sight convinced others that Nathan's had a quality product.

  • ||

    I'd describe the twinges I felt as distinctly schadenfreudey.

  • rho||

    I firmly believe hot dogs contain dog meat. It's better than the lips and assholes they actually contain.

  • Restoras||

    Obama likes hot dogs? Well, that's one thing I can respect and even admire him for. Nothin' like a good, grilled dog, or one off the rollers at a sporting event, with a fine, cold brew.

  • R C Dean||

    Nothin' like a good, grilled dog,

    I'm sure Obama agrees with you on that one.

  • Killazontherun||

    Personally, I think they are a waste of a perfectly good bun to fit a grilled sausage.

  • ||

    Really, one of the only things I actually like about Obama is that he has some meatballish South Side tendencies that come through now and then (his allegiance to Chicago sports teams, his love of hot dogs, his opposition to gay marriage, etc.).

  • R C Dean||

    Oh, please. You don't think he really cares about any of that, do you? Its all optics and positioning to him.

    The only thing that might be genuine is whatever fan thing he has for the Bulls. Gay marriage? You know he's for it, but won't say so because he doesn't want to piss off part of his coalition. Hot dogs? Those are just aw-shucks, man-of-the-people photo ops.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    They might be worried about the HotDog Hooker (who is totally not a hooker, but a stripper).
    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20.....everybody/

  • AlmightyJB||

    Either way I don't want to be present.

  • Michael||

    I'm blogging it because the sheer concentrated nagging gave me my first twinge of sympathy for the president in nearly four years.

    Why? Because the Physicians Committee is carrying the Dems' ceaselessly encroaching nanny state to its logical conclusion?

  • Bee Tagger||

    Exactly. My sympathies lie with the President only if he's actually intellectually incapable of understanding the logical consequences of his policies.

  • R C Dean||

    So, your sympathies lie with the President, then.

  • Loki||

    the sheer concentrated nagging gave me my first twinge of sympathy for the president in nearly four years

    Since he and his wife in aperticular have spent the last 4 years hectoring the rest of us about our diets, I can't really feel any sympathy for him at all. What goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, etc, etc. Maybe now he knows what it's like to be nagged over his diet, but I doubt he has the self awareness to realize that's what he and his wookie wife have been doing to the rest of us.

  • Killazontherun||

    I haven't seen him do it, though I could have easily missed it over more important matters of attention. I've noticed a trend amongst the presidents that they tend to stay away from the pet causes of the evil bitches that they marry.

  • Loki||

    True. He's just happy that the harpy is finally nagging someone other than him.

  • ||

    "Queen of the harpies! Queen of the harpies!"

  • The Priest of PC||

    The president should smoke in public to get sympathy votes from nicotine addicts.

  • The Priest of PC||

    "Obama likes hot dogs? Well, that's one thing I can respect and even admire him for. Nothin' like a good, grilled dog, or one off the rollers at a sporting event, with a fine, cold brew."

    Obama doesn't like hotdogs it's all pretend.

  • ||

    A physicians' nonprofit . . . the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine . . .

    Un-fucking-believable. The media continues to act like these guys are actually a bunch of concerned physicians instead of a hack-job pseudo-scientific front for a bunch of extreme animal-rights wingnuts.

  • ||

    These types are the kind that don't practice direct care medicine, CMS (I hate those initials). These physicians are the dreaded Master's in Public Health (MPH), who live to do nothing but account for every etiology of diseases known and unknown and proscribe every preventive measure possible. The are surpassed in nannyism by only the pediatrician.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We should unleash STEVE SMITH on them all.

  • Jerry||

    I just read her bio, and apparently she majored in journalism as an undergraduate. No, not chemistry, but journalism.

  • wareagle||

    well, of course, because nothing prepares a person to hector others than a degree in journalism.

  • ||

    That's why she's the spokes-mouthpiece for this outfit. If you are referring to Ms. Levin, she is another member of the medical nanny trifecta: Registered Dietician.

  • ||

    Funny you should mention pediatricians. I have a good friend who is an early child development educator and doula who strongly recommends that you go with a family G.P. over a pediatrician.

  • juris imprudent||

    If there were justice in this world, those folks would get a target tatooed on them when they are awarded that degree.

  • Brandon||

    Why are they called Physicians, then?

  • GILMORE||

    Processed meats like hot dogs kill more Americans each year than tobacco does, and they cost taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare. As role model to millions of Americans the president has a responsibility to watch what he eats in public."

    I think the only appropriate answer obama could make: "Let me be clear = Go Fuck Yourself."

  • ||

    Everyone who's not a moron knows the bun is the bad part, anyway.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's true

  • Jerry||

    Ms. Levin is also an avid long-distance runner.

    Talk about creating a long-term health problem.

  • The Other Kevin||

    Should we be forced to pay for her bad choices when it comes time for knee replacement surgery?

  • AlmightyJB||

    That's different. Intentions...remember.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Did they whine like little bitches when he had that beer with those idiots?

  • Brandon||

    Which time?

  • Brandon||

    Which time?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Next time he should have a chili dog.

  • ||

    Sonic/Knuckles 2012!

  • IceTrey||

    Hot dogs killing people SAVES money! The sooner you die the less of a burden you are on the health system.

  • Ben the Duck||

    my first twinge of sympathy for the president in nearly four years. It was a novel feeling, and I thought you might get a kick out of experiencing it too.

    No "sympathy" for slavers here, sorry. I'm a libertarian.

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