Michelle Obama

"You Say Potato, Mrs. Obama. I Say, Please Stop Micromanaging Our Diets and Our Schools."


Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama took to the pages of The New York Times to denounce "anti-science" Republicans (are there any other kind?) who want to let recipients of WIC buy potatoes via the program. "The House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars." What bastards! 

She also had harsh words for other House members (Republicans, I'm guessing) who "want to make it optional, not mandatory, for schools to serve fruits and vegetables to our kids. They also want to allow more sodium and fewer whole grains than recommended into school lunches." Sons of bitches!

In a piece for Time, I suggest that the First Lady's attitude should disturb all of us for various reasons. Including this one:

"As parents, we always put our children's interests first," she writes. "We wake up every morning and go to bed every night worrying about their well-being and their futures."

If she really believes that, then why not treat poor people with the same respect we treat middle- and upper-middle class folks? If we're going to supplement their incomes, why not give them a cash payment and let them figure out how to make the best use of it?

Similarly, if we can't trust our schools to figure out how best to fill their students' stomachs, why the hell are we forcing our children to attend such institutions in the first place? When is the last time you heard kids who attend schools of choice—whether private, religious, or public charters (which enroll disproportionately high numbers of low-income students)—even mention food?

Mrs. Obama's op-ed is predicated upon the notion that the nutrition and programs she champions have reduced obesity in Americans. I note that there's scant evidence for that, especially given the fact that obesity rates stopped rising somewhere between six and 10 years before her husband was elected president.

Read the whole thing.

My Reason colleague Elizabeth Nolan Brown has been all over this story like Cheez Whiz on a Steak-umm.

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  1. The one bright side to a Hillary presidency would be having a presidential spouse who’s somewhat entertaining.

  2. Even red-skinned potatoes? What about yukon golds? Heirloom purple potatoes?

    WTF is anti-science about a fucking potato anyway?

    1. You see, potatoes were originally domesticated by the Peruvians, who were saints, by virtue of not being white. So once upon a time, potatoes were ok.

      But then, potatoes escaped captivity and the Irish started growing them. The Irish are white. Therefore, potatoes bad, mmkay?

      1. But what about the locally grown, organic, multi-colored new potatoes available at the farmer’s market? Surely they must be OK?

        1. Grown by white people! BAD!

        2. That’s spoilage. Don’t buy those.

      2. Have were really accepted Dagos and Micks into the fold of whiteness? I know I haven’t.

        1. Micks are definitely whitey. If not, what are they? They’re white as hell! If they’re not, my Welsh self must not be white either.

          1. Very pale ethnics?
            Melanin impaired brown people?

        2. *looks down at both sides of arms*

          I’m pretty pasty. What else would I be besides white?

          1. The Irish were often referred to as “Negroes turned inside out and Negroes as smoked Irish.” A famous quip of the time attributed to a black man went something like this: “My master is a great tyrant, he treats me like a common Irishman.” Free blacks and Irish were viewed by the Nativists as related, somehow similar, performing the same tasks in society. It was felt that if amalgamation between the races was to happen, it would happen between Irish and blacks.

            How the Irish Became White, Art MacDonald, Ph.D.

            Or there’s the picture book version

  3. I wonder if the she is breaking any laws by planting her own veggie garden. You know, interstate commerce and all.

    1. You’re forgetting the “FYTW” exemption for people with Titles of Nobility

    2. Even better

      It was meant to be a show case for healthy living, with the first lady, Michelle Obama, personally putting hand to pitch fork in a crowd of school children to dig up the first White House vegetable garden in more than 50 years.

      Instead, an embarrassed White House admitted today that the plot – whose lettuce, herbs and other produce have been consumed by the first family, visiting dignitaries, local school children and a women’s homeless shelter – had tested positive for elevated levels of lead.

      In all fairness, the lead levels were elevated but within safe levels for most leafy veggies, but potatoes are probably a no-no.

      1. It’s so obvious what happened. Someone from Monsanto snuck into the WH vegetable garden at night with a bucket of paint.

        1. It probably is all that historic white paint. Nothing makes hard cocaine-white as well as oxidized lead.

      2. tested positive for elevated levels of lead


        1. Honest Abe had a shooting range on White House grounds. I wouldn’t be surprised if Teddy did too.

          1. Then there’s the whole War of 1812 thing.

  4. “want to make it optional, not mandatory…

    This is the part that angers her. The rest doesn’t matter.

  5. If we’re going to supplement their incomes, why not give them a cash payment and let them figure out how to make the best use of it?

    Check your privilege!

    1. White potatoes. ‘Nuff said.

    2. Direct monetary transfer with no restrictions would be the most “libertarian” form of unlibertarian assistance.

  6. why not treat poor people with the same respect we treat middle- and upper-middle class folks

    What makes you think the end goal isn’t to tell middle- and upper-middle class folks what they can and cannot eat either?

    1. why not treat poor people with the same respect we treat middle- and upper-middle class folks

      They are – “FYTW”

    2. Lower class, middle cass, upper class. No matter, all peasants who are not capable of running their own lives. We all need the RULING class, who if they could just reach their goal of making all the classes equally poor, except themselves of course, we would all be better off.

  7. Does it bother anyone else that she and her husband use the term “folks” at every turn to try and connect with the common man? They use it so much that my Southern ass doesn’t use that word anymore.

    1. Bill O’Reily ruined that term for me first, so….

      That’s what I get for listening to him once upon a time.

    2. Yes. And it seems like lots of media people picked up on it, too. I don’t remember that being a thing mid-2000s.

    3. I still use that term. Because anything that our ruling class says, has no effect on me, except to make me marvel at how incredibly evil, disingenuous, and intellectually bankrupt they are.

      1. That’s exactly what I think every time I hear it.

      2. I know of someone on the internet who uses ‘volks’. Its creepy.

  8. If we *must* provide school lunches, how about “pizza” and “french fries” made with Soylent?


    “If daddy’s cock were this big, mama wouldn’t be messin’ with a vegetable garden….”

    1. Sasha/Malia: “It’s THAT big??”

      Michelle: “Yes, and THAT dirty.”

  10. the countless cafeterias of the nation’s 100,000 public schools.

    Nick, you a funny guy.

  11. MO- “the science says we need to reduce fat.”

    No, it doesn’t. Go away.

  12. Nick, I would have also liked to see you criticize her imposing nutritional standards that have been discarded and actually lead to obesity. She pushes high-carb, low-fat diets which are probably at the root of the USA’s pandemic of obesity. Also, she wants everyone to have low sodium, but only 20% of the population is salt-sensitive, the rest of us can eat lots of salt with no effect.

    What I think the worst outcome might be from MO’s crusade to make all school food low-fat and low-salt, is that such diets are typically unpleasant tasting. Why do we want to teach kids that “good” food should taste bad? That will lead them even more quickly to grab Fritos, candy bars and sugar-laden Big Gulps at the 7-11 on the way home from school.

    1. She pushes high-carb, low-fat diets which are probably at the root of the USA’s pandemic of obesity.

      Hey, don’t be so anti-science. People might think you’re a Republican.

  13. Cheez Whiz on a Steak-umm.

    Steakumm is an abomination and will be eraticated from the Earth after I assume the mantle of Lord of Humanity.

  14. “Michelle Obama here symbolically re-enacts her husband’s presidency by handing America a Giant Turd”

  15. Did someone elect her? Did she go through Senate confirmation? What, precisely, is this woman’s role in our government?

  16. I would never say please to that bitch.

  17. Reading over Mrs. Obama’s piece it seems like she should just advocate for WIC to force mother’s to buy only certain foods. The list is already limited, but it looks like she’d be happier if the list was what each mother had to buy and had to serve for each meal. Mondays are kale and blueberries. Tuesdays are broccoli and acai.

  18. I’d like to see Michelle Obama show what specific bit of science says that corn tortillas (included in the post-2009 WIC) are “better” than potatoes.

  19. If she’s not careful, children will start going to bed hungry again, like they did under the Bush administration. Or at least nodding off at their desks hungry.

  20. I recall a year or so ago, a Reason article about some guy who was arrested (“raid” rings a bell)for offering nutritional advice to a smattering of followers on a blog he ran. The problem was that he was not a certified nutritionist.

    Question: Is Michelle a trained/qualified/certified nutritionist? If not,
    Question: Should she be arrested and charged?

  21. As every mom I always wanted to make decisions myself and to decide what my children have to eat and what to learn. Maybe I have made some mistakes but my children always had the best for their health and education, despite the fact that was so busy writing the doctoral dissertation . Later I got acquainted with lots of young moms who are too lazy to prepare healthy food for their kids. It is easier to give them what children like but most of the children have serious diseases. Certainly for parents it is easier to blame someone else.

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