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Thursday, September 16, 2010

From Laura Bush to Michelle Obama

Seeing a bit of the memorial service on September 11th commemorating the terrorist attacks of that day and more specifically, the plane crash in that field in Pennsylvania, it was an exercise in contrast in First Ladies. Both former First Lady Laura Bush and present First Lady Michelle Obama were speakers for the ceremony. I couldn't help but compare the two women.

A picture was published in the Sunday newspaper of Michelle Obama wiping away a tear during the ceremony. Too bad she didn't express that emotion as she campaigned two years ago for her husband. We all remember her statement that she was "never really proud of her country" until her husband ran for President. What a shallow and egocentric statement. Too bad she didn't even acknowledge her pride in the U.S. as we recovered and healed to the worst attack on our shores since the attack at Pearl Harbor. Our country's history is rich in accomplishment and good deeds. Shame on her for being so obtuse.

Laura Bush still exhibits her calm and quiet dignity. Make no mistake, she is no shrinking violet. She is a strong and accomplished woman in her own right. She is a Republican women so she was easily dismissed as no one of importance by the ugly left in our country and that is their loss. Laura Bush helped tool the No Child Left Behind legislation, President Bush's premier piece of legislation early on in his administration. She was on Capitol Hill with Ted Kennedy on September 11, 2001.

Laura Bush was a strong advocate for adoption issues. Laura Bush was a strong advocate for women's health issues. She educated women at home and abroad about heart health and even opened clinics in Muslim nations - Saudi Arabia, in particular - so that women could have breast exams and ob-gyn exams. Laura Bush led an initiative to provide nets for bedding in countries - particularly in Africa - who suffer high mortality rates due to malaria, a completely preventable disease.

Michelle Obama has gone a different route. Understandable that she would want to make her own way, she has chosen to dovetail into her husband's health care reform efforts. There have been missteps along the way but she is doing ok, overall. She should remember to not wear the expensive designer sneakers as she "gardens" with the school children and serves food at soup kitchens. It brings sarcastic press reports. Tone deaf.

Her latest snafu has resulted in more talk of the tone deafness of her service. She has decided to be nagger-in-chief about the nation's menus. Having learned better nutritional habits due to her children's eating habits, she now feels the need to lecture on the rest of America's eating habits. True, much work is needed in educating parents about nutrition and adults need reminders that fresh foods, fruits and veggies are important in our daily diets, Americans are feeling a strong overload on governmental interference into our lives. It is tone deaf for her to speak to the National Restaurant Association, as she did yesterday, and begin to sound as though she will insist on legislation on proper eating habits. It smacks of more nanny state overreach.

Because when it comes to more governmental intervention into one's personal life, especially one's children, then we have no time to spare. As reported in The LA Times : The first lady doesn't mind ordinary families eating out on special occasions. But, she claimed, restaurant efforts to reduce calories and fats have been insufficient. And too slow. "We just don't have the time to waste," Mrs. Obama added.

Hardly the kind of speech that restaurant owners appreciated. In our struggling economy she should be out promoting small business and encouraging patronage of restaurants, not rapping them on the knuckles for being slow to reduce portions and reduce calories in dishes. Who made her the food police?

She worked the health care costs of poor nutrition into the speech. Perhaps that is her justification for being so intrusive into family life. She suggested apple slices instead of french fries with burgers. Well, fast food restaurants have been doing that for a while now. Where is the new idea there?

Frankly, Michelle Obama loses some credibility in the area of lecturing everyone else on nutrition. Her own husband does not follow her lead. There are numerous press accounts of President Obama eating at hamburger joints, eating pizza, smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, etc. Hardly a role model, just a regular person. Perhaps Michelle Obama should figure out what works on her husband and then take that plan to the rest of us. Sagging restaurant sales would be better off for it.

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