First Lady Michele Obama has received some serious flack for eating short ribs on a ski vacation in Colorado with her daughters. Rush Limbaugh, the paragon of nutrition and fitness, called her a hypocrite and criticized her for not looking like a Sports Illustrated model:
“The problem is, and dare I say this, it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice,” he said. “And then we hear that she’s out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving … I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you.”
Somewhere in that rude and tasteless remark, Limbaugh’s point is that Mrs. Obama should not be pushing healthier foods on the American public unless she sticks to nuts and seeds all the time and magically turns herself into a size 2.
Mrs. Obama was not eating at a fast-food drive-through, mind you, but relaxing over a meal of real food, which included wild mushrooms, sautéed kale, and a salad. The First Lady has never said people should stop eating meat, treats, or foods they enjoy. Rather, her initiatives have been focused primarily on increasing fruits and vegetables and getting outside to exercise — especially for children.
There are people who don’t want the First Lady to encourage the American public to do anything at all. But these are often the same people who forget that First Ladies have always taken up soft causes intended to benefit the common good. Laura Bush’s big issue was literacy, but I don’t recall Limbaugh and his friends telling Mrs. Bush that she shouldn’t be encouraging children and parents to read more books. I mean, who was she to tell us we should be literate? What about all those times she went to a concert or movie when she should have been reading a book? Hypocrite!
I’m not saying there is no room to criticize Michele Obama’s healthy-living initiatives, only that the hypocrisy she’s being charged with here is plain old silly — and mean — and those leveling the charges need to examine their own double standards.