First Lady Michelle Obama is, in many ways, a more attractive target for conservatives than her Free-World-Leading husband, and this week, House Republicans took aim at the First Lady's signature initiative. In their proposed fiscal year 2015 agriculture spending bill, the House GOP included a provision that would gut nutritional requirements in school lunches. The White House responded by saying that Mrs. Obama will continue to put the health of our children ahead of politics.
President Obama may, indeed, be the subject of a greater volume of conservative derangement than anyone in history, but Michelle Obama strikes just as nasty a chord with the base, with little or no effort, unless you include trying to get kids to eat healthier. There's just something about her that riles up a certain portion of the culturally conservative Republican base, but hell if I can figure out what it is.
It's no surprise, then, that House Republicans would make it their personal mission to gut the school lunch nutritional requirements that Michelle Obama has championed, which include the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and a reduction in sodium content. That sodium reduction, by the way, would bring school lunches to almost exactly a third of the current recommended adult daily allowance for sodium by 2017. The provision would allow any school to opt out of the requirements completely if they could show their school lunch program is losing money:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a process by which a State shall grant a waiver from compliance with the final regulations published by the Department of Agriculture in the Federal Register on January 26, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 4088 et seq.) for the 2014-15 school year to any school food authority located in the State that verifies a net loss from operating a food service program for a period of at least 6 months that begins on or after July 1, 2013.
Notwithstanding the dubious logic that if a school is losing money on lunches, it must be because they're not poisoning our kids, why not propose letting those schools apply for additional funding to defray the losses, if they can prove they were related to the nutritional requirements? In what universe does it make sense to solve the problem by feeding our kids shit? By this reasoning, the states should grant licenses to sell crack if your school's losing money. Forget Taco Tuesdays, say hello to Meth Mondays!
The First Lady responded by holding an off-the-record conference call (that wasn't all that off-the-record) to rally opposition to the GOP measure. Perhaps sensing an opportunity to harness resentment for the First Lady, ABC News' Jonathan Karl, whose previous reporting includes keeping tabs on FLOTUS' vacation expenses, asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about the showdown this week. "How active do we expect the First Lady will be in fighting this legislation?" he asked.
Carney pointed out that the nutrition standards have already been implemented by 90 percent of schools. and repeatedly suggested that Republicans are putting politics ahead of children's health. "The First Lady and this administration believe that every decision we make should be guided by sound science and hard evidence, not politics or special interests, particularly when it comes to the health of our children," Carney said, later adding that "she’ll continue to work very hard on those and make clear where our priorities should be, which is on our kids’ health and not on politics."
Normally, Carney would refer this sort of question to the East Wing, but clearly, this is a fight that the White House is eager to join. Republicans may be able to rile up their Michelle-hating Dittohead base with this sort of garbage, but Michelle Obama is immensely popular with normal people, and healthy kids are even more popular.