Mike Huckabee, Not Sarah Palin, Misunderstands Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Campaign



imageRight before Christmas Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee doubled down on his support of Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by defending Mrs. Obama from Sarah Palin.  The former Governor of Alaska took a jab at her “not liking desserts” on a recent episode of her TLC show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

Huckabee said of Palin’s criticism:

She has misunderstood what Michelle Obama is trying to do.  Michelle Obama is not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government’s desires on people, but she is stating the obvious, we do have an obesity crisis in this country and if you don’t believe it I always tell people to walk into any third grade class and look around and then go back and pick up your third grade school class picture if you are an adult.  Look at that picture and tell me what you see that looks starkly different than what you will see in today’s third grade it will shock you.

I have no doubt that he is accurate.  We do have an obesity problem.  But I would say it is Governor Huckabee, not Governor Palin who misunderstand what Michelle Obama is trying to do.  I quoted Michelle Obama’s comments during the signing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that she helped to initiate saying “we can’t leave it up to the parents.”

She went on to say that “parents have the right not to have their efforts at home won’t be undone each day in the school cafeteria and in the vending machine.”  I’m frankly more concerned that parents’ efforts at instilling a value system at home is being undone in the public school system which has become more and more hostile toward Judeo-Christian values, but I digress.  If the First Lady wanted to use a bully pulpit and instill the value of eating healthy and exercising for kids more power to her.  I applaud Mike Huckabee’s desire to see people live healthy lifestyles and admire his example.  I too lost a bunch of weight, and understand it’s importance.

The problem is what role does the government play in such matters.  Governor Palin gets it, Governor Huckabee at least with this issue doesn’t.  David Harsanyi, a columnist with The Denver Post, in a column published at RealClearPolitics brings up a great point and one that ought to be considered with a potential Huckabee 2012 run:

But foundational beliefs like an aversion to federal overreach into local decisions cannot be disposed of because kids happen to be part of the equation. And if Huckabee believes there’s nothing wrong with the federal government controlling local school lunches and instituting national smoking bans, how many issues will he believe are more important than federalism?

Now, Sarah Palin may not always be the most sophisticated spokesperson for conservative ideology, but she is right on the money here. In fact, with all the sneering about her comments, she may want to turn to one of her favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, who also understood that “moral busybodies” who “torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Intuitively on this issue, Governor Palin has it right when she says that the Obamas don’t trust people “to make decisions for their own children.”  We’ve seen two years that the Obamas favor more governmental control.  Michelle Obama does try to tell people what to eat, and she has pushed the government’s desires onto people through this act.

When will he recognize that this bill is unconstitutional and a further encroachment of government into people’s every day lives?

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  • Carltonwest

    Haven’t you heard? Mike(Hogdimples)Huckabee is part of the New Rat Pack, other members of which are Krauthammer, Rove, & Juan Williams. It’s true that none can sing as well as Martin or Sinatra could, and none is as pretty as Peter Lawford; but they are all Hollywood liberal wannabees, and in today’s inverted world, they are hot.

    • chris87654

      And what’s this got to do with the issue of too many fat kids, long term effects, not enough qualify to join military, long term health burden on the country, etc?

      To answer your question, yeah I know Sarah/her parrots call most anyone who disagrees with her various names as a 4th grade effort to boost her sorry self-esteem. But always remember – “Others are rubber, and you’re glue…”. And always remember … not everyone left of Sarah is a liberal.

    • chris87654

      And what’s this got to do with the issue of too many fat kids, long term effects, not enough qualify to join military, long term health burden on the country, etc?

      To answer your question, yeah I know Sarah/her parrots call most anyone who disagrees with her various names as a 4th grade effort to boost her sorry self-esteem. But always remember – “Others are rubber, and you’re glue…”. And always remember … not everyone left of Sarah is a liberal.

  • Anonymous

    The point is that school lunches are funded by the government. If you want total control over your child’s diet…feed them at home! How many kids are fortunate enough to have mom at home at lunchtime so they can have a break from school, run home, and have lunch and conversation with mom? Instead 99.9% of kids stay at school, and most of them are not eating a home packed lunch. I have no problem with the government supporting healthy lunch choices. None. Schools are partially funded by the feds, as it should be. Otherwise, we would have what? Home schools…right, I can see Ms. Priss Sarah staying home to educate her kids. Religious schools for all? Right…they already refuse handicapped, special needs, and any other child who might disrupt their days. We need free education for all. We need government subsidized food programs. They need to be healthy, not full of fat. This is not an issue that needs to be parced by Sarah Palin….a woman who spends no more time in her kids’ schools than the man in the moon. She is talking for attention and by golly, she got ti again.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

      Miss Priss Sarah? LOL. She’s anything but a priss. You bring up a good point though – why are the feds paying for school lunches? Let’s get the Feds out of anything to do with education as it isn’t a constitutional role.

      • Anonymous

        It’s called taking care of American children…some of these kids eat only at school. I realize that the right preaches individual responsibility, but what happens when a single mom without millionaire parents and a bully pulpit, working two jobs, and trying to take classes as well, just cannot make ends meet and cannot afford proper food? Would you rather the kids are hungry all day at school? I’m sure that will help them learn.
        And you never answered my question…if y0u take the federal (and I assume the state as well?) government out of education, how will our children become the educated adults we need to assume the responsibilities of the future? Osmosis?

    • Anonymous

      I’m responding to your comment about religious schools not taking special needs children. This is NOT an appropriate rationale for not supporting school choice. First of all, school choice is NOT just religious schools vs public schools. If we had school choice and provided vouchers so parents could AFFORD to send their kids to private schools, the market would open up for a LOT of private schools, not just religious schools. Since there are allegedly millions of special needs children out there (I personally think a lot of kids are diagnosed as “autistic” in error, but I digress) there should be a market for a private “special needs” school. Perhaps the government could use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars they currently spend on providing these programs in public schools to provide subsidies to private “special needs” schools. We’d STILL do away with the massive, expensive bureaucracy that is the public school system, and save the taxpayers a fortune!

    • Anonymous

      I’m responding to your comment about religious schools not taking special needs children. This is NOT an appropriate rationale for not supporting school choice. First of all, school choice is NOT just religious schools vs public schools. If we had school choice and provided vouchers so parents could AFFORD to send their kids to private schools, the market would open up for a LOT of private schools, not just religious schools. Since there are allegedly millions of special needs children out there (I personally think a lot of kids are diagnosed as “autistic” in error, but I digress) there should be a market for a private “special needs” school. Perhaps the government could use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars they currently spend on providing these programs in public schools to provide subsidies to private “special needs” schools. We’d STILL do away with the massive, expensive bureaucracy that is the public school system, and save the taxpayers a fortune!

  • Martha

    If parents had been doing such a great job, the problem would not be here !!
    I agree that most parents try their best, but unfortunately the growing obesity rate shows that their effforts alone is not enough. It can only work if there is a joint effort by schools, government, health insurers, health providers, etc.

  • chris87654

    Man, you are twisting this all over. Your effort to support Sarah instead of dealing with facts reduces your credibility.

    The government took cigarette machines out of restaurants long ago, and cities vote to ban smoking indoors – people like me can still buy cigs/smoke, we just can’t do it everywhere we want to and I don’t care because I know it’s bad for me.

    People can still by Twinkies and HoHo’s outside of schools – you also forget the long term effects – the country will end up paying for this, and the military says 25% of applicants are too fat to qualify. If so many kids weren’t fat it wouldn’t be an issue.

  • chris87654

    Man, you are twisting this all over. Your effort to support Sarah instead of dealing with facts reduces your credibility.

    The government took cigarette machines out of restaurants long ago, and cities vote to ban smoking indoors – people like me can still buy cigs/smoke, we just can’t do it everywhere we want to and I don’t care because I know it’s bad for me.

    People can still by Twinkies and HoHo’s outside of schools – you also forget the long term effects – the country will end up paying for this, and the military says 25% of applicants are too fat to qualify. If so many kids weren’t fat it wouldn’t be an issue.

  • David Shedlock

    Has Palin called for the abolition of the Federal Department of Education? And the total defunding of the schools at the federal level. When she does that we can talk. If the government hands out foodstamps, I don’t have any trouble with them telling people what they can and cannot buy with them. If you enslave yourself to the government don’t be surprised when they call the shots.

    I think the government should be completely out of the education business. I disagree with Huckabee’s approach, but snarking, without offering an alternative hardly gets the job done.

    • guest

      Has Palin been endorsed by the NEA, like Huckabee has? He is the only GOP presidential candidate to ever speak at an NEA convention.

      When are you Huckabee fans going to wake up and realize he is NOT a conservative? Everything he advocates for involves MORE GOVERNMENT?

      As Governor of Arkansas, he intervened in over 1,000 criminal cases, letting the convicts off early. That included 12 murderers.

      Michelle Obama said “we can’t just leave it up to the parents” in terms of child nutrition. And Huckabee supports this bill, which costs a whopping $4.5 billion that we don’t have.

      He wants more government in our schools, he wants a federal smoking ban.

      He is a big government populist.

    • guest

      Has Palin been endorsed by the NEA, like Huckabee has? He is the only GOP presidential candidate to ever speak at an NEA convention.

      When are you Huckabee fans going to wake up and realize he is NOT a conservative? Everything he advocates for involves MORE GOVERNMENT?

      As Governor of Arkansas, he intervened in over 1,000 criminal cases, letting the convicts off early. That included 12 murderers.

      Michelle Obama said “we can’t just leave it up to the parents” in terms of child nutrition. And Huckabee supports this bill, which costs a whopping $4.5 billion that we don’t have.

      He wants more government in our schools, he wants a federal smoking ban.

      He is a big government populist.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

      May I remind you of who opened this up – Huckabee. I’ve not heard her advocate for more governmental control. I’ve heard her stress local control. Regardless it’s irrelevant; since this is about what Huckabee has said I’m not saying he is in favor of big government solutions for everything. But he needs to back off of this. He’s wrong on this particular issue. Again Palin has been criticizing this since this summer. She has not critized Huckabee, but he chose to say she has “misunderstood” Mrs. Obama. She hasn’t, he has. As far as what to do, local contol David. If local school boards or states want to do this, so be it. What this likely to happen is that this will be another unfunded mandate. As a former Governor he should know better.

    • guest

      Oh, and let’s not forget that Huckabee supported federal Cap & Trade, and is on video, saying he thinks the Senate should have gone further.

      The Huckster is a liberal populist, and anyone who considers him a conservative has no idea what conservative means.

  • Anono2

    Huckabee is a rino. As Gov of Arkansas he supported the smoking ban in small businesses. If the Republicans put him up as a candidate against Obama I will vote for ANY third party candidate. He is bought off with pharma money and his guitar playing won’t buy forgiveness. Huckabee- you have lost me!

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the dumbest ‘article’ around

  • Anonymous

    Oh please, people! This move by Obama has nothing to do with “the children” and EVERYTHING to do with the SEIU who want to put their union members (and MORE union members) in every public school in America! This law is unconstitutional, as is most of what Obama has done in the past two years.

    As for the “childhood obesity” problem, it’s just another example of the liberals heaping law upon law and regulation upon regulation to try to “solve” problems they created in the first place. Kids are heavier now because they don’t get enough exercise because nobody is HOME at the end of the school day to monitor their food intake and activity level. Most mothers are out in the workplace because liberal TAX laws make it virtually impossible for them not to be. So kids come home from school and sit in front of the TV and snack. When I was a kids (I know, I know – go ahead and roll your eyes) my mom was home, the snacks were things SHE prepared, and unless it was raining, our butts were out playing, riding our bikes, roller skating, whatever, after school. In the winter we were ice skating and sledding, building snow forts, etc. Kids could do this because we had our MOMS home to keep an eye on us. Plus everybody else’s MOM was home keeping an eye on us.

    And the whole “healthy school lunch” thing has been tried before. I remember because I was in school the first time they tried to cram “healthy food” down our throats. Guess what. The kids won’t eat food they don’t like. PERIOD! Most of the “healthy” school lunches ended up in the trash. Kids are not getting fat from the occasional tater tot. And even those parents who send kids to school with food from home are being regulated in what the kids can bring into school. Peanut butter sandwiches, a staple when I was a kid, are now treated on about the same level as guns as far as bringing one to school is concerned.

    The government needs to stay out of our lives, and Mike Huckabee better wake up and smell the Tea Party or he’ll just be a boring talk show host forever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1508885357 William R. James

    I think the important point here isn’t whether government should have any role in what kids get to eat in school, but whether the federal government has ANY constitutional grounds for being involved in the discussion. The Obama administration clearly has no respect or regard for the constitution he swore an oath to protect. And THAT is the problem.