Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann has accused Michelle Obama of creating a "nanny state" by pushing to make it easier for women to breast-feed. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced that breast pumps could be deducted as medical expenses. Noting that children who were breastfed are less likely to develop weight problems, the first lady says this could reduce childhood obesity. Bachmann, on the other hand, sees yet another example of government overreach. Does Obama want to help moms, or control them? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the debate)
Bachmann's nanny-state complaint is bogus: There's no government conspiracy in Obama's "direct and passionate" breastfeeding advocacy, says Heather Turgeon at Strollerderby. She's simply trying to shine light on achievable remedies to obesity, especially for the 40 percent of African American and Hispanic children who are overweight. And she remains "humble and respectful of the fact that parents" — not the government — really "make the difference."
"Michelle Obama celebrates Let's Move: First nanny or public health hero?"
The first lady just wants power: Bachmann is right — the first lady's attempt to play "food cop" is "all about control," says Michelle Malkin in her blog. "Mrs. O is harnessing every major health bureaucracy" to "expand the East Wing's reach" into our personal lives. And the bending of IRS rules to give "preferential tax treatment" to breastfeeding moms is particularly "disturbing." Breastfeeding is great, but Michelle Obama's "Big Mother" routine is scary.
"Super nanny: First lady of junk science Michelle Obama"
Obama's not politicizing breastfeeding, Bachmann is: The congresswoman's attempt to ignite a partisan fight over breastfeeding — "one of the most basic, human acts" — proves the culture wars haven't faded after all, says Andrew Belonsky at Death and Taxes. It is "a sad day" when "right wing warriors" will stoop so low that they put ideological gain over "the health of America's children."
"American breasts, the culture war's latest battlefield"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- Why insects are the future of food
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week