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
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 5 tricks to making a mind-blowing burger
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- What if The Purge was real?
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
Subscribe to the Week