On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh went on a three-minute rant, blasting First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! initiative directed at fighting childhood obesity, after she and her family were spotted at a restaurant in Vail eating short ribs. He called Obama a hypocrite for encouraging people to eat “cardboard and tofu… roots, and berries and tree bark” when “it doesn’t look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice…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.” Apparently, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t feel it’s appropriate for anyone to use their position as a public figure to promote healthy eating except Hollywood starlets, swimsuit models, and, presumably, fitness professionals. Here’s the audio:
Rush himself has in the past tried to eat healthy and lose weight, so it’s odd that he feels so badgered by Let’s Move! and its attempt to get children to do the same — so badgered, in fact, that he chose to use his massive radio show platform to demonize Obama and her campaign, and say that by enjoying some short ribs while on vacation (an active ski vacation, no less) she is unfit to lead the effort. (The fact is, Obama has repeatedly stressed that eating right is about moderation, not deprivation, which means it’s okay to splurge every now and then.) What’s more, Rush attempted to make his case by claiming the fit, beautiful 47-year-old mother-of-two sets a bad example because (in his opinion, anyway) she doesn’t measure up to 25-year-old model Irina Shayk.
Rush Limbaugh is hugely successful because of his criticism of anyone to the left of his expressed political agenda, so it’s no shocker that he’s chosen to fan the flames of hate against Obama. But doing so because she ate short ribs and may not quite measure up to women who pose in bikinis for a magazine is just too absurd an argument to let go. So at the risk of being folded into Rush’s “new castrati,” I think it’s appropriate to ask that we pause for a moment, process this, and kindly request that Rush Limbaugh somehow find a way to tolerate Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! campaign. Isn’t trying to get kids to eat healthy foods a better use of her public-figure status than using it to tear other people down?