The XX Factor

The Right-Wing Junk Food Divide

Noreen , now that the much-ballyhooed divide between social conservatives and Tea Partiers has been demonstrated to be a myth, the question arises: Is there anything that divides the right, turning culture warrior on culture warrior?  I’m happy to note that the answer is yes.  A chasm is opening up on the right on the subject of healthy living.  Is eating right and exercising a liberal plot to turn us all into communist cogs, or is it just a good idea?

Team Broccoli Is Liberal Fascism features a roster of-no pun intended-heavyweights in the conservative movement. As Marjorie noted , you have Rush Limbaugh, who appears to think that while it was OK for past First Ladies to tell kids to read more and say no to drugs, having a First Lady advise kids to eat their spinach is one step removed from sending the whole country to a re-education camp.  Team Eat Your Oreos also features Michele Bachmann and Sarah “Do As I Say, Not As I Do With My Exercise Obsession” Palin .

But Mike Huckabee will have none of it , probably because he’s had such a visible, public struggle with his weight and is, to his credit*, not going to play the role of a giant hypocrite trying to score cheap points.  His latest defense of Michelle Obama’s nutrition-and-exercise campaign involved some startling truth-telling from a man who is going to need conservative support if he wants to run for president, pointing out that public advocacy isn’t the same thing as a mandate. Hopefully, he’ll soon be joined by other conservatives who see that attacking common sense healthy living advice is really just not a road they should be going down when looking for the faux outrage of the day. 

*This will probably be the last time I say this about Huckabee, though.

Photograph by Oli Scarff for Getty Images.