First Lady Michelle Obama is once again under fire for politicizing food and nutrition in the dying days of her husband’s administration, partnering with an activist group with a hyper-partisan agenda.
Obama was featured in a commercial Wednesday as part of a new, national anti-hunger campaign launched by Food Policy Action Education Fund, the sister organization of Food Policy Action.
The FPA supports a host of overtly liberal policies, in addition to its efforts to solve hunger and nutrition problems. “FPA supports Big-government programs including mandatory GMO labeling, so-called ‘sustainable farming,’ raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for most workers by 2020; all of which will increase the cost of food, hurting the hungry the most,” says Jeff Stier, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s director of risk analysis.
“By partnering with a radically left-wing activist group, rather than an organization focused on feeding hungry people, the First Lady further politicizes an issue that should be above partisan politics,” Stier adds.
Obama has been enormously popular with the public over the past eight years of her husband’s presidency, but her activism in food policy created significant controversy.
From nutrition standards to school lunch programs, the first lady’s interventions consistently supported a larger role for the federal government. Her advocacy was often criticized for supporting taxpayer-funded programs that delivered poor value for money and bullied the food industry into changing their offerings.
Stier says if Obama wishes to support a group that focuses on alleviating hunger and assisting the needy there are plenty of organizations who do so without a political agenda.
“Mrs. Obama would have been wise to highlight groups such as No Kid Hungry, sponsor of the Cooking Matters program, which teaches families how to ‘shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget,’ or any of the countless faith-based groups in which individuals from all backgrounds heroically come together daily to provide meals to people in need in their communities,” says Stier.
Food Policy Action keeps a political scorecard which ranks politicians on how they vote on food issues. The scorecard typically shows Democrats scoring extremely high with Republicans often relegated to the 20-30 percent mark.
The reason for the disparity, according to Stier, is not because it reflects the views of food policy experts but “a select group of some of the nation’s most ideologically divisive activists.”
Food Policy Action claims the scorecard grades legislators on whether they “Promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers … and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production.'”
Stier praises Obama for drawing attention to the issue of hunger but says she should “put aside her half-baked approach to partnering with ideologues to address the problem.”