Skip to content

Reverse Political Psychology

© Matt Bors

The Right Wing attacks the First Lady. I guess turnabout is fair play.

Especially ironic is Sarah Palin — who attacked Michelle Obama for encouraging breastfeeding — but when she was governor of Alaska introduced a breastfeeding awareness month.



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    They do amaze. Palin etal are becoming more irrelevant by the day. Notice we havn’t heard anything lately, perhaps its a new strategy, “if i don’t speak people won’t disagree with me”.

    But, to the crux o the situation. It’s one thing to encourage, enlighten and recommend changes in behavior. It’s another to do it through law. I would be for laws banning dangerous substances like tobacco, but I am against laws banning happy meals. Likewise, banning certain food products, like soda’s, should be a local school decision in concert with the PTA.
    I stay pysically fit, (required by my job) and my children have developed/inherited that same habit. Why do I need someone telling me or my children what we can or cannot eat. If I want a cheeseburger and fries (in or out of school) who is the gov’t to tell me I can’t.

    The first lady should advocate, educate and encourage the youth of our nation. Empower them to make sound choices and educate parents in the same, but leave the choice up to the individual. Forcing people to change behavior does not change anything, they must choose it to be a lasting change.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  2. Dave TN wrote:

    Pat, the last I checked tobacco is still quite available, regulated but available. In regards to the happy meal I can go down the street and buy one, not going to happen because the cardboard box it comes in is tastier and probably more nutritious but I have the option. Now if San Fran wants to outlaw ‘em its their thing, in order to change that you want my local government or the federal government to step in and meddle in their local government decisions. I think not, I don’t want their controlling my diet nor am I going to regulate theirs. If the people there don’t like it they can vote to change it, but that is THEIR choice, not the rest of the nations and not faux news.
    In regards to banning certain products in school that they have found to interfere with the ability to educate children, I say kudos for school administrations for taking a stand. After all it is their job to provide education for our children and if too much caffeine and sugar are getting in the way then so be it. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t complain about the poor state of our education system and then tie the hands of school officials because it is cutting into some soda companies profits. I say serve a decent meal and if school uniforms are necessary, then go there too. Whatever it takes to stop the never ending production of less than stellar minds which are the driving force for America’s economy in the end. Let the school officials regulate schools through direction from local school boards and let local governments regulate themselves.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink
  3. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    PatriotSGT, as much as I trust the opinion of someone who thinks Maddow and Beck are the same, who is talking about banning happy meals?

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Dave TN- what you stated is actually more in line with what I believe. I just think it should be the local school district that makes the determinations based on feedback from their constituents. Good commentary.

    C.S.Strowbridge – Banning Happy Meals is trying to become law in SF if the food police have their way. They banned soda from giv’t buildings there and seem to be the lead local gov in such matters. Fortunately, they are the minority, but its worth mentioning that their mindset is shared by their infamous “pass this thing so we see whats in it” congresswomen. I could see her trying to implement like legislation nationally.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
  5. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    They didn’t ban Happy Meals. They said that if you include a toy, it has to have certain nutritional guidelines. And those guidelines are pretty loose. Hell, many of them already fit the guidelines.

    So try again.

    “They banned soda from giv’t buildings…”

    So the government can’t ban what they sell in government buildings? How does that make any sense?

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  6. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patriot: Would you be for laws banning trans fats? Dangerous just like tobacco.

    If so, would you be for banning happy meals containing trans fats?

    If so, what is the difference between banning happy meals containing trans fats and banning happy meals which provide unhealthy nutritional content?

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    Just to add to CS Strowbridge’s comment of clarification: SF rules state that if McDonald’s wants to sell unhealthful Happy Meals, they can’t include a toy. If they want to include a toy, then the meals have to meet certain standards (which I agree aren’t as strict as some people think). So, the businesses and consumers still have that all important choice that some folks are obsessed with.

    I would add that previous to the most recent small attempts at food regulation, most of us did not have much choice. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find sliced bread that does not have either or both trans fats or high fructose corn syrup in the supermarket. My supermarket does not sell a single brand of relish that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. I’m lucky enough to afford to get some of my food from other places, by that vast majority of my neighbors rely on this supermarket (and it’s a large one, not a bodega). So, I would argue that the current laissez faire approach to food does not create the choice that most people believe it does.

    BTW – here in the city of Boston, bakeries (including supermarket bakeries) who make their own products are not allowed to use trans fats in those products. Its not yet clear to me whether they can sell other manufacturer’s products that have trans fats, but at least at my local supermarket, all of the fresh baked bakery products are now trans-fats free regardless of whether they were baked in the market or came from another bakery. So, in my experience (and not just because I am a policy scholar and someone who believes that much good can come from well written and enforced government policy), regulation works.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink
  8. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    Starluna: “So, in my experience … regulation works.”

    My dad used to work for Dairyland at their cheese processing plant. For the longest time, after pressing the curd, they would simply dump the whey down the drain. However, this was attracting pests and annoying the neighbors. So the local government voted in a law to make that practice illegal. Afterward they had to buy a very expensive machine to collect the whey, which was then separated into protein (sold to a local protein shake manufacturer) and sugar (sold to a local pet food manufacturer). As my dad said, usually it takes about 5 years for an investment like this to pay for itself. By selling the protein and the sugars, the company paid for the machine in 18 months.

    According to those that worship “The Invisible Hand of the Market”, this should have happened on its own. But it didn’t. It took sensible regulations to make it happen, and everyone benefited from it. The company, their neighbors, their new customers, EVERYONE.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    CSS, Starluna, 1032 —OK – I absolutely agree there has been some good policies/regulations that have come out which benefitted many and opponents were dragged kicking and screaming in both the food and environmental arena. I personally do not like having a nanny government. Sometime it goes too far and releives people of personal responsibility. Take the Happy Meals, each of my kids (ages 5-17) have had at least 1 HM. But, I guarentee none of them has had more then 10 in their life. Why, because I exist in their lives, I am not afraid to say that dirty 2 letter word “no”. I also educate my children so they can make good choices without the need for their government to choose for them.
    I just think my way makes for a more sufficient, self guiding and responsible citizenry.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink
  10. Dave TN wrote:

    Where I grew up the local dairy farms would dump the manure from operation of the milking barn into the local lake. Being part of the TVA lake system it provided drinking water for somewhere, besides that this affected the local fishing not to mention other recreation things like swimming. The local government finally cracked down and put a stop to this, the local farmers were forced to develop composting and means to spread the result on the corn fields. This produced some of the best yields of corn production which in the end reduced feed costs. Now farmers couldn’t see doing it any other way. But those pesky regulations need to go away, I think otherwise. Those pesky regulations if produced responsibly can help not hinder life and business. The problem is the disconnect people have in the process of government sometimes lead to poor regulation and the Faux media pushing discontent in government IS NOT THE ANSWER. We need more thoughtful discussion in government and less mindless divisive rhetoric.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  11. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    “I personally do not like having a nanny government.”

    What’s the difference between sensible regulations and a nanny government? Who draws the line?

    “I just think my way makes for a more sufficient, self guiding and responsible citizenry.”

    I keep hearing about personal responsibility. But what about corporate responsibility? We need a way to make corporations behave responsible, and the ONLY way to do that is through regulations.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    CSS – Yes I believe in regultions for corporations. The environmental regs imposed in decades past saved our natural resources and made a healthier America for us all. They are also part one of the largest costs for the manufactering base, and in some cases more costly than labor. IMO punishing companies for having products made abroad (too many to name)is the wrong appraoch. We need to impose some type of environmental tariff and/or labor differetial tariff on foreign countries to level the plaing field. It will end the days of $20 DVD players, and walmart, target, kmart, ____mart will get hurt, but they will adapt. Americans cannot compete in the manufacturing fields when the competition has NO environmental costs and greatly reduced labor cost with no benefits.
    We cannot get other countries like China to do what we did 30 years ago, because they own us. We would not dare threaten a boycott or embargo until they implemented environmental and labor reform, because we nee their money. We need mid east oil, thats how we end up supporting people like Mubarak.

    As for the line where sensible regulation ends and nannyism begins it is admitedly difficult to define. My guess would be if there is a proven health risk, ie carcinogens, toxins, etc then regulate it. If its not a proven health risk, leave it alone. I realize that is overly simplistic and needs much more discussion, but lets at least start the conversation.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  13. PatriotSGT wrote:

    DAve TN – I agree. Keep improving the system, make it better. Put our collective minds together and build a better mouse trap. But, do it with input from the little guy, explain the benefits, long and short term. If he’s going to make more money down the road, show him how. Too often our politicians are just say “it will be better and cost less, trust me”.
    Does anyone really trust a government (democrat, republican and independant alike) who has gotten us into a 14 trillion dollar hole and predicts a 23 trillion dollar hole in ten years to fix anything real?

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  14. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    “Does anyone really trust a government (democrat, republican and independant alike) who has gotten us into a 14 trillion dollar hole and predicts a 23 trillion dollar hole in ten years to fix anything real?”

    I trust them a hell of a lot more than I trust corporations.

    Of course I would be better if the elections were publicly finances and all third-party money banned from elections.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Permalink
  15. starluna wrote:

    Regarding whether I trust the government, I must agree with CS Strowbridge on this one. We collectively have more control over the government in all its forms and levels than most investors have over corporations, especially given the convoluted structure of decision making within corporations.

    You are right that government could do more to work with businesses to improve their operations, make them safer for their workers and the surrounding communities, and more ecologically sustainable. We actually have something like that here MA. It is funded from a dedicated fee . The program (called TURI) is a quasi public agency operated out of a state university. This fee goes to pay for the researchers, engineers, etc that can work with businesses so that they can operate better, safer, and more environmentally friendly. Many of the businesses seek out this assistance when they are trying to sell their products in Europe and need to meet much stricter environmental manufacturing standards than are required here in the US. In every case I looked into, money is saved, jobs are created, and the workers, the communities, and the environment are better off.

    However, the large corporations have balked at paying this fee and they are supported by their trade association and the Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, despite the demonstrable benefits of this government funded program, the legislature has raided this fund in order to balance the budget. Now, if you want, you can stop right here and complain about bad government. But you would be stopping to soon. You also have to remember that the bad decision making is occurring in an environment where corporations have convinced the legislature to reduce corporate taxes, which reduced tax revenue, which resulted in the budget shortfall. And this does not even take into account the decisions by manufacturers to leave the state and country entirely, or to headquarter themselves in tax friendly states like Delaware and Illinois. On this, there is plenty of blame to go around.

    Finally, there’s a funny thing about risks. First, they are really hard to pin down. As I’m sure you’ve read, people are much more concerned about low probability risks (like getting brain cancer) than high probability risks (like dying from heart disease or a car accident). People are more concerned about imposed risks and risks they perceive they have no control over than assumed risks that they perceive they have control over.

    More importantly, it is damn near impossible to “prove” the vast majority of health risks. We’ve known about the risks of smoking cigarettes since the 1940s, the official report about the strong association between smoking and lung cancer came out in the 1950s, but the actual physiologic mechanism by which cancer is caused by smoking was not known until the late 1990s (or possibly early 2000s – I can’t remember exactly when I read the study). Despite with the movies imply, science takes a long time to come to anything that even remotely resembles proof.

    So, like you said, the devil is in the details. So far, we’ve been pretty happy to just throw stuff out on the market and wait for people to start getting hurt, sick, or die. Europe is quite a bit ahead of us on this one. They have begun to implement regulations that uses the precautionary approach to business processes and products. In this the process and product must be shown to be safe before it is permitted or put out on the market. It’s not perfect, there are lots of loopholes, and the standards aren’t as high as some folks would prefer, but it’s a start.

    However, when you start talking about the precautionary approach here in the US, the first phrase out of people’s mouths is “nanny state.”

    Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Permalink
  16. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Starluna – doesn’t the FDA provide pre-market “precautionary” testing and analysis of foods and medications similar to what you describe in Europe?

    Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:29 am | Permalink
  17. starluna wrote:

    The FDA does require at least two, sometimes three, levels of clinical trials for medication, the first of which is to establish safety and effectiveness. However, if you think about all of the medications that have been pulled from the market because after-market distribution revealed significant safety issues, you start to see how ineffective that system has been as of late.

    This happens in part because of inherent flaws in the way clinical trials are done, in part because pharmaceutical companies massage their statistics, and in part because the FDA is is tasked enormous responsibilities and has been chronically underfunded for at least three decades. In some years (the Clinton and GW Bush years), the political appointees overruled recommendations and decisions made by the scientific panels. The FDA is currently structured and funded to react to problems that are brought to them by the public (including doctors). And even then, the statutory limits on penalties put in place by Congress (at the behest of major corporations and their trade associations) really constrains what they can do to deter or punish companies that either willfully or negligently made their product look safer than they are.

    Just thinking about pharmaceuticals alone, there is a good case to be made that significant regulation is indeed warranted.

    There is no policy of precautionary testing of new food products for safety or healthfulness. Indeed, even the GMOs have recently been given a pass by the FDA despite the fact that the research on the safety of some of these new foods, and more important – the ecological effects, is really questionable.

    Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  18. C.S.Strowbridge wrote:

    “Just thinking about pharmaceuticals alone, there is a good case to be made that significant regulation is indeed warranted.”

    Hell, if the FDA made pharmaceutical companies prove their new drugs are better than the old ones, and not just better than the placebo, things would be a whole lot better.

    And by better I mean more effective, cheaper, and / or safer, while being no weaker in any of those three areas.

    But in order to do this, the FDA needs to be fully funded. But Republicans, who are completely owned by multinationals, refuse to do this.

    And before you attack me, I understand Democrats are mostly owned by multinationals, but that’s still an improvement.

    Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink
  19. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Go on with your bad self CSS. 🙂 I think it’s safe to say there are multinationals and big corps in every politicians pocket.

    Thanks for the detailed info Starluna.

    Monday, February 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  20. lulubell wrote:

    In re those “pesky regulations” mentioned above, according to the BlS ( “A Preliminary total of 4,340 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2009.” Four Thousand Three Hundred and Forty People Died just going to work one day. Not a terrorist attack, or some crazy natural disaster. Just going to work. Profits over people. Regulation indeed. As for the Happy Meal, it’s Amazing to me how many people are upset over the loss of a Marketing Tool that is turning their kids into nagging fatasses (esp. when you can Still buy the same food w/o the name and the toy. The toys Suck anyway!)

    Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink