The idea of reducing childhood obesity shouldn't be caught up in politics. But it is.
That being said, there are at least two major Republican players who stood up in favor of Michelle Obama's efforts.
"I think it's a really good goal to encourage kids to eat better ... I don't want the government deciding what you can eat and what you can't eat. I still think that's your choice. But I think Mrs. Obama being out there encouraging people in a positive way to eat well and to exercise and to be healthy, I don't have a problem with that." — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
"What Michelle Obama is proposing is not that the government tells you that you can't eat dessert. What Michelle Obama has proposed is that we recognize that we have a serious obesity crisis, which we do." — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Stopping there is tempting. The two Republicans said nice things about the First Lady's program (though Huckabee still is confused about her husband). We could leave it at that.
Unfortunately, we have to go on because of one thing they both said. Both Christie and Huckabee repeated the lie — the Sarah Palin lie — that Michelle Obama wants to control what we eat, including dessert.
Why repeat the lie? Why not completely denounce the lie as a lie?
Because they don't want to say that Sarah Palin has lied about what Michelle Obama said.
The other interesting element to Christie and Huckabee is that Christie is, uh, well, larger than his doctor thinks he should be — okay, overweight — and Huckabee used to be a lot larger than he is now, even if he looks like he has gained some of that back.
Christie and Huckabee have a sensitivity to the obesity issue. And they should share that with the public and their fellow Republicans.
But they need to do more. They need to say that Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh are telling fibs about the First Lady.
You certainly have the right to disagree with whatever Michelle Obama has said and will continue to say on the subject. Republicans have the right to do so, and should in a democracy (even if Mrs. Obama isn't an elected official). But the refusal to work with the facts and respond to statements that Michelle Obama has actually said — this deters us away from a sincere effort to try and change the patterns that threaten to have 1 in 3 children born in 2000 to someday be a Type 2 diabetic.