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DNC: Blame Bush for fat kids

Posted by Richard on August 2, 2005

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the parody websites from the ones covering real news about Democrats. For instance, Outside the Beltway pointed out this Yahoo! News story about an apparently genuine Democratic National Committee "fact sheet":

Doctors pronounced the President to be in "superior" physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine. While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration’s efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women’s college sports programs.

"President Bush’s has dropped the ball when it comes to fully funding physical education in public schools and women’s athletic programs at the college level," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Josh Earnest. "His personal habits indicate that physical fitness is not just fun and games for him. Don’t our kids deserve the same opportunities to be physically fit? President Bush should stop running from his responsibility and make sure that all American children have access to physical fitness programs."

OK, the first thing I did is look closely at the page again — "Is this a real Yahoo! News page or a clever parody?" I mean, come on — Josh Earnest? Cuts to education funding? Dropped the ball? Scrappleface couldn’t have done better!

But, no, it’s apparently real. And in earnest. … I’m sorry, that was just so wrong.

Back at Outside the Beltway, James Joyner asks the obvious question and offers an appropriate rejoinder to this nonsense:

First they put Howard Dean in charge and now this. Are the Democrats trying to make themselves look foolish?

Let’s leave aside, for now, the question of whether the federal government has any business subsidizing gym classes for tykes or mandating intercollegiate athletic programs for women.

President Bush is fit because he is blessed with good genetics and spends a lot of time doing vigorous exercise, not because of government programs. Our kids are fat because they eat a lot of junk food and spend their after school hours watching television and playing video games, not because we’re cutting funding for P.E.

Meanwhile, over at Protein Wisdom, Jeff Goldstein offers a somewhat more snarky response (as is his wont), starting with his priceless title, "The Far Side (or, ‘The Impotence of Being Earnest’)":

Well now.  A serious person might respond that the President, while he has no Constitutional responsibility to “make sure that all American children have access to physical fitness”, has nevertheless done so by keeping America free under his extended stewardship, allowing each and every citizen who wishes to do so the opportunity to pick up, say, a Frisbee or baseball mitt.  A serious person might further respond that by NOT forcing women who don’t wish to do so to play sport anyway as part of some symbolic and socially-engineered proportional contrivance designed to appease a largely cosmetic brand of feminism, the President is indeed acting in the best interest of the liberty of the individual—which is something we have every right to expect from our elected leaders.

But then, I’m not a serious person, so I’ll simply respond by expanding on Lorie Byrd’s remarks about Democratic desperation and divisiveness, and add that, were George Bush to pull a child out of burning library, the DNC would issue a release saying, “BUSH ALLOWS MASSIVE BOOK BURNING; FORCES TRANSIENTS OUT ON THE STREET.”

And of course, this wouldn’t be a classic Protein Wisdom post if Jeff didn’t add an update like this:

In an email circulated to its activist base, the DNC offerred this conveniently pre-written protest slogan as an example of what dedicated progressives might publicize in an effort to help fight the scourge of Republican control of our bodies:  “ONE TWO THREE FOUR, WE DON’T WANT YOUR UNBLEACHED FLOUR – LADEN TREATS THAT FILL US WITH EMPTY CALORIES AND MAKE US SLOW AND FAT SO THAT YOU CAN GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE RICH!”

Okay, not really.

The problem with this sort of nonsense is that not enough people will laugh appropriately at it. In particular, not enough Republican Senators, Representatives, and party spokespeople. Instead, some Republican "leader" — probably McCain — will explain to a sympathetic, all-ears press corps that federal P.E. spending isn’t set in stone yet, that he and other "concerned" Republicans in Congress are working to find additional funding, and that he sure hopes the Democrats don’t think Republicans are big old meanies who favor childhood obesity, yada, yada, yada…

I mean, come on — under Bush, federal education spending has gone up 82.5% in real dollars, far more than under Clinton. In response, the Democrats and the NEA have screamed ever more shrilly that Bush is "short-changing" the precious chilllldrennn.

And far too many Republicans respond to that with defensiveness, waffling, backpedaling, and inside-the-beltway arcana about process and priorities. We need some Congressional Republicans who’ll stand up and ridicule this idiotic "fact sheet," for starters — and then announce that it’s time for their party to stop pandering to these special interests that will never be satisfied anyway.

Maybe stem cell research will lead to a badly needed medical breakthrough: the ability to grow spines in Republican officeholders.

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