Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Wal-Mart and Michelle Obama: Fat Kids, Fat Cats and Overstuffed Political Campaigns

A measure of the flight to the right of the Obama administration is Michelle Obama's endorsement of Wal-Mart's "healthy food" move. During the run up to the 2008 presidential campaign, Ms. Obama was criticized for the place she held as a paid member--about $51,200 in 2006-- on the board of one of Wal-Mart's biggest suppliers, TreeHouse. Obama, then senator from Illinois, was at the time making sharp noises about Wal-Mart's union-bashing practices. In August 2008 Ms. Obama resigned from the TreeHouse board, shortly after her husband said he wouldn't shop at Wal-Mart because of its stand on unionization of workers.

But times have changed. Wal-Mart supported Obama's health insurance intiatives and now the First Lady is out there, praising the company for worrying about childhood obesity, and planning to reduce the fat, sugar and salt content of many of the products it manufactures, and to rid all its goods of trans-fats.

There's something seriously wrong with this picture. Presidents' wives have long found a cause to support--literacy, for example--but I can't think of any besides Ms. Obama who has come out so strongly for a corporation.

Wonder how much Wal-Mart will contribute to the Obama campaign next year. We'll probably never know because parties in the US no longer have to divulge who donates to them.


Christian said...

Hmm. So Mrs.Obama should bash wal~mart for taking positive action?

Mary Soderstrom said...

Not bash, but she didn't have to give them a photo op either.

Christian said...

Well, I don't know, Mary. I'm no fan of wal~mart, but they aren't going away. And from what I understand, Mrs.O is invested in child obesity and overall nutrition. I remember reading something about planting an organic garden at the white house, so clearly, she's into it.

If I may make an assumption, I think we're probably on the same page. That being why give wal~mart any sort of endorsement at all? But the way I see it, millions of Americans shop there, the company is heading in the right direction for a cause the First Lady champions. Why not acknowledge they are doing some good and, perhaps in the process, gain a vote or two?

It is politics after all.

Tufa Girl said...

Not a big fan of Walmart, but since they were being blackmailed into either joining or being dismantled - they decided to join. What is a corporation to do?