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Michelle Obama and Betty Ford: How One Used Her Power and the Other Still Could

8:37 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Rebecca Sive for RHRealityCheck.org. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

“What is not debatable is that Betty Ford’s tenure as First Lady was the last time in American politics that someone in that role could inspire bi-partisan admiration—even while expressing her own political views. American politics has become so polarized, and the culture wars so fierce, that First Ladies can only be broadly liked if they suppress their own views on controversial matters. Betty Ford’s passing reminds us of what has been lost in our political culture.”

While I agree with Carol Joffe “…that [today] First Ladies can only be broadly liked if they suppress their own views on controversial matters,” I’m perplexed at the suggestion that being “broadly liked” is a sufficient standard of review, as well as by Joffe’s apparent assertion that this need for First Ladies to be bland is something new. It isn’t.

Remember Eleanor Roosevelt, please.

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Michele vs. Michelle: Breastfeeding Wars Rise to the Top

8:14 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Amie Newman for RHRealityCheck.org – News, commentary and community for reproductive health and justice.

You may have taken a break from the news about Wisconsin, Egypt and the budget battles to read about the fabricated “debate” over breastfeeding supplies. I write “fabricated” because Rep. Michele Bachmann has created an argument over First Lady Michelle Obama’s decision to support tax breaks for breast pumps for mothers. From Politico:

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann ripped Michelle Obama on Tuesday, speculating that the first lady might one day run for office, and accusing her of trying to implement a “nanny state” based on her newest push to get mothers to breastfeed their children in order to help combat childhood obesity.

Bachmann wrongly states, on last Tuesday’s Laura Ingraham radio program, that the federal government would be paying for breast pumps and related supplies for mothers who need to pump, either because they are working (and, by the way, pay their own taxes) or because they are home with their babies, maybe on maternity leave (if they are lucky enough to get family leave), and have decided that breastfeeding is the best option for them and their babies. But Bachmann continues to spew misinformation and rhetoric in place of truth,

Bachmann continued, “…To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies. You wanna talk about the nanny state? I think we just got the new definition of a nanny.”

After all, tax deductions for acne cream and denture adhesive are allowable but since those aren’t politically expedient, I suppose Bachmann is less concerned. Read more