First Lady Michelle Obama this week gave a major clue to her post-White House approach to public service. She’s decided to partner with the far left-wing Food Policy Action Education Fund, a sister organization of Food Policy Action.
Politico reports Mrs. Obama “is featured in a commercial being unveiled [Wednesday] as part of a new, national anti-hunger campaign being launched by Food Policy Action Education Fund, a sister organization of Food Policy Action. The three-year campaign, dubbed ‘A Place at the Table,’ is backed by $300 million in donated media, including TV, digital and print. The campaign follows in the footsteps of the documentary ‘A Place at the Table,’ a documentary that FPA co-founder Tom Colicchio helped produce.”
Politico also reports the film was co-directed by Tom Colicchio’s wife, Lori Silverbush.
Willy Ritch, former communications director for Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), a leading demagogue in the fight to politicize food, will manage the nationwide campaign.
The National Center for Public Policy Research’s director of Risk Analysis, Jeff Stier, laments the news, saying, “By partnering with a radically left-wing activist group, rather than an organization focused on feeding hungry people, the First Lady further politicizes an issue that should be above partisan politics.”
In fact, says Stier, “‘A Place at the Table’ is an ironically poor name for a campaign about an issue for which everyone who wants to feed hungry people should have a seat at the table.”
Stier points out the abundance of organizations which successfully put politics aside to bring people together in the fight against hunger.
According to Stier, “Ms. Obama would have been wise to highlight groups such as No Kid Hungry, sponsor of the Cooking Matters program, which teaches families how to ‘shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget,’ or any of the countless faith-based groups in which individuals from all backgrounds heroically come together daily to provide meals to people in need in their communities.”
Instead, says Stier, “The outgoing First Lady decided to partner with a divisive group and cloak it in a do-good feed-the-hungry campaign.”
Chef Tom Colicchio’s political action committee is known for creating the “Food Policy Action Scorecard,” which scores lawmakers on how liberal they vote on food issues.
Food Policy Action says the scorecard grades legislators on whether they “Promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers… and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production.'”
But in a National Review op-ed with food writer Julie Kelly in 2015, Stier wrote, “The implication is that members of Congress who don’t agree with Colicchio and his leftist cohort oppose healthy food and the reduction of hunger and are indifferent to degradation of the environment.”
Stier points out that “FPA supports big-government programs including mandatory GMO labeling, so-called ‘sustainable farming,’ raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour for most workers by 2020; all of which will increase the cost of food, hurting the hungry the most.”
On the scorecard, Democrat lawmakers usually score between 80% and 100%, while Republicans are usually rated in the 20% to 30% range.
Stier told the Washington Post in 2013 that “there’s a good reason for Republican lawmakers’ performance on the scorecard.” It does not, as FPA claims, “reflect the consensus of top food policy experts.’ Rather, it represents the narrow views of a select group of some of the nation’s most ideologically divisive activists.”
Stier says “While Americans should applaud Mrs. Obama for highlighting the issue of hunger, we should put aside her half-baked approach to partnering with ideologues to address the problem.”
“Instead, particularly on this issue” says Stier, “we should transcend politics and come together to feed those in need.”
Follow Jeff Stier on Twitter at @JeffaStier to be alerted to his future commentaries, publications and appearances relating to food issues.