Kathleen Parker

Both husband and wife have made plenty of remarks that were not mere nits, but are troubling hints at a future where government knows what's best. Such as this from a Los Angeles rally where Michelle pronounced that Obama "will require you to work."

"He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism ... that you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

Require? Demand? What if we like being alone in our comfort zones?

Or this from Obama in Roseburg, Ore., last Saturday:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."

We can't?! It's not?

By all means, let's roll out the hybrids and hold the fries, but are other countries now the judges of American lifestyles? Perhaps while human rights investigator Doudou Diene is in the United States the next few weeks probing racism for the United Nations, he can take a measure of American gluttony. What would Senegal have us do?

Obama isn't wrong that America needs to clean up, slim down and guzzle less, but let's hope Michelle isn't right about the requiring and demanding part. Free markets and private-sector innovation are beautiful things, as is voluntary sacrifice.

Let's stay just cynical enough, meanwhile, to ask not what our country can do for us -- or to us -- but what we can do for ourselves as sane citizens of a free, entrepreneurial nation.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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