Candidate Obama shrugged off his wife's conflict of interest. "Michelle and I have to live in the world and pay taxes and pay for our kids and save for retirement," Obama explained to Crain's Chicago Business magazine before his White House bid. Political expediency, alas, required that the candidate's wife step down when the issue reared its head after Obama's Wal-Mart bashing during the presidential campaign cycle. True to form, Mrs. Obama turned the decision into an ostentatious display of self-sacrifice:
"As my campaign commitments continue to ramp up, it is becoming more difficult for me to provide the type of focus I would like on my professional responsibilities," said Chicago's Joan of Arc in a resignation statement eight days after her husband declared his boycott of the stores stocked with food items processed and distributed by her TreeHouse colleagues. "My priorities, particularly at this important time, are ensuring that our young daughters feel a sense of comfort and normalcy in this process, and that I can support my husband in his presidential campaign to bring much needed change to this country."
She saw no conflict then. And she sees no conflict now in wielding her East Wing clout to restrict the advertising free speech of the food industry that lined her pocketbook with big, fat paychecks. The Obama White House is on an insatiable control binge. No private space has been left behind -- not your grocery aisles, not your children's TV shows, not even your refrigerator.
Give the first lady this: She has an uncanny knack for wrapping her self-interests in the mantle of self-sacrifice and public service. It's the Obama way.