The broccoli lobby is sitting this fight out.
Opponents of President Obama’s health care reform law have questioned whether the government, after requiring people to buy health insurance, could eventually mandate that people buy broccoli.
“Could you define the market — everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said during last week’s oral arguments on the health law, echoing the GOP talking points against health care reform. “Therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”
This isn’t broccoli’s first rodeo with Republicans. Back in the 1990s, after President George H.W. Bush publicly declared that he doesn’t like broccoli and, as the leader of the free world, he doesn’t have to eat broccoli, farmers sent the White House 20,000 pounds of the stuff.
But “the stakes are a little bit higher now,” Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for the United Fresh Produce Association, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a more serious tone.”
That didn’t stop Gilmer from having a little fun in an opinion piece on ThePacker.com. “Broccoli growers I know speculated that maybe if people ate more broccoli, then Americans’ health would improve — an alternative to a health care system overhaul,” he wrote. And it was “just unfair for (Scalia) to talk that way about such a beloved vegetable.”
Et tu, Justice Scalia?
Gilmer didn’t return TPM’s requests for comment.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com