An analysis by the AP’s national political editor tries to reconcile the debate inleft-right partisan political terms with conservatives and Republicans opposed to coercion and liberals favoring it, but she acknowledges that this can’t be the whole story. She notes that a New York Times poll found that even in the traditional big-government bastion of the Big Apple, six in ten residents opposed the city’s soda ban.
But there’s more evidence that even liberals and Democrats aren’t on board the train to food regulation. To the New York City polling, we can add the results ofsoda tax ballot measures and Proposition 37 in California (a measure to compel the scientifically pointless mandatory labeling of foods produced with biotechnology), all of which failed in jurisdictions that President Obama won.
So a big-versus-small government model doesn’t work very well at all. Instead, what we see is a class divide. While Times readers (but not the Times itself),university professors, National Public Radio listeners, and multibillionaires are ready to call in the full force of government to shrink the people, most of us aren’t willing to accept the intrusions into our private decisions that such a regime would require.
Outside of the faculty lounges and newspaper bullpens, Americans’ thoughts on obesity are clear. As the AP commentator notes, Americans want “what they need to make their own choices.” We trust ourselves and are willing to accept the consequences if we err.