Why Are Politicians Determined to Make People Dislike Broccoli?

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The country's most reviled food?

Depending on how you view things, broccoli either represents all that's wrong with Barack Obama's health-care law, or is just a tasty vegetable that's somehow become a political lightning rod. You see, as the Supreme Court hears arguments regarding the potential constitutionality of mandating health care for Americans, opponents of the plan wonder, if we allow the government to require something like health care, could it also be feasible that the government would one day require every man, woman, and child in this proud country to buy healthy food like broccoli? Ick! Yuck! Wait … what? Why are alarmists getting so worked up over such a pleasant vegetable?

“This is not a question about nutrition. It is not a question about whether broccoli is good for you … It is a question about the constitutional limits on the power of the federal government. It is a question about freedom.” So wrote Terence P. Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNS News. According to a lengthy examination in the Times, Jeffrey was the first person to make the analogy. "I know George Bush didn’t like broccoli," Jeffrey told the Grey Lady. "It seemed an obvious thing that everyone thinks is good for you."

But what's going unsaid is that broccoli has a stigma: Bananas and apples are healthy, too, but pointing out that the government might one day force people to buy those fruits doesn't have the same sting, because who wouldn't mind eating a few extra bananas and apples every now and then? But broccoli? It would obviously be horrible if the government forced everyone to shove that shit down their throats, right?

People: Broccoli can be delicious. Embrace it. Just check out this recipe from Franny's. It's covered in olive oil and chiles. And if even that is too vegetal for your tastes, and this most dire of consequences actually comes to fruition, you can just cover your government-mandated broccoli with fucking Cheetos — who could be opposed to something as great as that?

How Broccoli Landed on Supreme Court Menu [NYT]