“Eat Your Peas” Government is a euphemism for the Nanny State, for the government which assumes that the great bulk of citizens are simply too childlike or stupid to be able to be trusted to make their own decisions about… well… anything. William Safire famously referred to 1988 Democrat presidential candidate Michael Dukakis as an Eat Your Peas politician for being such a scold, and the term stuck.
An Eat Your Peas government feels that instead of sticking to looking after the basics (establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense… everybody sing now!) and letting us work out much of the rest as we – reasonable consenting adults that most of us are – see fit, they need to micromanage our lives down to the amount of salt our ketchup is allowed to have and the kinds of windows we can put in our houses… and [insert your favourite nanny-state law here]. You get the drift.
From the start I’ve considered both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard to be Eat Your Peas politicians – hectoring, nannying, scolding neo-wowsers determined to make us all healthy wealthy and wise in spite of our own dumb selves… but today, Julia went there.
She really, really went there.
In explaining why she still feels righteously compelled to foist her wildly unpopular carbon tax on an increasingly unhappy citizenry, and what she thinks is behind the majority’s lack of support for it, she explained:
Oh, dear. “Eat your vegetables.” Just sit down, shut up, and eat your goddamn vegetables. Got it?
If our media weren’t so in the bag for Labor, the term “Eat Your Veggies” would stick to Gillard for posterity the way “Eat Your Peas” stuck to Dukakis.
What are the chances?
UPDATE [12 July 2011]: Obama apparently just went there too…
“It’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder. So we might as well do it now; pull off the Band-Aid, eat our peas.”
Since Comrade Julia’s use of that line, her approval rating has dropped to just 28% and Labor’s primary vote has fallen to just 27%. I wonder if American voters will take to Obama’s use of the line any more kindly than Aussie voters took to Julia’s?
I’m half-convinced that whoever is feeding our pollies these stupid lines must be an undercover VRWC operative.