Joe Joins The Food Police

Joe Scarborough casts himself as a conservative with a libertarian bent.  Earlier this year, he listed Ron Paul as one of the people he admires, because of Texan's devotion to "championing less government."  But at least when it comes to counting calories, Joe has volunteered for the ranks of Mika's Nanny State Food Police.

On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough declared that he favors forcing all restaurants to put calorie counts on their menus. Joe was responding to Mika's report that, under the umbrella of ObamaCare, many restaurants will be required to disclose calories.

Joe was responding to Mika's report that, under the umbrella of ObamaCare, many restaurants will be required to diclose calories. Watch as Joe admits that, at least when it comes to food, his supposed libertarian streak was a sham.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The days of American consumers being in the dark about how many calories they're consuming may be coming to an end.  In accordance with the recently enacted health-care overhaul, the federal government is requiring movie theaters, airplanes, trains, even grocery-store food courts to post calorie counts.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: OK, you know what? I've got to drop this act that I do.  Because I know I'm fat, and Mika tells me I'm fat, this act about how I think you're a bore, and I've got to tell.  We went up to Friendly's, and I'm just going to out them, and I guess I should salute them.  We were in Connecticut, and somebody said, hey, let's go to Friendly's, and I said OK, never been.  They put the calories on the menu.  And I would have, without looking, consumed about 2,500 to 3,000 calories.  After looking at the counts on those things, I was just grossed out.  I had soup. This is critical.  It really is. I hate to sound like you.  This is a critical, critical step.  I think all restaurants should be required to put calorie counts next to it. Again, not sounding like you. But I've played that act long enough.

A true libertarian would observe that information is a commodity. If there's a demand for calorie counts, if people are more willing to patronize restaurants that provide that information, then restaurants will rush to offer it.  It's the same principle that accounts for tofu burgers on the Upper West Side and BBQ joints in Texas. We don't need government to force calorie counts down our throats, excuse the pun.

Meanwhile, later in the show Joe sympathized with Bob Herbert's notion, expressed in his New York Times column of today, that it is wrong to ship "other people's children" off to fight our wars.  So how about it Joe?  Will you encourage your kids to do the dirty and dangerous work of the Food Police?   "Put down your spatula, and step slowly away from the menu.  Do it now!"

—Mark Finkelstein is a NewsBusters Senior Contributor and host of Right Angle. Contact him at