The makers of Beanie Babies have two new models, and it’s not helping Michelle Obama’s kids.  Ty has introduced their Sasha and Malia dolls, which happen to be African-American, just like the more famous Sasha and Malia Obama, the new First Daughters.  The new First Lady is not amused, but Ty says any resemblance is just a coincidence:

The new Sasha and Malia dolls from Ty Inc. aren’t getting any love from the White House.

On Thursday, Michelle Obama’s press secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld said they consider it inappropriate to use the girls, who are “young, private citizens,” for marketing purposes.

The new dolls, “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” are a part of the “TyGirlz Collection.”

Why is Michelle so exercised over this?  Well, the other models in the TyGirlz Collection have these names: Britney, Lindsay, and Paris, not exactly role models for the next generation of young women.  (They also have “Hillary” and “Jenna” for a bit more dignity.)  Considering that Britney Spears, the obvious inspiration for the eponymous TyGirlz model, just had her new single banned in Britain for its title, Michelle might be on some solid footing here.

On the other hand, the Obamas didn’t seem to mind trotting out their daughters when they wanted good publicity.  After the first instance, they issued public statements of regret, but they have put them into photo shoots since then.  Besides, naming a couple of Beanie Babies after the two girls hardly qualifies as an intrusion on their privacy.  Their names aren’t secret, and thanks to MS-NBC, neither are their Secret Service code names.  I’d be more worried about the latter than the TyGirlz in terms of potential threat.

Still, it’s hard to defend Ty for their TyGirlz line at all, especially when they’re busily lying about their two new models.  Telling people that the Sasha and Malia models are just coincidental to the Obamas is a lot like pissing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.  They’re exploiting Obamamania for all it’s worth.  I’d have more respect for them if they’d just admit it.  If this doesn’t cross the line, and I don’t think it does, it’s tiresome enough as a marketing ploy.