What to Expect When You’re Expecting: President Obama As Our Nation’s “Comfort Food”

BAGNewsNotes Michael Shaw called President Obama “the comfort food.” Here he is visiting Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili Restaurant. Credits: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States of America. Many voters, whether they liked it or not, expected this to happen. Call them indifferent, but what difference does it make if a President’s Democratic policies can’t pass through a House led by Republicans? (again.)

The Average Jo-bama
BagNewsNotes made a good election prediction; a post from July by writer Michael Shaw ended with this statement: “Beyond the charisma, Obama is going to beat Romney the same way he beat McCain – as the comfort food.”

Shaw didn’t mean to point a finger at Obama’s stance on federal food policy, or attract votes from foodies (at least not intentionally); he meant to compliment Obama on finally taking a moment during his campaign to display his other half: the chili-loving, Average Jo-bama that America likes to see. Yet unintentionally, Shaw may have created a buzzword for the next four years.

President Obama, America’s Comfort Food?
Labeling President Obama as the nation’s “comfort food” can bring up questions for his re-election. With a second term, Americans are beginning to debate whether they can expect the White House to finally produce any radical food reforms, or whether they’ve simply grown too comfortable with the past 4 years of Presidential “patch work”: a laundry list of federal programs to avoid making radical policies that Congress can’t agree on.

An Example, The Farm Bill
The Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012,  is a federal legislation package that sets the general direction for America’s farm and food policy. Nothing important. Renewed every 5 to 7 years, the bill was already passed by the Senate on June 21st (thanks to the Senate’s democratic majority). Since then, the Bill has collected dust at the House of Representatives, said to await results of the Presidential Election.

Fast-forward to today: Obama  secured his seat as President for one more term, and Democrats have retained their control of the Senate. One thing still remains: the House remains Republican.

The Farm Bill might take a few more revisions from the House (aka a 1-year extension) until it sees the light of day, even despite the President’s urge for Congress to pass the bill back during the drought this past summer; the 2012 Farm Bill would allow for expanded crop insurance as well as disaster aid for farmers. The House ignored outside pressure and insisted on releasing an emergency drought relief bill instead, giving themselves more time to cut Food Stamps from the Farm Bill, while Hurricane Sandy took its toll on small farms.

A Nation Gets Comfortable – With CHANGE?
The New York Times on Tuesday read, “Divided U.S. Gives Obama More Time.” Four more years of stalling might just push Americans over the edge, and out of their comfort zone. The President can’t rely on the First Lady to single-handedly overcome the nation’s food-woes for much longer; the U.S. wants to see bold, new food policy initiatives, not another White House brew.


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