We had hoped for more substantial changes from the Obama Administration when it comes to food programs and food safety. I had even encouraged Michael Pollan to be named Secretary of Agriculture. Clearly though, the last four years in the world of food has certainly improved on the watch of President Barack Obama.
While Mitt Romney hasn't addressed the food supply issues, nor has he been asked those questions, we would have definite fears over what he and Paul Ryan would do in the White House.
One thing we know for sure is that no matter who wins on November 6, we want to keep Michelle Obama as First Lady for the next four years.
Mrs. Obama has blown away any expectation for what we could have hoped for when drawing attention to food and exercise. The White House organic garden. Let's Move. Her TV appearances from "iCarly" to the "Biggest Loser" have been a great use of her position to bring attention to these needs.
She has also been a role model for having fun with eating within limits, presenting a balanced picture for what food consumption should be. The fact that the First Lady is in fine physical shape shows that she practices what she tells us.
Michelle Obama earns prestige for the classy way she has handled the negativity and mendacity for her efforts. She has been as much above board as her critics have been below board, and all with determination and a smile.
This isn't to say that Ann Romney couldn't be a force for positive change. Romney raised 5 boys and have numerous grandchildren. She knows the importance of being healthy given her bouts with a mild form of multiple sclerosis (Michelle Obama's father suffered from multiple sclerosis) and being a cancer survivor.
Romney hasn't spoken about what she might concentrate her efforts on should her husband win on November 6. We have less of a clue as to what she might do, even less than what we know about her husband, and that is truly saying something.
Michelle Obama would win a contest over any recent First Spouse contender on food issues, even former President Bill Clinton. Again, that is truly saying something.
The road ahead has two paths:
Her husband Barack is re-elected on November 6. Michelle gets 4 more years of the White House garden. She can help build on the gains just starting out in the school lunch program. Mrs. Obama responds well to new and difficult challenges coming in the next 4 years and works on finding ways to make an impact beyond 2017.
Barack Obama doesn't win re-election. Short of her husband running for another term down the road, or possibly Michelle running herself for president, this is the last chance to have this kind of a national stage. She could go back to being a high-powered lawyer, leaving food and exercise for others to lead. She could go full-time on this issue, perhaps taping some PBS specials (with or without Muppets) to keep these issues in the spotlight.
Even if her husband loses on November 6 and she never says another word on food and exercise again, Michelle Obama belongs in the BalanceofFood.com Hall of Fame (if we had one). We do hope that a second term as First Lady will bring even more attention and layers of success in the fight to reduce childhood obesity, and that either way, in the next four years, Michelle Obama will remain in the spotlight to help out the cause.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon