The legacy of a president is made not just what is done while in office, but the precedents set during the administration.
Sam Kass served as the first White House senior policy adviser on nutrition. So as Kass has now left the White House to move to New York City to be with his new bride, MSNBC's Alex Wagner, will President Obama find a replacement to be the White House senior policy adviser on nutrition?
As we enter the 7th year of the 8 years the Obamas will be in the White House, the time is now to think about the legacy set by Barack and Michelle Obama, each in their own way, to set an example for better-grown food and improved nutrition knowledge.
Whoemver the next president will be, that person hopefully will continue having such a role in the White House. The best way to establish that legacy is for Obama to get a replacement for Kass.
Kass will still be involved with Let's Move. Kass said he will take a position in the private sector to promote healthy eating. But we also need someone in the government to play that role.
The White House organic garden, advocacy for better nutrition for school lunch and breakfast programs: these are some of the legacies Kass left behind in that role. But as Kass and many others have discovered, there is so much more work to be done.
One area a new senior policy adviser on nutrition (nutrition czar?) would be of great help is the changes to the Nutrition Facts labeling, including to make sure that added sugars becomes a permanent fixture in nutrition labeling.
If nothing else, health care costs, especially with a for-profit system, are a vital reason to have someone watching out for nutrition in the White House.
At some point, a Republican will win the White House. The hope is by then that a nutrition czar will be so firmly in the fixtures of the White House that even a GOP president will appoint a nutrition czar.
We saw during the extensive length of time in between surgeon generals that the political process can't drag down those fighting to improve the health of the citizens of the United States. The NRA freaked out over non-controversial comments made by Vivek Murthy, and got GOP Congressional members (not that they had to work hard to twist their arms) to delay Murthy's confirmation.
Unlike a surgeon general, a nutrition czar (or senior policy adviser on nutrition) would not have to be confirmed by the Senate. Still, putting these people in a position to help shouldn't be bogged down by political nonsense.
Unofficially, the focus on nutrition will be a significant part of the Obama presidential legacy. It's time to make that legacy a lot more official.