Lawmakers feasting 
on food analogies

Something’s cooking around the Capitol, because it seems lawmakers can’t stop talking about food.

It started with a mention by President Obama of an American side-dish staple — peas. Now a senator’s staking his claim in the great culinary craze, by betting on steaks.

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) dipped his hand into the bipartisan edible obsession on Thursday, when he wagered a cut of beef that President Obama would sign the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation. Coburn said in a press conference, “We’ve got to fix our country, and this is the only viable plan right now that will do that, and I will bet you a Porterhouse steak if it lands on his desk, he will sign this puppy.” Yikes — might be wise to leave references to puppies out of food debates.

White House press secretary Jay Carney quickly advised Coburn that the senator shouldn’t start setting the table for a steak dinner, saying in response to a reporter’s question on Thursday, “We will take that bet. And I would refrain from heading to the Safeway to buy A1 [steak sauce], because the president has very clearly vowed to veto a bill if such a bill were to arrive on his desk.”

The president could be to blame for spoon-feeding all the food references to politicians. When speaking about the debt-ceiling debate two weeks ago, Obama said policymakers must “Eat our peas.”

Other leaders soon followed that lead. A few days after Obama’s pea proclamation, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had his own sugar-coated simile: “Dealing with them [the Obama administration] the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-O. Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out overnight.”

The president bounced back with another menu mention, saying last week that he hoped House and Senate leaders (who might be said to be playing a game of chicken with the debt ceiling) were “prepared to start talking turkey” about crafting a plan.

The food analogies took a turn for the gluttonous when Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) took to the House floor and said, “A few days ago President Obama said we need to eat our peas. Well, I couldn’t agree more. Our bloated and obese federal budget needs a healthy and balanced diet, one that trims the fat of overspending and grows the muscle of our nation’s economy.”