Obama is in the White House – Vendors Should Be Cautious

Written by Bunga

Montréal – La Petite-Italie: Marché Jean-Talon – poivrons
food vendors
Image by wallyg
Marché Jean-Talon (Jean-Talon Market), a farmer’s market and bordered by Jean-Talon Street to the north, Mozart Ave. to the south, Casgrain Ave. to the west and Henri-Julien Ave. to the east, is spread out across two city-maintained streets in La Petite-Italie (Little Italy).

The market was first opened to the public in 1933 on the former site of the lacrosse field for the "Shamrock Lacrosse Grounds" club. The market is open year-round, even through a harsh winter, but during the peak summer period its open-air arcades are occupied by as many as 300 vendors. The open air market is surrounded by other food businesses.

Every vendor in the Federal Government market needs to take a deep breath. No, I am not talking about those who are Republicans.

As Barack Obama prepares to take his historic oath of office this coming January 20th, there is a level of enthusiasm that is unlike any other inauguration in recent history. All one has to do is to turn on their local news to see the excitement that is unfolding in the Washington DC area. But the question that vendors need to ponder is whether that level of excitement will carry over to the business-side of the Government.

If you look at any President coming into their first term, there is a natural tendency to attempt to deliver all that was promised during the campaign period in the first few months. Unfortunately, the reality is that this does not always occur. The Congress, even one controlled by the same party does not readily subscribe to new bills coming from the Oval Office.

President Bill Clinton found this out all to well during his first term. During the 1992 Presidential campaign, Clinton made a national health care plan a key issue. Once he took office, he found delivering on this promise to be much more difficult than he imagined. Republicans and Democrats (who controlled Congress at the time) took his health care plan apart and nothing ever materialized. Even Jimmy Carter, who not for lack of effort, lobbied as hard for more bills than any President in recent memory. Congress on the other hand remained skeptical and stubborn on Carter’s initiatives.

Will the same happen to Obama? It is hard to say at this point. One aspect that Obama had going for his is his experience in Congress. The last five Presidents to take office have all been state governors where the leverage over the legislatures has been more ample than on the Federal side. Even though Obama’s tenure in the Congress as Senator from Illinois was brief, he should have a handle on the inter-workings of Congress more so than the Presidents of years past.

What vendors need to pay attention to is how Obama prioritizes his agenda. Based on the current economic climate, he is coming into office with the pressure to “get something going” with his stimulous bill. However, nothing is guaranteed here that Congress will comply here and vendors would be wise to evaluate the climate before moving forward to secure business that may not materialize.

Timothy Cashman is an independent market analyst and consultant for the public sector indutry with an emphasis on the Federal Government. For the past 10 years, Mr. Cashman has provided analysis on trends and drivers while also providing consulting services to small businesses and major corporations. Mr. Cashman holds both an MBA from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University. You may read his blog at

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