McCain used to be so much more than a punchline

by lestro

One of the few agreements I have with Sen. McCain is his opposition to ethanol subsidies and tariffs. Ethanol is a boondoogle, a mistake and total bullshit. It takes more energy to make ethanol than the fuel actually  produces and the production of ethanol creates more greenhouse gases than are saved by using ethanol as a fuel.

It is stupid and our investment money can better be spent on other renewable technologies.

Since half the country grows corn, it made sense to look at it as a possible fuel source. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work very well.

However, with Iowa being one of the opening rounds in the upcoming presidential contest, intelligent policy can take a back seat to the need to pander to farmers by promising them continued ethanol subsidies, even though these subsidies not only continue the farce of corn-based fuel but also ratchet up our food costs by diverting stuff we can eat – something corn is quite good it – in favor of something we can put in our cars – something at which corn is middling at best.

Obama, meanwhile, is from Illinois, which grows a pantload of corn (Iowa ranks No. 1, Illinois comes in at No. 2) so he’s totally in the tank for ethanol.

Nobody’s perfect.

Recognizing the folly of ethanol (or at least taking a stand against stupid giveaways), John McCain is opposed to ethanol. It was one of the reasons he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee.

Or at least, McCain used to be opposed to ethanol subsidies. Back in 1999 he was opposed, although in this election season, McCain has said with the price of oil being so high, ethanol might make sense.

However, with Iowa polls showing a double digit Obama lead in a state with the “real America” profile Sarah Palin gets her panties in a bunch about, Johnny Mac is flip-flopping again:

But at a rally here Sunday afternoon, Mr. McCain seemed to suggest that government has a role in promoting corn ethanol.

“We’ll invest in all energy alternatives: nuclear, wind, tide, solar, ethanol, biofuels,” he said at a rally at the University of Norther Iowa. “We’ll encourage the manufacture of hydro and flex fuel and electric automobiles. And on the subject of ethanol, my friends, I will open every market in the world to the best products in the world, and that’s the American agriculture farm.”

He did not say we should extend the tariffs – his out, no doubt – but as the story points out, that’s the logical extension of his words.

Even if he said this in June:

“We made a series of mistakes by not adopting a sustainable energy policy, one of which is the subsidies for corn ethanol, which I warned in Iowa were going to destroy the market” and contribute to inflation, Mr. McCain told a Brazilian newspaper, O Estado de São Paulo, in June. “Besides, it is wrong,” he added, to tax Brazilian-made sugar cane ethanol, “which is much more efficient than corn ethanol.”

But, in the rush to pander to every possible voter at every possible opportunity, Johnny Mac is willing to change every one of his stands and piss on just about every one of his core beliefs- religious intolerance, torture, tax cuts, hiring Bush’s people who slimed him in 2000, basing a campaign on experience and then selecting a neophyte moron as a veep, etc.

And it’s too bad, because the pandering asshole out there on the stump is ruining the career of the principled, decent and honorable McCain that ran against Bush in 2000,  and made his name on “straight talk.”

Sad, really. THAT John McCain was a hero. The guy out there now is just a punchline.

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