Is Barack Obama a corporate sell-out on environmental issues?

We’ve never been big fans of ethanol as a substitute for gasoline, for the reasons which have been cited by Jeff Goodell in Rolling Stone magazine, who describes it as:

... dangerous, delusional bullshit. Ethanol doesn't burn cleaner than gasoline, nor is it cheaper. Our current ethanol production represents only 3.5 percent of our gasoline consumption -- yet it consumes twenty percent of the entire U.S. corn crop, causing the price of corn to double in the last two years and raising the threat of hunger in the Third World. And the increasing acreage devoted to corn for ethanol means less land for other staple crops, giving farmers in South America an incentive to carve fields out of tropical forests that help to cool the planet and stave off global warming.

At the risk of sounding liberal, we care when one of the things that we still export, which offers real help to the world's poor, is now yet another strand in the dependency web which continues to destabilize our nation.

You'd think the likes of Barack Obama, whose campaign claims to be about change and bashes the current administration for selling out to special interests and not doing enough to help the Third World, would care about such things, right?

Think again.

According to the New York Times, Obama seems to be bought and paid for by the well-subsidized ethanol industry, continuing to support our dependency upon the internal combustion engine, which ultimately leaves us increasingly dependent upon foreign (usually dictatorial) nations:

Nowadays, when Mr. Obama travels in farm country, he is sometimes accompanied by his friend Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota. Mr. Daschle now serves on the boards of three ethanol companies and works at a Washington law firm where, according to his online job description, “he spends a substantial amount of time providing strategic and policy advice to clients in renewable energy.”

Mr. Obama’s lead advisor on energy and environmental issues, Jason Grumet, came to the campaign from the National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan initiative associated with Mr. Daschle and Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who is also a former Senate majority leader and a big ethanol backer who had close ties to the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland.

Not long after arriving in the Senate, Mr. Obama himself briefly provoked a controversy by flying at subsidized rates on corporate airplanes, including twice on jets owned by Archer Daniels Midland, which is the nation’s largest ethanol producer and is based in his home state.

It's not the first time we've talked about Barack Obama’s continued support for pork-barrel boondoggles, corporate welfare and his willingness to do anything to keep from forcing Detroit from moving away from fuel-burning engines (
Subsidizing oil addiction?, 5/31/07). But we're never really surprised when facts come to light which challenge impressions created by the great act of rhetorical improvisation that is Barack Obama.

Apparently ideological consistency is not a requirement when you're Barack Obama, or one of his supporters.

While we're at it, we'll share two videos which will help illustrate the differences between the two Presidential candidates - one, a maverick reformer and the other an ambitious politician who will say and do anything to get elected:

"Energy Security"

"Meet Dr. No"

3 Response to "Is Barack Obama a corporate sell-out on environmental issues?"

  1. Anonymous 9/7/08 01:10
    thought provoking, great blog
  2. Anonymous 9/7/08 10:26
    Whatever has become of Al Gore Sr.'s Billions in oil stocks? Has Al Jr. been rendered "ritually" purified and kosher by their residing in a "blind trust" during his Vice Presidency?

    Think back Earl, have you seen Archer Daniel Midlands or other "big farming" groups sponsor some of the Sunday morning talk shows like deFace the Nation, Beat the Press or This Week Without David Brinkley? The Stone's got it right on one aspect, if they'll dig deeper, that corn isn't the anser, particularly for BTUs in ethanol... cane sugar on the other hand, has a tremendous edge. Another place that deserves a look, nevermind the collateral political damage, is who is playing quid pro quo with the farming conglomerates to subsidize corn to gasahol that cannot go by pipeline, must be shipped by truck. How much more energy does it take to refine and distill the mash to a usable ethanol than it takes to crack oil.

    Wanna go greener in the production and refining of long chain hydrocarbons to power your cars and trucks? Bioengineer the microbes in cows digestive tracks that CONGRESSIONAL EARMARK sponsored studies prove produce methane to produce 91 octane blend and feed them grass clippings and more "biomass"
  3. still in pa mg 9/7/08 15:58
    great piece

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