Add Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to the list of folks who suddenly seem to be a friend of ethanol. Just like in my June 5th post about Sen. John McCain, it comes down to two words for these presidential wannabes: Iowa caucus.
Democrat Clinton, just like Republican McCain, wanting to make sure she woos Iowa voters so she can grab her party’s nomination, has pulled a 180 and is now a big supporter of ethanol… at least when she’s in the Hawkeye State, according to this article in Newsday:
At one time, Clinton stood squarely with ethanol’s opponents, and voted several times against ethanol bills.
When the Senate last took up ethanol-related legislation in 2005, the former first lady unsuccessfully opposed requiring refiners to boost their use of renewable fuels and the 51-cent tax credit.
Previously, she had warned that requiring added ethanol would bring higher gasoline prices and environmental risks.
“We are providing a single industry with a guaranteed market for its products — subsidies on top of subsidies on top of subsidies and, on top of that, protection from liability,” she said during an April 2002 Senate energy bill debate. “What a sweetheart deal.”
Her tune has certainly changed now that she wants those corn farmers’ votes:
“Now, Iowa is way ahead of the rest of the country,” the presidential hopeful told listeners at a July 2 campaign stop. “What you’ve done with ethanol … you’re setting the pace.”
Political observers view her about-face as a political necessity, saying Iowa’s first-in-the-nation’s caucuses — in which residents of the country’s biggest corn-producing state vote their choice for presidential nominee — makes it politically risky to avoid kneeling at the altar of ethanol-from-corn.
I’m sure we’ll see a steady train of presidential candidates turned ethanol bandwaggoners for the next six months. Let’s just hope they’re still on board with ethanol when January 2008 is over.