Ethanol Campaigning

Cindy Zimmerman

McCain BusAccording to the Washington Post, John McCain had only been in Iowa long enough Thursday to make one ethanol joke – “I have a glass of ethanol every morning for breakfast” — when word went out that he was already leaving.

Turns out that the presidential candidate ended up staying after all, skipping a procedural vote in DC on the Iraq war. On the campaign trail, McCain has apparently decided to try and make up for ignoring Iowa in his race seven years ago when he was vocal in his opposition to ethanol subsidies.

Now the candidate is reportedly supporting ethanol, at least with words, if not actions. According to an article on Seeking Alpha analyzing McCain’s position on ethanol, blogger Konrad Imielinski notes that the candidate maintained a consistent “anti-ethanol demeanor through 2005 as documented by his voting record” which includes voting against the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Environmental Effects Caused by Ethanol Amendment and the Energy Omnibus Bill.

McCain then changed his position completely in 2006. When giving a speech in Iowa, the same state which he publicly stated his skepticism in 2000, he said “I support ethanol and I think it is vital, a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects.”

HillaryMcCain isn’t the only candidate to have an “ethanol conversion” experience, as the Washington Post calls it.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) experienced one in May of last year. Long opposed to federal support for the corn-based biofuel, she reversed herself and endorsed even bigger ethanol incentives than she previously voted against. Now running for president, Clinton is promoting a $50 billion strategic energy fund, laden with more ethanol perks.

Seeking Alpha’s Imielinski also analyzes Clinton’s ethanol position noting that she voted a total of 17 times against measures promoting ethanol production. Senator Clinton even stated in 2002 that “there is no sound public policy reason for mandating the use of ethanol” but now has shaped herself as a prominent advocate of ethanol.

Ethanol, Government, News