Friday, June 02, 2006

Farm Subsidies & the Road to the White House

So last night, I was at Drinking Liberally. Sarah, the organizer, brought up the issue of farm subsidies.
I managed to annoy a guy from Iowa by saying this last night, but that doesn't make it any less true. Being from Iowa might give him a leg up on knowing about the process involved in the Iowa Caucus, but I don't think it makes him any more an expert on the political implications of farm subsidies any more than me being from Durham, North Carolina makes me an expert on basketball (Although I agree with many, if not all, of the things he said about hemp).

Several people at the table had their own stories regarding subsidies. One had a story about two relatives that operate farms, and one gets paid more for not raising certain crops than the other makes altogether.

There are principles involved in farm subsidies that are sound, mind you--- But there are a lot of areas that need to be reformed, such as the example of the two relatives above.

But it's never going to change. Why?

Because running for president is kind of like banging Scarlet Johansen. You may not be actively pursuing it at a given moment in time, but that's not to say you're going to pass it up if the opportunity arises.

Any bill calling for a reexamination of farm subsidies would have to be sponsored by a guy on Capitol Hill that has absolutely no presidential ambitions and voted in by congressmen with no presidential ambitions.

The first exit on the road to the White House is Iowa. And a candidate that speaks openly and honestly based on sound principle on the issues facing Iowa is taking a bite off of a shit sandwich.

They want to hear that farm subsidies are going to continue, and they want to hear you say that you believe ethanol is the fuel of the future. Never mind that to process and refine a gallon of ethanol, you have to burn a gallon of fossil fuels--- They want to hear you say that you'll continue hemhorraging money into the state for this.

No one is willing to lay their head on the chopping block. Where Iowa goes, the money goes. In 2004, Iowa was the death of two presidential campaigns, Dean and Gephardt. When they lost, the money dried up. There are very few exceptioons to this-- Clinton is called "The Comeback kid" because he managed to bounce back after losing Iowa. The only other time I can think of off of the top of my head that a presidential campaign managed to bounce back from an Iowa loss was the fictional Santos campaign in the poorly written sixth and seventh seasons of The West Wing.

If anyone wants to reexamine farm subsidies and ethanol, it's clear that one thing has to happen first--- Another primary has to be bumped ahead of Iowa.

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