In a recent Victual Reality column, I gave John McCain his due for holding fast to his positions against crop and biofuel subsidies — even if his overall farm policies generally suck.
In an attempt to boost his flailing campaign and shore up support in the Farm Belt, the self-declared maverick may be abandoning those positions. Check out his recently announced Farm and Ranch Team [PDF]. The list veritably bristles with pro-agribusiness politicians and flacks, including may who have pimped for ag and biofuel subsidies.
We find Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R.-Big Cotton), a man who has staked his career on bringing home fat government checks to Georgia’s large-scale cotton farmers; William L. Jones, chairman of Pacific Ethanol — a company that will almost certainly fail if the government pulls the plug on ethanol goodies; and Pepe Fanjul of Florida Crystals, the biggest of Big Sugar magnates, a man whose vast family fortune relies directly on the U.S. government’s sugar quotas (against which McCain has railed in the past).
Those are just names that represent ag interests McCain allegedly opposes.
Then there’s Jay Vroom of CropLife America — a pressure group representing Monsanto and other agrichemical/GMO interests; Tracy Brunner, president of Kansas Livestock Association (i.e., Big Beef); two former presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and on and on.
Barack Obama’s own list of farm supporters [PDF] hardly brings comfort, with its “Six former leaders of the National Corn Growers Association,” but it’s hardly the corporate-flack roster released by McCain.