Only 610 days left until Election Day, and the pace is heating furiously in Iowa, whose caucuses are supposed to foretell the political fortunes of presidential aspirants and unlock the wallets of big donors – all to send 1% of the delegates to the national conventions. The 2016 campaign kicked off last week when a very rich “agribusinessman” named Bruce Rastetter summoned Republican candidates to Des Moines to talk about the Renewable Fuels Standards, an issues that barely registers on the GOP’s national radar but is a multi-billion dollar industry in Iowa. It’s also an example of how efforts to cut fossil-fuel emissions are hijacked by big business, given huge bi-partisan government subsidies (see, we can work together!), turn into perversions of their environmental intentions – and caused Republican hopefuls to tap dance around their core beliefs (market-based solutions, small government, and fossil fuels as the salvation of America).
Why just last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on behalf of Big Coal, called on states to simply reject “so-called ‘clean-power’ regulations [that seek] to shut down more of America's power generation under the guise of protecting the climate.”
But out in Iowa they were singing a different tune, talking about the great benefits of planting the state from Davenport to Sioux City in one vast monoculture of subsidized corn. Only Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz demurred. But before we heap praise on Cruz for not “pandering,” it’s worth noting that in Texas Big Corn takes a back seat to Big Oil.