McCain Tailors Message for Corn Country
OMAHA, Neb. — At a fund-raiser here last night at the Strategic Air and Space Museum — which celebrates the area’s Cold War history as the nation’s strategic air command center in the event of nuclear war — Sen. John McCain spoke to about 150 wealthy donors. The presumptive Republican nominee’s comments were more significant for what was missing, than what he actually said.
First, while McCain praised ethanol as one key to weaning the United States from its dependence on foreign oil — he joked that he drinks "a glass of ethanol every morning before breakfast" — there was no mention of his opposition to ethanol subsidies, which is a regular part of his stump speech. This isn’t surprising, considering ethanol is big business here. According to the Nebraska Ethanol Board, "there are currently 22 ethanol production plants in Nebraska, producing over 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year." Nebraska is second only to Missouri in ethanol production. In 2006, corn ethanol subsidies totaled $7 billion.
Second, there was no mention of the farm bill, to which McCain also regularly declares his opposition on the trail. Nebraska is the nation’s fourth-largest recipient of farm subsidies. The state received $10.4 billion in subsidies between 1995 and 2006.
Clearly, there is a little less straight talk when the Arizona senator’s stump speech and a state’s economic vitality are in opposition to one another.