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Barack Obama has presented himself as the reform candidate out to challenge the special interests and change "politics as usual."  If only that were true, and if only we knew what we now know (and who knows what we’re left to learn) five months ago.

The latest Obama disappointment is his close ties to the ethanol special interests.  As reported in today’s New York times, "And when it comes to domestic ethanol, almost all of which is made from corn, he (Obama) also has advisers and prominent supporters with close ties to the industry at a time when energy policy is a point of sharp contrast between the parties and their presidential candidates."

Obama’s coziness with this industry lobby dates back to his early days in the Senate.  "Not long after arriving in the Senate, Mr. Obama himself briefly provoked a controversy by flying at subsidized rates on corporate airplanes, including twice on jets owned by Archer Daniels Midland, which is the nation’s largest ethanol producer and is based in his home state." reports the Times piece.

Among Obama’s top lobbyist ties,  "Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota. Mr. Daschle now serves on the boards of three ethanol companies and works at a Washington law firm where, according to his online job description, ‘he spends a substantial amount of time providing strategic and policy advice to clients in renewable energy.’ " according to the Times article.

Also, Jason Grumet, Obama’s lead advisor on energy and the environment.  Grumet "came to the campaign from the National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan initiative associated with Mr. Daschle and Bob Dole, the Kansas Republican who is also a former Senate majority leader and a big ethanol backer who had close ties to the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland." reports the Times article.

After such a promising start (well, ok, it was largely promising because we knew so little about the candidate), it’s becoming more clear that what we have in Obama is just another bought and paid for politian owned by special interests.

Originally posted to Pinebark on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 09:03 AM PDT.

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