Presidential Primaries

January 9, 2008

January 9, 2008

I've been trying to avoid doing a commentary on the Presidential primary contests. Can't ignore it anymore. It's all the news.

I have no idea who will win the nominations, but here is where I think the candidates stand on issues important to agriculture.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Both of their voting records are very liberal -- about as liberal as you can get. That means no extension of Bush tax cuts,more spending, and regulation. You name it -- anything from animal rights to global warming they will be on board. They both will favor comprehensive immigration reform. As for farm programs -- both of them coming from solid farm states -- I would expect them to be fairly sympathetic. Except -- they will want to tighten the screws on the payment limitation -- a lot!

Having said all of that, I would add that I think Hillary would be more pragmatic -- less liberal in the end -- more like her husband. Obama -- he is more of a question mark -- I'm still waiting for detail on where he stands.

On the Republican side-- John McCain -- recovered from the political graveyard and won New Hampshire. McCain is a tough guy, a straight shooter. What you see is what you get. He's not a big fan of farm programs. He doesn't want to subsidize ethanol. He thinks ethanol can make it on its own. He supported President Bush on comprehensive immigration reform. That hurt him politically. Now, he stresses border control first, but still insists we must deal with the 12 million illegals here now. He will cut spending if he can and expand trade.

Gov. Huckabee, after winning Iowa may find some of the next primary states a little more difficult. The Republican establishment seems to think he's too much of a big spender and taxes, and soft on immigration. I'm not so sure I give him the benefit of the doubt.

We should not forget Rudy Guiliani or Mitt Romney. They are still looking for a major win.

The process is fascinating, but we all know the selection of our next President is very serious business. Stay tuned on that.

I am John Block from Washington.