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Call It What It Is

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Oh great. The White House needs to recapture some political momentum after its party got shellacked this week. It also needs to make good on its laughable promise to "change the tone" and start working with Democrats to "get things done."

So where does it turn? What issue can unite politicians across the fractious partisan divide?

You guessed it: ethanol subsidies energy independence!

The Bush administration will soon launch a big "energy independence"
initiative, likely to include renewed emphasis on biofuels, as part of
an attempt to regain the political initiative following the midterm
elections.

Ugh. The question, as always, is whether this momentum toward biofuels will serve as a kind of kickstart to a broader conversation about energy and climate, or whether it will be a diversion and a dead end. I go back and forth.

Let me just pick on one thing from this article. Look at this:

Mr Hubbard said Mr Bush would also seek to work with Democrats to pass
"comprehensive" immigration reform - political code for reform that
includes work permits and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants
already in the US.

Here, the reporters do their readers a service. Those who aren't political junkies might not understand what "comprehensive" means in the context of immigration reform. The authors expose the reality behind the buzzwords. Good for them.

But why can't they do the same thing on the subject of the article?

Imagine this, with my additions in brackets:

He said Mr Bush wanted to ensure there were the right "incentives to invest" in alternative fuels[, political code for billions in taxpayer subsidies directed largely at multinational ag corporations like Archer Daniels Midland.]

OK, maybe they'd have to tone it down. Point is, why do they let this code of "bold energy initiative" and "incentives to invest" pass by unremarked and unedited? Why not call it what it is?

Reporters have an obligation to start doing this before voters wake up and find out that their bold, hopeful energy vision has translated to nothing more than a fatter bottom line for ADM and a bigger dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.