Why Did the Obamas Fail to Take On Corporate Agriculture?

But aspirations are cheap — and naïveté can be expensive. A few days after the candidate’s interview with Time, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, a.k.a. the Senior Senator from Corn, blasted Obama for his heretical views on American agriculture, suggesting he was blaming farmers for obesity and pollution. A campaign spokesman quickly walked back Obama’s remarks, explaining that the candidate was merely “paraphrasing an article he’d read.” Big Food had spoken, and the candidate — an urban politician from Chicago — got the first of what would turn out to be many unpleasant tutorials on the industry’s sway in Washington.

Meanwhile, the pace of 21st-century mass agriculture is unstoppable.