Romney: Hey, I like ethanol subsidies!

posted at 11:25 am on May 28, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

What takes more courage in this Tea Party, deficit-hawk atmosphere among Republicans — opposing ethanol subsidies in Iowa, or professing support for federal price interventions?  Mitt Romney clearly believes it’s the latter:

It was an odd setting for a policy pronouncement, but on the sidewalk outside the Historical Building here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraced ethanol subsidies. It came just days after and blocks from where his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Tim Pawlentysaid the subsidies should be phased out.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, a main source of  ethanol.

Really?  Ethanol may be “an important part of our energy solution,” but that would only be true if ethanol could compete without price supports.  Ethanol is hardly an emerging technology that needs federal support for R&D.  It’s a mature technology, and federal subsidies exist solely to artificially lower its price at the pump to make it competitive with gasoline.

Furthermore, the use of food to feed gas tanks is one of the worst ideas we’ve had in green energy.  The IMF made that point almost three years ago, declaring that the destruction of corn for ethanol had exacerbated food crises and also contributed to worldwide water shortages.  A year later, the Congressional Budget Office blamed federally-subsidized ethanol production for hiking food prices.  They estimated that the US would issue nearly $1 billion in extra food stamps in 2009 because of the inflationary pressure caused by its subsidization of ethanol production.

Not only are we paying a hidden price at the pump for these subsidies to make ethanol look better as a solution, we’re paying more at the grocery store and more in entitlement spending to boot.  Hey, what’s not to like for a conservative?

Pawlenty went to Iowa and told the truth — that the federal government’s subsidies of ethanol were bad policy that we can no longer afford.  Romney went to Iowa and pandered for big-government solutions in a market that should either be standing on its own two feet by now or putting resources into other solutions instead.  Which candidate showed political courage?

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Free pass again?

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

You missed some posts. Palin, as the VP pick, echoed McCain’s strategy on ethanol subsidies in ’08.

As for the ACES tax plan in Alaska, that has been discussed ad nauseum…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM

DrSteve on May 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Actually, no. You aren’t the kind I was talking about. There are people who absolutely hate the ground Romney walks on who were saying this is the last straw…

That was silly, and I called them on it.

I agree, subisidies make no sense economically, but they do make sense politically, that is true about lots of things.

Economically, though stopping them suddenly or maybe even at all, until the economy improves is dangerous, economically.

Which is why it is not likely to happen suddenly.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Here’s a question… if Palin is forced to come down on one side or the other… and she is for subsidies… is she then a RINO too?

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Yes, absolutely.

El_Terrible on May 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM

You missed some posts. Palin, as the VP pick, echoed McCain’s strategy on ethanol subsidies in ’08.

As for the ACES tax plan in Alaska, that has been discussed ad nauseum…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 1:26 PM

So you know for a fact that she only supported them because of McCain? If she had to run in Iowa, tomorrow, would she come down against subsidies? I don’t think she has said.

What if she comes out for subsidies? Does she get the same name calling?

Not likely.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Like starving third worlders too?

Sugar cane is more efficient for ethanol than corn, not a food staple and cane won’t be the preferred ethanol producing product until the subsidies are stopped.

Artificial markets produce real world suffering.

Speakup on May 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall McCain being against ethanol subsidies, which was one reason cited as to why he lost Iowa. If Palin was echoing the top of the ticket, then she would have been against the subsidies, too.

yogi41 on May 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall McCain being against ethanol subsidies, which was one reason cited as to why he lost Iowa. If Palin was echoing the top of the ticket, then she would have been against the subsidies, too.

yogi41 on May 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM

I think they flipped.

But you are right. McCain was against. So I don’t know.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:40 PM

Palin pushes Ethanol in Iowa

Palin is no conservative.

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM

I’ve tried posting a link 3x on McCain flipping on ethanol subsidies while campaigning in ’08 and it won’t take (so far)…Just type in McCain supports ethanol and you’ll see several stories on the topic…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM

And once again, Lucy’s husband is wrong…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 1:46 PM

Free pass again?

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM

You’re obsessing…

ladyingray on May 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

What if she comes out for subsidies? Does she get the same name calling?

Not likely.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:29 PM

If she came out for ethanol I would be disappointed. I haven’t found a stated position on ethanol since she was the VP nominee so I don’t know what her position is. The name calling will mostly come from the ABP people, like Lucy’s husband, who will accuse her of changing her position — which, as far as I’ve been able to determine would be inaccurate. If she came out for a phased draw down, I’d be ok with that as long as the time frame didn’t go into decades.

McCain flip flopped on ethanol in ’08. T-Paw has done so in ’11. Mitt’s middle name is Beachwear…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Romney “The Panderer”. Sung to the tune of “The Wanderer” by Dion.

MCGIRV on May 28, 2011 at 1:55 PM

But… McCain didn’t flip until Palin was on board. He was strong on the issue until Palin. He skipped Iowa in the Primary because of ethanol.

An argument could be made that it was Palin who convinced him to flip, not the other way around.

The quotes I saw–Palin mentioned ethanol in lists of other solutions to high oil prices.

I don’t know how she comes down on this this time… but Pawlenty is the test case for winning and coming out against.

Why aren’t Palin’s own words enough? What do you want blood?

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Good. My dislike for Romney has been reinforced.

Thanks Mitt.

CTSherman on May 28, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Petunia,

Simply type in McCain supports ethanol. The 1st story will be a Money Magazine article from 2006, that’s a bit before Palin’s time…Skipping the Primary in Iowa and skipping the General in Iowa are two different things. In Iowa in ’08, Palin (the VP pick) was parroting McCain’s changed position. Much of what she said in ’08 as the VP pick were words and topics chosen for her by McCain and his team, just as any VP pick would have done for them — dem or Rep.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:04 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolgiIvfV-0

Watch Palin pander on ethanol…

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:04 PM

You are making excuses. She is not a victim.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM

Romney sucks.

toliver on May 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

The climate for sugar can allows for year-round cultivation: it gets less energy conversion than corn, but you can get up to three crops in per year, and neither is exactly replenishing the soil it grows in.

Ethanol gets half the energy per volume that gas or diesel does and as you add more of it the energy density of the fuel you add it to goes down, while the effects of alcohol to lubricants and rubber goes up. Methanol is even worse and requires special transportation system due to the effects of the alcohol involved.

The USDA was started by Lincoln and was a primary cause of the Dustbowl due to encouraging planting of crops in a mode not suited to a drier climate, in general, although it was relatively wet enough when settlers got there. When it hit its first dry streak, the subsidies used to lure farmers to the southwest proved to be a catastrophe. The role of the USDA has been one of causing problems which it then tries to ‘solve’… now we pay farmers not to farm in states where they don’t even live. Isn’t that handy?

We now pay for a fuel additive that is not effective due to better technology to oxygenate fuel at the combustion chamber, and that cropland doesn’t go to a human or animal consumption crop. Fun, no?

These are not market competative areas and paying subsidies to ‘get’ jobs means that the money spent following the subsidies isn’t goint to do something USEFUL in the economy. We have a crying need for maintenance of PUBLIC works: sewers, water mains, bridges, roads. Yet the money goes to encourage people to not work to get money to not farm to get money to farm non-market competative crops in pursuit of political largesse and the actual, real functions of government? Hey! We can’t afford those due to ‘entitlements’.

Hope you like your infrastructure keeping your civilized life going to ruin in the next decade or so. Because that is what we are paying for by doing all this other stuff… and we can’t pay for the necessary stuff as we are now in hock up to our eyeballs because of the entitlements not just via generational money transfers, but to places like Monsanto. Isn’t THAT a useful way to get ‘jobs’? Too bad those weren’t jobs doing something useful for our infrastructure… but at least people got what they are ‘entitled’ to. Enjoy your civilized life while it lasts, you aren’t willing to pay to keep it up any more.

ajacksonian on May 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Petunia,

Making excuses? For what? Her being the 2nd person on the ticket and following her boss’s instructions? For being a part of a team?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolgiIvfV-0

Watch Palin pander on ethanol…

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

You mean, watch Palin echo her boss’s plan in Iowa. This is the same story in video form that Lucy’s husband linked to.

Have you looked up the Money Mag. story from 2006 showing that McCain changed his position on ethanol?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:16 PM

You mean, watch Palin echo her boss’s plan in Iowa.

Havent we had enough excuses?

Palin=RINO

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Making excuses? For what? Her being the 2nd person on the ticket and following her boss’s instructions? For being a part of a team?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:12 PM

She wanted to win. So she pandered. They all do it.

But when Palin does it, it isn’t her fault? Is she an adult or do we give her a pass because she can’t hack it?

McCain skipped Iowa because he was against ethanol. When Palin was on board they pandered. That wasn’t McCain.

Even her own ethusiastic words won’t budge you.

You are hopeless.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

BTW….Romney just keeps getting worse and worse.

A political whore in total.

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

In the 2008 Michigan GOP primary, Mitt Romney supported government assistance for the “Detroit Three.” 18 months later he opposed them.

I voted for Romney in the 2008 Michigan primary because he wasn’t John McCain and (surprise, surprise) was saying things I wanted to hear.

bw222 on May 28, 2011 at 2:23 PM

rickyretardo = moron

bw222 on May 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

There’s really no excuse for what you are trying to do, which is to ignore that Palin was not at the top of the ticket. If you will also remember, Palin wanted to campaign in Michigan but McCain pulled out instead of contesting that State. Palin, as the VP pick, had to go along with that stance.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM

How’d this thread become about Palin?

Doesn’t anyone care what Gingrich, Cain, Santorum, Perry, Paul, Rudy, etc. think about ethanol subsidies?

bw222 on May 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

You haven’t looked up the story I referred you to, have you?

You routinely say that you want to learn about all the candidates yet you are skipping a chance to learn more and correct your misunderstanding of the events as they unfolded. Why?

Petunia, have you ever worked for someone else? Played a sport that had a coach?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

McCain skipped Iowa because he was against ethanol. When Palin was on board they pandered. That wasn’t McCain.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

You are one twisted sister.

So Palin was the one that convinced him to pander for ethanol, but she wasn’t able to get him to drill in ANWR?

Okay.

CTSherman on May 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

bw222 on May 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM

One and a half guesses…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

CTSherman on May 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Linear thought…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Havent we had enough excuses?

Palin=RINO

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM

So what’s your problem with her then?

pseudoforce on May 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM

pseudoforce on May 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Yep, he should be rejoicing…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Now, that is different…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 2:35 PM

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.”

Romney wrong once again.

MeatHeadinCA on May 28, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Now I’m definitely not supporting Romney. Thanks for the help, Mitt.

Aronne on May 28, 2011 at 2:42 PM

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Here’s a double dose of reality.

1. No one in the South likes Romney.

2. Palin will be speaking from our nation’s capital tomorrow with a half of million patriotic Americans cheering her.

Sho’ ’nuff hate it for ya.

kingsjester on May 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM

How’d this thread become about Palin?

[bw222 on May 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM]

It’s davidk’s (on May 28, 2011 at 11:40 AM) fault:

Has Palin weighed in on ethanol subsidies?

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM

Sho’ ’nuff hate it for ya.

kingsjester on May 28, 2011 at 2:44 PM

petunia is obsessed…

ladyingray on May 28, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Pawlenty 1, Romney 0.

Buy Danish on May 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I agree, subisidies make no sense economically, but they do make sense politically, that is true about lots of things.

It doesn’t make sense politically if it costs him the nomination, which it likely will.

Economically, though stopping them suddenly or maybe even at all, until the economy improves is dangerous, economically.

petunia

Ahhh, yes, the drop in food prices worldwide that would occur as a result would be absolutely devastating to the economy.

By the way, make up your mind. Do they make sense economically or not? On one hand you say they don’t, but on the other hand you say the economy will be destroyed without them, in which case they do make sense economically.

xblade on May 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Romney: Hey, I like ethanol subsidies!

Me: Hey, I like any other GOP candidate!

HeckOnWheels on May 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Pawlenty 1, Romney 0.

Buy Danish on May 28, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Yes. It is going to be interesting to see if Pawlenty can make it work.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Nothing says UMPH like two guys in blue Brooks Brothers and eye protection standing in a corn greenhouse. One just never knows when an ear of corn is going to gouge your eye out.

Limerick on May 28, 2011 at 3:08 PM

George W. Bush supported the ethanol subsidies for national security.

What needs to be done though is a program that encourages a higher energy yield crop for use on currently unused land. Switch grass is one promising candidate.

scotash on May 28, 2011 at 3:12 PM

xblade on May 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

I don’t know.

On principle I like free markets.

But this subsidy system has been in place since the 70s and Obama made it worse.

I think it will create havoc to yank it out. But like Pawlenty said a gradual reduction is worth a try.

I don’t think even that will work in Iowa politically.

Pawlenty will be a test.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolgiIvfV-0

Again, watch Palin pander on ethanol…

So your excuse is that she lied, because she was second on the ticket? I see. Well, that is much better.

You can make all the excuses you want… but if Palin runs she is likely to pander again. Because it is Iowa.

If she doesn’t pander, she is a flip-flopper.

Do we have one set of rules for her and another set for everyone else?

Yes, apparently we do.

All your excuses in the world can not change that she panders just like the rest.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM

I dare anyone to defend corn ethanol. Anyone who has any sense and has spent more than 10 minutes to verifiy thier opinion knows the truth.

TomLawler on May 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

You can make all the excuses you want… but if Palin runs she is likely to pander again. Because it is Iowa.

If she doesn’t pander, she is a flip-flopper.

I prefer good policy, even if it’s been flip-flopped.

toliver on May 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolgiIvfV-0

Watch Palin pander on ethanol…

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

That is pretty damaging to the Palin cause. Quite embarrassing too because I’m sure about half the negative comments on this thread are from Palin fans.

How about this, maybe Palin and Romney are both doing all right on the matter?

scotash on May 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Petunia,

You have to be trying to be obtuse. Have you or have you not ever worked for someone else? Have you or have you not ever played a sport that had a coach? Have you or have you not ever been a student of a Teacher?

If so, did you do what the boss, coach or Teacher instructed you to do or did you do whatever you wanted? You have to understand that concept, don’t you?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:21 PM

How about this, maybe Palin and Romney are both doing all right on the matter?

scotash on May 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Ethanol subsidies are wrong. Period.

MeatHeadinCA on May 28, 2011 at 3:21 PM

For all his popularity, Obama has failed to create an economic environment fertile to job growth. He has no solution to falling home values. His reflex to wring more taxes from job creators and investors condemns more Americans to long-term unemployment. His dreams of green energy block exploitation of America’s fossil fuel wealth that could be the basis for economic rebound. Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress entangle business and finance in a vast web of new regulation. And he is spending the nation into bankruptcy.

By Election Day, the voters may decide the times require a different kind of president

In a sane world Donald Duck should beat Obama.

Schadenfreude on May 28, 2011 at 3:22 PM

scotash on May 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Type in McCain supports ethanol and you will find a 2006 article in Money Magazine that details his switch on ethanol subsidies. I’ve tried to link the article 3x and it won’t take. I’ve referred petunia to the article and she hasn’t acknowledged reading it.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Correction, that is true for ethanol from corn. Brazil uses sugar cane, which is a net producer of energy.

iurockhead

It doesn’t really matter. We’re not growing our way out of this problem, whether it’s corn, sugar cane, sugar beets, or magic algae.

xblade on May 28, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Romney will say and do anything for a vote — this is another example of why he would be bad as President.

PhiKapMom on May 28, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Mitt: who bravely dares to pander where everyone has pandered before.

By the way, Tim Pawlenty gets a C from Numbers USA while Mitt gets a D.

Tim Pawlenty: he’s not perfect, but far better than the other guys.

David Blue on May 28, 2011 at 3:27 PM

By the way, Sarah Palin gets a D-.

Tim Pawlenty is the best candidate in this field.

David Blue on May 28, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I’ve referred petunia to the article and she hasn’t acknowledged reading it.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:23 PM

I did my own research and McCain was clearly on record as being against subsidies and ethanol… that is why he skipped Iowa in the Primary. It was a strong enough stand that he skipped Iowa.

After Palin joined him… she was suposed to be the expert on energy… he switched. I dont’ know what effect Palin had. I don’t care.

But it doesn’t matter. She is either pandering of her own accord or because she doesn’t mind lying. At any rate the change in policy was made after Palin joined up. I assume she was part of the team that made the decisions, unless she was such a mouse she just went along to get along and had no actual brain power to contribute.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 3:34 PM

So your excuse is that she lied, because she was second on the ticket? I see. Well, that is much better.

You can make all the excuses you want… but if Palin runs she is likely to pander again. Because it is Iowa.

If she doesn’t pander, she is a flip-flopper.

Do we have one set of rules for her and another set for everyone else?

Yes, apparently we do.

All your excuses in the world can not change that she panders just like the rest.

[petunia on May 28, 2011 at 3:14 PM]

You might be right about that on ethanol or you might be wrong. One can’t say for sure until she comes out and shows her position absent having to parrot McCain’s position in 2008.

McCain ran in Iowa in 2008. McCain changed his position on ethanol from 2004 to 2008. He did it before Palin was chosen as VP.

Two comments of mine to that effect are in moderation. They’ll be out soon (I’m not going to try it again). It contains links.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

rightwingyahoo, is that you?

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

If you ended subsidies today, which would be Congress not voting to put them in for 2012, then there would be the rest of the year to ‘correct’ for that.

Farmers would look at alternatives to plant, and those in the ethanol industry would have to seek other sources of funding, other ways to market their goods (hmmm…can they outdo Thunderbird?) or, yes, go out of business. If the industry requires the government to exist and it is not a DoD critical tech company, then it should go away. It isn’t serving anyone BUT the politicians and their cronies.

Better the pain, now, when its already bad than to put it off and continue the corrupt system of crony capitalism. The longer it is put off the more excuses politicians will make to themselves to continue it because it directly benefits them in the way of votes and kick-backs. If you are against corporate welfare, then you should wanted this ended as fast as possible. Unless you actually LIKE national socialism, that is… though that never ends well.

ajacksonian on May 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 3:34 PM

So, you CHOSE not to read the Money Mag. article from 2006 that could possibly provide you with more and different information. That’s telling. That you continue to ignore what the VP nominee’s role is in following the Primary winner’s lead is also telling. You ignored

So Palin was the one that convinced him to pander for ethanol, but she wasn’t able to get him to drill in ANWR?

Okay.

CTSherman on May 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I can tell you never played football…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:43 PM

George H.W. Bush, who wasn’t great but mostly a good guy, once said that trust is not having to guess what someone really means. He failed his own test. (What does “Read my hips: No new taxes!” really mean?) But it’s still a reasonable test of political trust.

Does anybody think that they know for sure where Mitt stands and will continue to stand on issues that matter to them?

I get supporting the guy. If you think he’s the man with the best chance of beating Obama, fine Obama needs to be beaten.

If all you want is for him to act like a competent chief executive and appoint qualified staff instead of boosting cronies like Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales, fine. I trust him for that too.

But on issues and principles? I don’t get enthusiasm for this candidate. How can anyone be sure he means what he’s saying and will stay on your side?

David Blue on May 28, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I tried linking the Money Mag article 3x to no avail. You might be having the same problem. I gave the info to petunia, she decided to go with the huffpo story that Lucy’s husband posted instead of Money Magazine.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM

[Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:35 PM]

I take this back, Petunia, and the others. While McCain did run in Iowa in 2008 but not 2000 (I had a typo there) I think you are right about his position not changing. I hadn’t read the links carefully and while McCain said he was in favor of ethanol he did still say he was opposed to the subsidies. The tenor of both articles I linked though tried to hide that behind a continued MSM meme that he was flip-flopping, which goes to show you how the MSM will ignore what someone says to push a meme they want to be believed.

I’m sorry I said you were wrong without being sure that you were wrong.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM]

What page is your Money mag link on?

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:48 PM

McCain’s about-face

For a politician like McCain, the stakes go far beyond a little name-calling. When McCain ran for president in 1999 and 2000, he barely campaigned in Iowa, knowing that his anti-ethanol stance wouldn’t cut it in corn country.

Four years later, McCain hadn’t changed his tune. “Ethanol is a product that would not exist if Congress didn’t create an artificial market for it. No one would be willing to buy it,” McCain said in November 2003. “Yet thanks to agricultural subsidies and ethanol producer subsidies, it is now a very big business – tens of billions of dollars that have enriched a handful of corporate interests – primarily one big corporation, ADM. Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality.”

Even the most slippery politician would have a tough time wriggling away from a statement as unequivocal as that one, yet McCain’s Straight Talk Express has been taking some audacious detours during recent trips to Iowa.

In a flip-flop so absurd it’ll be a wonder if it doesn’t get lampooned by late-night comedians – not to mention opponents’ negative ads – McCain is now proclaiming himself a “strong” ethanol supporter.

“I support ethanol and I think it is a vital, a vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse gas reduction effects,” he said in an August speech in Grinnell, Iowa, as reported by the Associated Press.

“Well, at least now we know he’s serious about running for president,” quips Brown University presidential politics expert Darrell West, upon being told of McCain’s ethanol about-face.

In Grinnell, McCain said he still opposes subsidies but indicated his attitude softened after oil prices crossed $40 a barrel. There’s just one problem: in June 2005 – when oil was $60 – McCain’s office put out a press release warning that the ethanol mandates in the 2005 energy bill would result in higher gasoline prices for his constituents. (He was right, but lowans don’t care.)

McCain didn’t respond to requests for an interview. His office sent us a written statement calling ethanol “a competitive alternative fuel for consumers.” We wanted to ask the senator whether the realities of Iowa politics forced him to reconsider his ethanol opposition. We were also curious how much of a role two new political advisors – Terry Nelson and David Roederer, both Iowa natives – played in his shifting ethanol rhetoric.

Unfortunately, the most we could get out of McCain press secretary Melissa Shuffield was that the senator hasn’t made any decisions about 2008. She also insisted that McCain’s ethanol position hadn’t changed, noting he remains opposed to subsidies.

There’s a word for someone who changes the way he talks about an issue, not how he feels. It’s “politician,” and McCain’s reputation is based on being Not That Guy. Were the Iowa Caucus held today, polls say McCain could win.

Of course, most lowans aren’t yet thinking about 2008, and at least one local pundit believes McCain’s new position on ethanol creates as many problems as it solves. “The flip-flop is deadly,” says Steffen Schmidt, host of the Dr. Politics show on Iowa Public Radio and a political science professor at Iowa State University. “It makes it so easy to undermine McCain’s main claim to fame, which is that he’s a straight shooter.”

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:54 PM

What page is your Money mag link on?

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 3:48 PM

My attempts at linking the article never made it thru. Thus, the excerpt above…

Type in…McCain supports ethanol…into your search box. An article from Money Mag, 2006 should appear at the top of the search results…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:56 PM

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:46 PM]

Okay, I think that Money Mag article is the same one I linked.

The problem here I think is one of definitions. Now it might be that McCain has flip-flopped, but that article doesn’t prove it and neither does a Tim Russert interview that I linked.

McCain has always been against subsidies. Back in 2000 he was against ethanol use, and subsidies, because oil was so cheap. In 2006 forward he was for ethanol use, but still against subsidies, because oil was expensive.

There’s still a problem there in that it is confusing and doesn’t address mandates, but the two positions are not incompatible if you base it on the free market, which it doesn’t appear he does. The free market is the real point and one he never made.

The question then becomes whether Palin took the same position and whether she was against subsidies and said so as McCain did.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I am not exact on McCain in Iowa… he was on the ballot of course but he didn’t put the time in there. And is often referred to having “skipped” Iowa.

He came in 4th and his campaign said that was good considering how little time he spent.

And Gohawgs I didn’t link to ricky’s article either.

I did a google search I read some stuff and I remember…

I am not interested in anymore excuses for Palin. I can clearly see her pandering.

Yet you simply can not ever let go of your worship long enough to look at truth.

But I don’t care. I have decided there is little she can do at this point to get my support after the last few weeks. That movie is straight up propaganda and it is totally unfair to anyone else if she is allowed a two hour special commerical spinning her record! And now this bus tour!

She is milking her followers for money. I think she doesn’t plan to run and hasn’t for months now and she has told Roger Ailes as much and is why she is still on the payroll with Fox. She keeps you and the others on the hook to get your money.

I don’t trust her in the slightest.

If does run… I may give her one last shot. Because she isn’t tricking you out of your money. So I could re-evaluate. But she is getting a complete free ride with that movie and it makes me sick that she can get away with murder and no one calls her on it!!!

You can’t even admit she is pandering… when you see it with your own eyes. That is a personality cult. I’m not interested in trading an Obama personality cult, for Palin personality cult.

I won’t be part of that.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Palin pushes Ethanol in Iowa

Palin is no conservative.

rickyricardo on May 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Hey Ricky: You missed the PALIN money quote:

“We need to level the playing field and eliminate mandates, subsidies, tariffs and price supports that focus exclusively on corn-based ethanol and prevent the development of market-based solutions which would provide us with better options for our fuel needs.”

Mutnodjmet on May 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 3:54 PM]

Yeah, it’s the same one you excerpted. Here’s the critical statement:

“She also insisted that McCain’s ethanol position hadn’t changed, noting he remains opposed to subsidies.”

This was what he said to Tim Russert and what Russert ingored in favor of continuing to pretend he hadn’t in favor of the flip-flop meme and badgering him incessantly:

MR. RUSSERT: Now you go to Iowa and say this: “I support ethanol. I think it’s a vital alternative energy source, not only because of our dependence on foreign oil but because of its greenhouse gas reduction effects.” You had said it had nothing to do with reducing fuel consumption, nothing to do with improving air quality.

SEN. McCAIN: I, I, I am of the confirmed belief that when oil is 10, $15 a barrel, that ethanol does not make sense. When oil is $60-plus a barrel, then ethanol does make sense. I still oppose the subsidies to it. It makes a lot of sense. We are dependent on foreign oil too much. We have a situation where greenhouse gases has now become–emissions has become a vital issue. I am for sugarcane, biofuels, switch grass, and corn-based ethanol because of our need for independence on foreign oil. And it has become far more graphic and dramatic as we watch people like Mr. Chavez in Venezuela behave the way that he has, and President Putin behaving the way that he does. It’s a fact that when oil is low amounts per barrel and–that we are not concerned about greenhouse gases or dependence upon foreign oil, it doesn’t make the sense that it makes today. It does make sense today.

MR. RUSSERT: But you do now disagree with what you said in ’03, that it has nothing to do with reducing fuel consumption…

SEN. McCAIN: What I was…

MR. RUSSERT: …or nothing to improve air quality?

SEN. McCAIN: I don’t…

MR. RUSSERT: You now believe…

SEN. McCAIN: I don’t know what–I don’t know what it does to fuel consumption. I’m sure that there is some question about that, as the…

MR. RUSSERT: How about air quality?

SEN. McCAIN: …as the, as the technology has increased dramatically. The air quality, it does reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most effectively? Does–as much as nuclear power? No. But given our dependence on foreign oil, given the situation as the price of oil then–and, and the realities of climate change, we should go for many alternate fuels. I do not support the subsidies.

MR. RUSSERT: So you’ve changed your mind.

I thought what McCain said was reasonable but Russert wanted to sell flip-flop and darned if he was going to be denied that on his show.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

The question then becomes whether Palin took the same position and whether she was against subsidies and said so as McCain did.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Palin, as VP nominee, is supposed to follow the lead of the Pres. nominee. Which apparently she did. Just as she did when McCain pulled out of Michigan and Palin wanted to stay in Michigan and campaign for votes. She did what McCain wanted.

I haven’t been able to find any other info concerning her position on ethanol before or since ’08.

As for McCain, it seems — according to this story — that he was playing fast and loose with his words. He proclaimed his support for ethanol but not for subsidies. Huh? There wouldn’t be any large scale ethanol production if it weren’t for the subsidies…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I think if his statements as quoted in Money Mag and his statements on Russert were laid side by side you might could see a bit of hedging on McCain’s part.

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iolgiIvfV-0

Did you watch? Apparently not.

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM

All along I’ve been looking at Romney as a viable candidate. I had big problems with his health care program in Mass. but I liked his business background. With this however he’s just lost my vote. I will not support anyone who supports ethanol subsidiaries.

galtg on May 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:07 PM]

I agree about Palin, as VP, following the lead of McCain’s position and it’s probable she did so on both points. That’s her job. No problem there.

I disagree with you on the ethanol support/ethanol subsidy position of McCain’s. I think we should support ethanol to the extent that it doesn’t require taxpayer money. That’s just free-market and I don’t mind McCain supporting free-market principles. Yeah, without subsidies there wouldn’t be a market at low oil prices but there is somewhere on the high end of the oil price curve and that is what he was saying, poorly.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

petunia on May 28, 2011 at 4:05 PM

The huffpo story link was about the youtube vid you posted. Most candidates do bus tours or train tours or some sort of tour. Most top tier candidates have long vids/movies produced as part of their campaign and then have them chopped up into TV commercial length. Most people in subordinate roles follow the instructions of those above them in the hierarchy. I have been the one in this conversation that has striven to be honest and forthright…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

I agree on letting the market decide on ethanol. I think, based on the Money Mag article, McCain made a decision in ’06 to try and “divide the baby” in order to try and win over Iowans.

petunia wants to believe that Palin joining the ticket in ’08 made him say what he did in ’06…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

I think if his statements as quoted in Money Mag and his statements on Russert were laid side by side you might could see a bit of hedging on McCain’s part.

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:11 PM]

Maybe but I’ll chalk that up to a) the MSM’s penchant for framing the narrative, 2) McCain not being much of an economist, which he has admitted, and iii) not wanting to get into the twin issues Russert was playing on — global warming and air emissions.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Yes petunia, unlike you and my info to you, I read Lucy’s husband’s link and looked at your vid link. That’s how I knew they were the same material…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

I agree on letting the market decide on ethanol. I think, based on the Money Mag article, McCain made a decision in ’06 to try and “divide the baby” in order to try and win over Iowans.

petunia wants to believe that Palin joining the ticket in ’08 made him say what he did in ’06…

[Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM]

I can’t argue with that without getting into hair-splitting like detail on either count, so I’ll generally agree with you here.

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Romney panders ….

once again, the interests of a special interest are more important than what’s best for the nation as a whole.

BD57 on May 28, 2011 at 4:32 PM

How did this turn into a Palin thread?

Oh, the Palin obsessed Petunia is here.

Question answered.

portlandon on May 28, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Dusty on May 28, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Maybe so, Dusty. McCain is quoted in the Money article referring to ethanol and greenhouse gases. Maybe that’s why Russert asked him that question…

But anyway…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

You lose, Mitt

More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months.

The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.

The oil industry says any environmental concerns [from fracking] are far outweighed by the economic benefits of pumping previously inaccessible oil from fields that could collectively hold two or three times as much oil as Prudhoe Bay, the Alaskan field that was the last great onshore discovery. The companies estimate that the boom will create more than two million new jobs, directly or indirectly, and bring tens of billions of dollars to the states where the fields are located … .

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/28/business/energy-environment/28shale.html?_r=1

davidk on May 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

It’s funny how all Romneybots have for defence is Palin did it too! Hey, isn’t your guy supposed to be the better choice? Lol.

promachus on May 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Behold! Your leadership…

True_King on May 28, 2011 at 4:52 PM

promachus on May 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Not all, maybe 1 or 2…Several Mitt supporters actually have posted comments NOT defending him on this…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Ok, why do you need safety glasses when you look at corn?

mizflame98 on May 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Ok, why do you need safety glasses when you look at corn?

mizflame98 on May 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Cuz, it might be pop corn…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Ok, why do you need safety glasses when you look at corn?

mizflame98 on May 28, 2011 at 4:54 PM

And that is some sorry lookin’ corn.

davidk on May 28, 2011 at 4:58 PM

Even Al Gore, thinks Ethanol subsidies are a bad idea…Mitt Romney is going to run from the left of Al Gore?

Dr Evil on May 28, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Dr Evil on May 28, 2011 at 5:14 PM

And, apparently to the left of annuals…

Gohawgs on May 28, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Oh Lord! Please don’t make me vote for Romney! Give us an electable conservative. PLEASE!

csdeven on May 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Just wait for it…

… Mittens, in trying to ‘explain’ himself after the feces makes contact with the rotating blades, will sit up in the chair, open his eyes wide, then shout to the world:

“What I meant to say was that…”

I heard T-Paw just fine…

… and he didn’t want to, nor have to ‘clarify’ his statements.

Seven Percent Solution on May 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Romney: Hey, I like ethanol subsidies!

Subsidizing Ethanol = Subsidizing FAILURE!!!

Sooooo….Romney is going for the nomination from which party??? It’s really hard to tell whether he’s a RINO or a DINO!!!

landlines on May 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Oh Lord! Please don’t make me vote for Romney! Give us an electable conservative. PLEASE!

csdeven on May 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Sarah Palin

/

Seven Percent Solution on May 28, 2011 at 5:55 PM

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