Limbaugh, Levin weigh in on Trump’s flawed ethanol stance

posted at 5:21 pm on December 15, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

Last week I brought up the sticky question of how King Corn was investing big dollars in going after Ted Cruz over his rejection of government subsidies for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard and the fact that Donald Trump had taken a very different position on the subject. In fact, he not only seemed to come out in favor of ethanol subsidies, but used that as a line of attack against Ted Cruz. (One of the only candidates to consistently be on the right, conservative side of this question.)

Well, I wasn’t the only one to notice this. Two prominent conservative radio figures who both like Trump quite a bit noticed this as well and weighed in on it yesterday. First up, Rush Limbaugh.

“…Now, Trump’s not trying to portray himself as a conservative, either. So it’s not a violation of that. But he’s clearly making himself out to be anti-establishment, yet he joins them here. And then he dumped on Cruz for being opposed to ethanol? In other words, we as Republicans must support government subsidies to corn farmers in Iowa if we’re to have any chance of winning Iowa? We’ve gotta stand for subsidies? And that, again, is not a conservative position.”

Rush wasn’t alone. Mark Levin chimed in with a very similar explanation of what’s wrong with this picture.

America’s ethanol requirement destroys the environment, damages car engines, increases gas prices and contributes to the starvation of the global poor. It’s an unmitigated disaster on nearly every level. Can we really as conservatives say that the right side of this is to continue to support this? Based on what conservative principle theory? And if we oppose it, we’re for Big Oil. What the hell does that mean? What does that mean – that our motives are bad? … So why did he go to Iowa, Trump, and promote this? So let me explain something, here’s the phrase I want to use, ‘populism without conservatism is liberalism.’ Even more precisely, populism without conservatism is statism. The state, the federal government, should not be in the fuel making process. The federal government should be dictating that we take food out of people’s mouths and put it into cars because the environmentalists want it. So why would we defend this, when in every respect it’s a disaster?

Some of our readers – who are frequently more astute than I – have regularly pointed out something about Trump’s strategy which is worth noting. Yes, he says some “outrageous” things from time to time, likely going way, way too far off the beaten path. But he does it for a reason. He gets people talking about the conservative position on subjects which are too often taboo. And once the conversation is begun, a surprising number of people wind up coming along, reluctantly at first, and the national conversation shifts. Look no further than the hold on Muslim immigration or the wall on the southern border for examples. I completely agree with this assessment, though I didn’t see it as soon as some of you did.

This is not one of those cases. Arguing in favor of ethanol mandates and the RFS for the sake of a few more votes in Iowa and doing so simply to attack Ted Cruz (who probably stands closest to Trump on the conservative ship this cycle) is a shallow, callous move which doesn’t move the ball forward. He should rethink this position and get away from King Corn. That’s one monarch who will never save you in the end.

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Ultimately, talk radio heads are armchair quarterbacks. None of them have ever ran for office, so their opinions, while sometimes helpful, are usually pretty useless. Their job is to be entertaining, sell books, and stay on the air.

cimbri on December 15, 2015 at 8:48 PM

Running for office is easy…being an elected official is also challenging…Trump has only now run for anything and has no track record of being in government at any point. I’ll put my money on the talk show hosts.

ironmarshal on December 15, 2015 at 9:41 PM

Bear with me here.

You are never going to get small government. That ship sailed a long time ago. And anyone who tells you he is going to bring you smaller government, is selling you a bill of goods. Especially if that guy is a politician with a super pac. But, you can get a right-wing government that uses its power to dismantle the left’s infrastructure.
So for example, we will still have the EPA, but the EPA will be fining Al Gore for breathing out CO2. We will still have a department of energy, but the energy will be nuclear and not wind and unicorn farts. We will still have a department of education, but it will not be a marxist department of education. And we still have ethanol subsidies, but we won’t have another 250,000 muslims from the middle east working in our gas stations.
HugoDrax on December 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Unfortunately, I must agree with this. Too many people like THEIR particular goodies. People do not stand for their principles at any detriment to themselves. The ones that do suffer. People do not like suffering. They have no problem with others suffering though.

Can someone name something virtuous about the whole scheme?
Constitutionalist on December 15, 2015 at 6:02 PM

We ranch in SW ND. We do not farm, ANYTHING. Many of our neighbors are farmers. I have watched bad farmers with no business acumen EXPLODE in ‘wealth’. Brand new combines, tractors, grain bins etc around every corner. CORN! They are planting corn here in SW ND in places corn, or any damned crop, has no business being planted. These people are getting rich off of corn & meanwhile it is driving up land prices and RENTS for we ranchers. Meanwhile, USDA sec’y Tom Ballsack is on RECORD stating two things as goals for the USDA/US Govt: They are going to drive cattle prices down & 2nd: They want to reduce US CATTLE HERD NUMBERS. So the govt has baldly admitted to wanting to put us out of business.
Ethanol helps do that.

One last comment on this thread. Cruz is the only candidate running that is against King Corn. I give him credit for that. Not sure why many of you can’t.
Bmore on December 15, 2015 at 6:21 PM

It seems many think this:

You can see the criticism is not about ethanol, per se, but that Cruz is against it because his big oil donors have paid him to be against it. This criticism was made to highlight Trump’s financial independence, and Cruz’s big donor dependence:

Cruz’s anti-ethanol stance was brave. But remember it, when he supports “free trade”, because that is the “conservative” thing to do, despite the inevitable job losses, and hollowing out.
Joseph K on December 15, 2015 at 6:46 PM

I personally think Cruz is being honest about his convictions bcs his actions in the senate back up his assertions. People have become so jaded they cannot believe any Pol would make such a stand for any other reason other than $. I happen to believe Cruz is genuine at this point. I pray I am correct.
Regarding job losses, I don’t know why people want to protect jobs that have grown at the expense of others bcs GOVT PICKED THOSE JOBS and their creation through these subsidies. How many of my fellow ranchers have lost their places or forced to sell out bcs they couldn’t compete with a big farmer that has a Federal Govt pocketbook at their disposal when a school land auction to rent pasture came up? That has been happening to US. We are forced to rent the adjoining school land at our place at sky rocketing rents prices bcs the sh!tty farmer getting rich off of these subsidies can afford to jack up the bid to insane levels & leave us hanging bcs he KNOWS we NEED it. We’ve had it for almost 30 years.
How about the young rancher who wants to buy a quarter of land that not only competes against the rich out of state pheasant hunter for that sh!tty quarter that is good for nothing but growing grass, but now the corn farmer who will farm f&^%$ rock piles bcs he can get $$$ for planting corn, no matter if the crop FAILS or not.
Come down here to see the absolute SH!TSTORM the federal govt’s game has produced in my community through these govt programs.

Because it is just not very important. It never has been and certainly isn’t now.
VorDaj on December 15, 2015 at 6:28 PM

They are not all vital. That is absurd. If one tries to fight every battle, one will lose them all. Reagan prioritized. He let the deficit get huge and never even got rid of the Dept of Education.
VorDaj on December 15, 2015 at 6:20 PM

You are wrong bcs this is a conservative republican ideal. Ethanol subsidies are liberal policies. Think about what Coolidge did to the TX (?) begging farmers during hard time. He refused them subsidies bcs he understood that was not the Fed’s role.

Any POTUS candidate in favor of ANY Federal subsidy is no conservative. These are state issues at best. Subsidies like this are not enumerated powers. That is the whole point and that is why Cruz piqued my interest long ago.

BTW, as much as I love Reagan, he actually is responsible for the revamping of MORE disrupting farmer subsidies. A man named Milton Hertz was appointed to a position that allowed this to happen and he enriched himself from the program. He died a few years back a rich man. Before that, this man did not have a pot to pi$$ in. How do I know? I live near the town he grew up in. I know his daughter. These people are classic big govt ‘conservatives’.

Our fight isn’t so much with liberals, but in the primaries with RINO’s.
b1jetmech on December 15, 2015 at 7:53 PM

This is the truest statement of all. I’ve said this a million times. If you really care about the quality of candidates, you need to get your a$$ out there in the primaries.

Badger40 on December 16, 2015 at 7:56 AM

But, you can get a right-wing government that uses its power to dismantle the left’s infrastructure.

And THAT is exactly what the GOP establishment wants. They don’t want to fix anything, they just want to be in charge of it. As long as you hold this view, we the people are screwed. See also “Obamacare.”
Have you ever noticed that the Dems do a fairly good job of cleaning house in the federal bureaucracy when they take over? Republicans won’t do that. So as long as you keep all those agencies alive, they will be staffed by liberal progressives. Just because President Trump or whomever says an agency’s goals are changing does not make it so. It’s like Drone registration: if you don’t enforce it, it won’t happen. Likewise, if your agency is stacked with liberals, your “right-wing” goals will never be achieved. And then in 4 years when the Dems take control back, the entire bureaucracy will still be intact and ready to get back to Liberal goals.
Until we get someone with the character to actually CUT government, we are all screwed. We don;t need to reform Obamacare. Or the EPA, or DHS or IRS or HHS or DeptED etc. We need to get the government out of our lives.

Free Indeed on December 16, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Our fight isn’t so much with liberals, but in the primaries with RINO’s.
b1jetmech on December 15, 2015 at 7:53 PM

YES. The RINO’s are simply happy to take over the federal machine and control the levers of power. There is no way they can do anything to stave off the disaster that eventually awaits us.

Free Indeed on December 16, 2015 at 10:25 AM

Badger40 on December 16, 2015 at 7:56 AM

Show me a candidate who is promising you everything you want and I’ll show you a candidate who is pandering. And if that candidate is pandering to you, what do you think he is doing to his big donors?

Trump may not have everything you want, but he can’t be bought, and he will stop the illegal immigration and put us back to work. Who knows, he might change his mind on ethanol too, but he is way out in front of the other candidates for the 3 reasons I stated.

Trump gives us a chance to destroy a totally corrupt system. Will it work? I don’t know, but I’m going to vote for him hoping it will happen and looking forward to he economy getting back to where it should be with 5%+ growth.

earlgrey on December 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM

If these two, Levin and Limbaugh, are that worried about Trump’s stance on Ethanol, why not really worry about Cruz’s carbon copy of Obama’s policy in the Middle East? The Big Shots in the Republican party keep trying to force us to the professional politicians: Cruz, Bush and Rubio, and pretending that these people are not professional politicians. They are!
No professional politician, Democrat or Republican, has done one thing to eliminate and reduce the bloated Federal government departments for 100 years including Education, EPA, Energy, DHS, IRS and Commerce? You want to finally balance the budget? Then prune and merge by half, with no effect whatsoever, these departments. A professional politician like Cruz, Rubio, Bush and the others will never do it.

leader4hru on December 16, 2015 at 3:19 PM