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.