Apparently, eliminating ethanol subsidies is an issue of overwhelming importance to the “true conservatives” as defined by National Review, although I must confess that I have once given any thought to the issue:
“Volunteers sat at desks below signs that read, “WHEN MAKING CALLS: Please stay on script! Avoid the temptation to comment on other candidates.” Most of the callers were from out of state, many of them Texans. (Iowa volunteers were more commonly tasked with “walking,” or knocking on doors.) They came here to volunteer, compensated only with a dormitory bed at “Camp Cruz,” where they would retire after twelve-hour days spent reading from sheets that read, “Ethanol Talking Points” and “Day One Script.” …”
A strong, true, heroic, principled limited government conservative like Ted Cruz stood up to ethanol and won in Iowa:
“Third: Cruz’s win suggests (if we may indulge in a moment of optimism) that principled conservatism is perhaps slightly more attractive than some of us had thought, arguably as much for the principle as for the conservatism. Cruz was practically alone in taking a principled stand against the ethanol mandate, a sacramental bovine of some standing in Iowa. A video showing him arguing with a farmer critic over the subject was widely circulated, and it was vintage Cruz: a little peevish at first, and more debater-ish than one might like, but utterly in command of the issue and its details. Cruz argued that getting rid of the mandate while also getting rid of the artificial restrictions on ethanol fuel would give the market a chance to sort out the issue on its own. And Cruz seems to have changed that critic’s mind, at least for the moment. …”
Thomas Sowell, a key figure in the brain trust of conservative economics, writes:
“Senator Cruz’s refusal to pander to the sacred cow of ethanol subsidies in Iowa showed a resolve that is rare in politics, and may account for the Republican establishment’s sudden shift to a more favorable view of wheeler-dealer Trump — someone who can “rise above principle,” as an old-time politician once put it. …”
The Editors of National Review boast in their opening paragraph:
“Ted Cruz didn’t play the expectations game in Iowa. He said he was going to win the caucuses, and he did. What’s more, he did it even while bucking the conventional wisdom that candidates who seek to win Iowa must genuflect toward ethanol subsidies — and earning the hostility of Republican governor Terry Branstad for his refusal. Senator Cruz deserves congratulations for his performance. …”
Just a few days before the election, Rich Lowry penned an entire article on the subject of ethanol subsidies and Cruz’s “act of reckless courage”:
“Ted Cruz has dared to provoke the ire of one of the most ruthless and vengeful political forces on the planet, and it’s not Donald Trump. The Texas senator has crossed the ethanol industry in Iowa, which is a little like getting on the wrong side of the Catholic Church in Vatican City. …
Other Republicans have refused to bow and scrape before the ethanol industry — John McCain wouldn’t do it in 2000, but he didn’t compete in Iowa. Cruz, in contrast, has staked an enormous amount there. His campaign could have been engineered in a lab for Iowa: He is an evangelical who is a hard-liner on immigration and has organized relentlessly on the ground. The only dissonant note is his opposition to the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard that is a government prop for the industry. Cruz’s stand against it is an act of reckless courage.”
Rush Limbaugh was crowing on his radio show this afternoon about the “major, major, major thing that happened last night”:
“RUSH: There’s one other major, major, major thing that happened last night which nobody in the establishment is gonna want to admit to, nor are they going to talk about it, and that is, bye-bye ethanol. Sayonara ethanol. You don’t think so, Snerdley? Okay. Okay, well, yeah, it’s an anomaly for one campaign, but look what happened. You had the governor urging everybody in the state not to vote for Ted Cruz because Cruz wants to end the ethanol subsidy.
What happened? Cruz wins.
Everybody else came out for the ethanol subsidy, including Trump, which, that was another puzzling thing to me given what Trump is trying to do positioning himself. And look at what ended up happening. I mean, this is huge. This is not people in Washington defeating ethanol; this is Iowans in a record Republican turnout choosing a guy who made a singular, major point out of ending the ethanol subsidy. In terms of conservatism, this is the kind of thing the establishment won’t go anywhere near. Reducing government, as you get cutting down subsidies, crony capitalism, whatever you want to call this, crony socialism, nobody would touch it.
Cruz was the only one that had the guts to touch it, and he wins. It is huge, I think. Because what it is, is instructive. It means you can go after these things and not only survive it and live another day, you can win. You can win attacking Big Government socialism. You can win if you do it the right way, if you do it in the way Cruz did, that is explains how this is actually going to expand freedom and economic opportunity and lower prices. Coupled with all this nonsense about global warming. Did you see the latest poll on global warming? …”
I’m not going to waste anymore of your time on the subject of ethanol subsidies.
From the perspective of a populist and nationalist, it is an issue of trivial importance that affects the livelihood of 73,000 people in a key swing state. The “conservative,” however, is someone who can get quite riled up about this stuff. Like their support for job destroying free-trade agreements, eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard is a matter of ideological fidelity to the abstract principles of neo-liberal economics. It is a “boondoggle” that makes the price a gasoline a few cents more expensive.
Who cares that the White working class is rapidly sinking to the status of degraded proletariat in a Third World country? The first “Hispanic president” will “Take Our Country Back” by opposing renewable fuels!