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Mitt Romney Takes The Ethanol Pledge

Tim Pawlenty may be a fan of telling the people of Iowa hard truths about how idiotic it is to subsidize ethanol, but Mitt Romney went the other way and bowed down to King Corn:

Bombarded with questions following his talk at the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Presidential Forum Speaker Series, the former Massachusetts governor told the gaggle of press and fans today that he supports the production of ethanol.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” said Romney, working his way through the Des Moines crowd, where he shook hands and doled out autographs. “I believe it’s an important part of our energy solution in this country.”

The ethanol debate is likely to be the first of many opposing policies the two GOP presidential hopefuls will have as they battle for the nomination.

Way to show off your fiscal conservatism there, Mitt.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Crap, when I saw the headline I thought it was the other pledge.

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  2. DaleB says:

    In 2005, when he was still governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty was pushing the idea of mandating 20% ethanol in Minnesota gasoline by 2013. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/09/26_mccalluml_ethanol/)

    I guess that he was for it before he was against it. I wonder what changed his mind. I always thought of Timmy is a quintessential pandering spineless politician. Maybe he actually got some backbone but I’m not holding my breath.

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  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Not surprising. Romney is running to be president whereas Pawlenty is running to be picked as Veep.

    That said, the larger issue here is the fact that Iowa has so much influence on national politics. That might be the biggest ongoing political scandal of our lifetimes. The fact it’s a caucus and not even a direct vote adds injury to insult. Truly a farce.

    There should be one national direct primary vote on the same day throughout the country. Of course that has about as much chance of happening in real life as a liberal moonbat grasping reality, which is to say none. But we can always have hope, can’t we?

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  4. legion says:

    One thing I’m not clear on with the ethanol subsidies – do they actually _boost_ the price farmers get for their corn, or just ensure that a) it will all get sold and b) that more of it will get sold to refiners? What I’m asking is – if the subsidies were taken out, would farmers actually make less money (assuming they could still find people willing to buy all their corn, which I do)?

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  5. Grandpa lou says:

    wasn’t ethanol production at the core of Obama’s visit to Brazil?

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  6. PD Shaw says:

    legion, I think the answers might all be yes:

    do they actually _boost_ the price farmers get for their corn?

    Prices appear to have increased with the increase in subsidies, but farmers will complain that the inputs have increased as well (land, equipment, fertilizers)

    or just ensure that a) it will all get sold and b) that more of it will get sold to refiners?

    Growing corn, as opposed to other crops (or leaving acres fallow) is a lot more attractive with more buyers. The farmer can sell to the highest bidder, and even some molded corn that might have been wasted can be sold to the ethanol distiller.

    if the subsidies were taken out, would farmers actually make less money

    Yes, though some more than others. (It still strikes me that the ones benefiting most from the ethanol subsidy are not in the heart of the corn belt; it’s the marginal corn producing lands on the fringe that might normally plant some other crop)

    Without the subsidy, less corn, less fertilizer, fewer corn exports, higher trade deficits.

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  7. PD Shaw says:

    wasn’t ethanol production at the core of Obama’s visit to Brazil?

    What’s the deal with U.S. trade barriers on sugar? I find that to be much more bizarre than ethanol subsidies, which is right there with all of those other government programs that operate on the assumption glimmer of hope that government investment will someday make us independent of foreign oil.

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  8. A voice from another precinct says:

    There is another factor in the ethanol subsidy situation. In times of shortage–such as the global drought 2 years ago–where a subsidy on corn produced for ethanol acts as a spur for speculation in the futures market, driving global food prices higher. It was this sort of perverse incentive to speculate that caused some European nations and later the UN to suggest that ethanol should not be encouraged as an alternative fuel source. Of course, that was 2 years ago and a long time back for people to remember.

    On another note, it may be that Pawlenty’s “conversion” is not a flip-flop but rather he came by it honestly as a consequence of awareness of factors such as the above in the ethanol debate. I kinda doubt it, but it is possible.

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  9. john personna says:

    The farmer can sell to the highest bidder, and even some molded corn that might have been wasted can be sold to the ethanol distiller.

    I am not a farm boy, but I suspect hogs are even less discerning than yeast.

    Which leads to where this is hitting us non-farm folk, after we pay for the ethanol we get to enjoy higher meat prices, hurray!

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  10. Eric Florack says:

    Romney is no conservative and just proved it, once again.
    He’s just disqualified himself.
    Again.

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  11. Heather says:

    Economically, supporting the idea of subsidizing ethanol makes no sense. Actually, more energy is wasted when it is produced than people can get out of it. It only makes sense politically. This is an example of how politicians will speak out whatever is necessary to buy them votes. Their ideas change based on where they are and who they are trying to convince.

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  12. Susan says:

    Does any one on this comment blog have solid information to back up their claims. I think we have a lot of spin going on. Truth be told, I have not research any of this for myself. I hope those who are talking have. If listening to spin from opinion makers is your source….I can’t swallow that. There are other blogs out there giving more than lip service to this issue

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