Too bad the question didn’t go to John McCain. From a recent speech in Iowa:
Many Iowans have heard that I oppose federal subsidies for ethanol production. Some of you will have heard that I oppose a protective tariff against sugar-based ethanol imports from places like Brazil. Some of my opponents will describe my positions as opposition to American ethanol producers or, for some inexplicable reason, a personal dislike of Iowa. Neither is true, of course, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight. But I have always believed before you can win someone’s vote, you have to earn their respect. And I intend to earn your respect by being honest with you.
Yes, I oppose subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. Subsidies. And not just in Iowa either. I oppose them in my own state of Arizona. I am a proud of the conservative tradition that the government can sometimes best serve the interests of the American people by knowing when to stay out of their way. And I’ve always been reluctant to grow the size of government to do the business of the American people for them or to favor one industry over another or because one sector of our economy has better lobbyists than another. . . .
I trust Americans, I trust markets and I oppose subsidies. . . . Yes, that means no ethanol subsidies. But it also means no rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil. It means no line items for hydrogen, no mandates for other renewable fuels, and no big-government debacles like the Dakotas Synfuels plant. It means ethanol entrepreneurs get a level playing field to make their case — and earn their profits.
I believe this approach allows Iowans their best opportunity to display to the world the ingenuity that has served Iowa through the years.
Perhaps the Club for Growth, which has been very tough on McCain this year (and sometimes rightly so), should note that he is the only major candidate who is willing to stand for free markets in this area, where it requires him to reject weak claims rather than weak claimants.