The Campaign Spot

Newt on Ethanol: ‘Folks in Big Cities Dictate What Should Happen in Rural America.’

There’s suddenly a lot more serious discussion of a possible presidential bid from Newt Gingrich, stemming from his full-throated attack on critics of ethanol while speaking at the Renewable Fuels Association Summit in Des Moines last week. The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Adler, and take aim at Gingrich over it.

Audio of Gingrich’s speech can be found here. Here’s the portion of his remarks where he, in my humble opinion, opens the spigot on the industrial-strength demagoguery:

The other thing I find infuriating about the big city attacks is, this is one industry which brings high-paying jobs and highly skilled people back to rural America. There are now counties where the first or second largest taxpayer and employer in the county is in fact producing biofuels and I think that’s a good thing for rural America. It is great to have jobs that our young people can go to, so they can stay home if they want to, and have a good job, being productive, earning a good living, and doing something they find interesting.

I find it distressing sometimes when folks in big cities decide they will dictate on their terms, having ridden the mass transit down to the office that they walk to, that they will then decide what should happen to people in rural America. It usually means that people in rural America won’t do as well. It’s just plain fact.

Defend ethanol if you must — others at NRO have criticized it here, here, here and here — but don’t attribute the criticism to simple urban elitism or a desire to see rural Americans earn less money.

These remarks don’t necessary mean Newt Gingrich is certain to run for president. But he clearly wants to remain a viable option in the 2012 Republican Iowa caucuses, which means that at least for now, he’s more likely to run than not run.


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