One way to avoid discussing a key issue for Iowa voters is to make such over-the-top statements about other matters that the issue is never joined.
Republicans seem to have succeeded. In the circus masquerading as the Republican Iowa caucus, there has been nary a word about ethanol subsidies, a major issue for Iowans.
But, where do these budget-cutting, waste-fraud-abuse claiming, shrinking-government demanding, laissez-faire extolling candidates stand on ethanol subsidies? The subsidies have been around a long, long time. It is now clear that ethanol from corn is not efficient and competes with corn's use in food. Very few environmentalists, very few energy-independence proponents, of whatever political stripe, from Grover Norquist to Al Gore, believe we should continue to invest in ethanol from corn.
Before they "escape" Iowa, the media should get clear statements from each Republican candidate about what they will do about ethanol subsidies. It is not sufficient to say that they would eliminate them in the context of a big budget-cutting scheme. All budgets, big and small, have priorities.
Which Republican candidate would take the knife to ethanol subsidies as one of the first expenditures to be eliminated in any budget-cutting exercise?
Iowa voters, and the nation, are entitled to know. The press ought to be forcing them to answer the question precisely.
And, they are entitled to know NOW, before the votes are cast, and before the candidates can escape Iowa, and thus the accountability of their views to the electorate.
Mitt? Newt? Rick? Rick? Michele? Jon?* Pray, tell us.
*(we know Ron Paul's position -- he's against. Jon Huntsman is not competing in Iowa).
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