On Monday, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. He made his announcement in Iowa, a state where many farmers receive the financial benefits of subsidies paid by the federal government for corn used in the production of ethanol. By calling for a gradual end to these ill-advised subsidies that have helped to artificially boost the price of food and have done little for energy efficiency, Pawlenty was trying to make two points:
1. He supports free markets.
2. He bases policy positions on principle, not political expediency.
Pawlenty’s announcement and statement of support for free market principles points out, once again, the need for a Voices of the Tea Party e-book that evaluates the 2012 Presidential field from a tea party perspective.
Mr. Pawlenty’s ethanol position vaults him to the top of the existing list of candidates on this issue. The ever diminishing Newt Gingrich, for instance, has declared his support for the continuation of these dreadful subsidies. Tea party favorites Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, to my knowledge, have not yet made definitive statements on the ethanol issue, which has traditionally been the political third rail in the Iowa cacuses.
But one policy position does not a tea party Presidential candidate make. As Ricky told Lucy, Pawlenty still has some “splainin to do” about his only recently reversed support for the equally ill-advised “cap and tax” carbon tax proposals set forward by the “man-made Global Warming” crowd.
The good news, however, is that by announcing his support for an end to ethanol subsidies, Pawlenty has thrown down a challenge to the rest of the Republican field. How will the other candidates respond?
Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series and co-founder of Top Conservatives on Twitter and the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition. His new e-book, I, Light Bulb: A Death Row Testimonial, will be published in July, 2011. His new book, Covenant of Liberty, will be published by Broadside Books in January, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .