Skip to comments.Bachmann’s Tricky Ethanol Politics - She’s for it, but she’s also a Tea Partier.
Posted on 06/16/2011 12:00:58 PM PDT by neverdem
Bachmann's Tricky Ethanol Politics
She's for it, but she's also a Tea Partier.
To the ethanol industry, Michele Bachmann has been both a friend and a foe.
Over the course of her career, she’s carefully straddled the line between supporting the industry and arguing against government subsidies.
“When it comes to ethanol, I think that it’s a part of our solution, but there’s concerns about that because of the subsidies,” Bachmann told Fox Business host Eric Bolling early this year. “I think it’s just something that we have to look at going forward.”
When it comes to ethanol, the 2012 candidates are beginning to stake out their positions. Tim Pawlenty kickstarted his campaign with a rousing speech — in Iowa — that called for eliminating ethanol subsidies. Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman also have denounced ethanol subsidies. On the opposite side, Newt Gingrich (who has received over $300,000 for consulting for an ethanol lobby) and Mitt Romney support ethanol subsidies.
What Bachmann currently thinks isn’t clear. Her office did not respond to National Review Online’s request for a statement.
Meanwhile, the ethanol industry is shifting. Longtime ethanol advocate Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) is pushing for a reduction in the tax credit to ethanol — and he has the industry’s blessing to do so. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association president Walt Wendland criticized the media earlier this month for assuming that anything less than supporting the status quo on ethanol would earn one the ire of the ethanol industry.
Citing the media coverage of Pawlenty’s push to end ethanol subsidies, Wendland said in a statement, “These stories operated under the assumption that support for the current ethanol incentive is a political litmus test in Iowa. They were wrong. . . . Support for a status quo ethanol-blenders tax incentive is no longer synonymous with support for ethanol.”
That gives the candidates some wiggle room to stake out a position — a boon for Bachmann, who has been inconsistent on ethanol during her time as a Minnesota state senator and a congresswoman.
In 2005, Bachmann voted to require all gas sold in Minnesota to contain at least 20 percent ethanol by August 2013. (If the EPA has not yet approved gas with such a high level of ethanol, the law will not go into effect.) She also spoke favorably of ethanol in a July 2008 conference call on energy. “We’ve also done a very good job in Minnesota by building the E85 pumps all across the state, so that people can have access to them,” Bachmann said during the call. Not mentioned: the fact that Minnesota allotted $1.75 million to give to gas-station owners who installed E85 pumps.
Two months before that call, Bachmann made the controversial decision to vote against a five-year farm bill. The bill, which had been vetoed by Pres. George W. Bush, won the support of the two-thirds required in the House and Senate to override the veto. Bachmann not only voted against the bill — which both of Minnesota’s senators, including Republican Norm Coleman, and six of the eight members of the state’s congressional delegation, voted for — but was also outspoken in her opposition to it, lambasting it for “exemplif[ying] the very worst of Washington’s ways” and for avoiding “every single opportunity for actual reform.
“It is loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork and subsidies for agricultural business and ethanol growers,” Bachmann said of the bill, according to Gannett News Service. “Americans are being squeezed by taxes and rising living costs, and Congress wants them to pick up the tab for pet earmarks and wealthy landowners.”
Bachmann’s ties to Iowa, her birthplace and the future scene of her formal announcement of a presidential candidacy, run deep. But so do her ties to the Tea Party, whose adherents push for an end of “crony capitalism” and government policies that favor one industry over another.
Right now, much of the attention on ethanol is focused on the tax-credit subsidies — not the 2007 mandate that 36 billion gallons of fuel come from renewable energy sources by 2022, or the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff that is slapped on imported ethanol. Both measures boost the domestic ethanol industry, but have failed to become as controversial as the tax credit. Bachmann may choose to denounce the tax credit, but refuse to criticize these other policies.
One thing’s for sure: Iowa, where Bachmann is positioning herself to be a key player in the caucuses, will be on her mind as she makes her decision. In her interview with Fox’s Bolling, the Minnesota congresswoman made sure to give a shout-out to the Hawkeye State when talking about ethanol: “I certainly want to make sure that the farmers here in Iowa are able to be successful in raising their crops.”
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.
Bachmann has received significant farm subsidies herself. I’m in favor of ending all subsidies now and using tariffs.
We would be much better off as a nation had we maintained the policy of tariffs which was in place until the central bank (Federal Reserve) was created in the early 1900s. The Federal Reserve started the move towards globalization and debt and affecting our economic policy and with the initiation of the income tax and ending tariffs which created the incentive for national debt.
We are still the world’s primary market and tariffs work to our overall benefit because it encouraged more domestic production. Our current free trade encourages globalization and our economic decline.
Once again "National Romnybots On Line" writes a whole article implying something that is complete at odds with Bachmann's voting record.
Ethanol is big in Iowa and Bachmann need’s Iowa.
It seems to me this ethanolwithout additivescould be put in 55-gallon drums and sold around the world as vodka. ... No, No, No. It could be sold as corn Likker, which got me started in life. Vodka is made from ‘taters. And it ain’t good fer ya. Turn ya inta a Communist or somethin’.
She was for it before she was against it?
That probably knocks Bachmann out. Once the deluge comes, ethanol has to go.
The Iowa caucuses begin the process of weeding out. The GOP needs to weed out those candidates who continue to support ethanol subsidies as well as those politicians who continue to promise things that a) don’t work, and b) are prohibitively expensive.
Why wait for the Iowa caucuses? Let the weeding out begin now!
She's against subsidized ethanol. You lost me. How so?
How's NRO pro Romney? Romney has taken too many positions that are not conservative.
“In 2005, Bachmann voted to require all gas sold in Minnesota to contain at least 20 percent ethanol by August 2013”
Doesn’t get anymore government supported than that.
Has she ever talked to people in the oil and gas industry? The ones that would know or is this about politics only. So far I won’t vote for her. She also voted for the Patriot Act.
I did not know that....the more I learn about her, the more I am glad that I do not like her......
Did you read the article? Apparently the head of the ethanol lobbying organization says that is no longer the case.
That is a clear signal that she frightens the left.
What I mean is that support for huge ethanol subsidies is declining, even among those fabricating the product. There is political room to at least reduce the amount, which would be a blessing all around.
Compelling it's use by LAW, is the government subsidizing it (just having the consumer pay, instead of the taxpayer).
Under Rich “Pretty Boy” Lowry’s “leadership” National Review has morphed from a conservative publication to an establishment Republican publication.
Now let’s play pin the tail on the pandering poll.
Two months before that call, Bachmann made the controversial decision to vote against a five-year farm bill. The bill, which had been vetoed by Pres. George W. Bush, won the support of the two-thirds required in the House and Senate to override the veto. Bachmann not only voted against the bill which both of Minnesotas senators, including Republican Norm Coleman, and six of the eight members of the states congressional delegation, voted for but was also outspoken in her opposition to it, lambasting it for exemplif[ying] the very worst of Washingtons ways and for avoiding every single opportunity for actual reform
Once again “National Romnybots On Line” writes a whole article implying something that is complete at odds with Bachmann’s voting record.
The only facts in this article are directly at odds with what is being implied by the rest of the article. Read the quote above
Since her campaign manager Ed Rollins bashed Sarah Palin (presumably with Michele’s approval), she actually has been praised by Chris Matthews and Martin Bashir at MSNBC and Howie Kurtz at the Daily Beast.
Say what you want about Palin, but she does not back-stab supposed friends via surrogates. If Sarah knifes you, she’s looking at you and she does it herself.
I like her. As the Representative to the House of the District in Minnesota in which see resides.
I did not know that....the more I learn about her, the more I am glad that I do not like her......
I've read it. I'm not sure what you think is implied. I don't see what's so complicated. What's the problem with alternative energy if there are no subsidies? Let the free market choose. If corn - derived as it is now - ethanol can't cut it, so be it. Maybe cellulosic derived ethanol can. If various biofuels are economically viable, go for it. Just no subsidies, and no hamstringing fracking. We need cheap energy!
It’s not that ethanol isn’t important in Iowa, as I understand it, but that because of the minimum ethanol requirements, such as the one Bachmann voted for in MN, the tax credit isn’t critical to the industry any more.
"If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
I have no problem with Sarah, but I don’t think she’s running.
I haven't had an alcoholic drink in 30 years but I remember vodka as being the foulest tasting liquid I've ever tasted........ well, it would be a toss up between vodka and gin. My preference back in the day was bourbon.
So she did receive farm subsidies. What she voted for is irrelevant unless she also declined the real world subsidies. Those in Congress will often play games and vote for or against bills knowing up front that it will or won’t pass. Everything is wired in Congress but appears differently to the average people.
I have a real problem with most in Congress because of their “they were for it before they were against it” type hypocrisy or vice versa. While they play games, Americans pay a real price.
I agree. My post was unclear. What I meant was that the current level of subsidy is not a critical issue and could be lowered without radioactive political fallout ensuing.
>> “When it comes to ethanol, I think that its a part of our solution” <<
Solution to what?
Engines that run too well and last too long?
Bachmann is a typical useless politician.
>> “It will be interesting to see how well Michele holds up if they give her the Palin treatment by micro analyzing every aspect of her life.” <<
It won’t ever happen.
She has already shown them that she is weak in front of the camera, so they know that she will be easy to defeat, and that makes her a useful idiot in their quest to stop the only real candidate: Palin.
>> “That is a clear signal that she frightens the left.” <<
For now the left loves her because she may help to stop the real candidate.
Vodka hasn’t been made from potatoes since Smirinoff went into business.
I was quoting someone. What I know about vodka however, would fit in a shot glass.