Election 2016

GOP Candidates Quizzed on Farm Policies, Fuel Mandates at Iowa Ag Summit

A Huckabee gem from the Summit: "If I were the president, I would like to have all the authority there is."


Samantha-Jo Roth/Twitter

Iowa is already demanding the attention of potential 2016 presidential candidates. Last weekend, nine Republican hopefuls gathered there to answer questions about ethanol and agricultural policy in an unusual, six-and-a-half hour showcase organized by wealthy Republican donor Bruce Rastetter, whom the Des Moines Register descibes as a "pork and ethanol entrepreneur."

The candidates fielded questions about things such as renewable fuels, wind energy production, trade with Cuba, biotechnology, immigration, and water pollution from farm runoff. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham seems to have been a crowd favorite—for what that's worth. As Iowa writer Todd Erzen put it: "Lindsey Graham had them laughing it up like he was on the set of 'Hee-Haw' or something, but unless the world is going to turn on wind tax credits and GMOs in the next couple months, I don't think this was a game-changer."

For the most part, there was little difference between the candidates, who also included New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former senator Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania), and former governors Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and George Pataki. Despite free tickets and free lunch at the event, "a third of the seats were empty by afternoon," the Register reports. 

Iowa Rural Power/Twitter

The biggest debate, according to the Register, concerned the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal mandate governing how much ethanol and biodiesel must be blended into the fuel supply. 

Most said they understand and accept the need for the mandate, at least until it can be phased out. Santorum and Huckabee in particular passionately defended it. But Pataki expressed vocal opposition to the RFS, as did Cruz, whose answers were met with applause.

[…] Perry's answer on the RFS was hard to pin down, some Iowans said. "I don't know what (Perry) said. I'm not sure he knows what he said," Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, told the Register in an interview. "I was so confused with his RFS answer, I couldn't concentrate on the rest of his speech."

On immigration, potentially the most volatile of the summit's subject, "everybody was smart enough to say we need to secure the border before all else and that seemed to be enough to get by," writes Erzen.

The best of the day's quotes that I've read comes from Huckabee, who is at least open about how politicians in the "party of limited government" actually view limited government. Asked about giving the president authority to negotiate trade agreements without Congress, Huckabee replied: "If I were the president, I would like to have all the authority there is. If somebody else is president, I think they ought to go through Congress."

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  1. Most said they understand and accept the need for the mandate, at least until it can be phased out.

    Which is never.

    1. What a bunch of gutless wonders. Have they ever heard of Clinton’s Sister Souljah moment? These guys will all claim they’re “tough” but they can’t stand up for something that should be a quintessentially conservative idea?

      1. Cruz had one. He got up and said it needed to go.

        1. thanks – i missed that

  2. “Ethanol subsidies and mandates encourage Mexican farmers to burn their agave crops and replace them with corn. As a result, my administration will oppose such subsidies and mandates. Here, have a shot of tequila, everyone.”

    1. “I only drink grain alcohol and rain water….”

      1. +1 precious bodily fluids.

  3. Vote Huckabee for Our Lord and Savior 2016

    1. I welcome our SnoKone Theocratic Overlords.

  4. […] Perry’s answer on the RFS was hard to pin down, some Iowans said. “I don’t know what (Perry) said. I’m not sure he knows what he said,” Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, told the Register in an interview. “I was so confused with his RFS answer, I couldn’t concentrate on the rest of his speech.”

    So, basically the same old Perry as last time? Should somebody tell him that “smart glasses” are just a name, and they don’t actually work?

  5. Good for Cruz. Cruz has balls. He really does.

    1. My opinion of Cruz has improved recently. I worried that he was the type of pol to be all for limited government until his team got power.( and we still haven’t seen what he’d do with a republican in the WH yet). I do admire people who are willing to stand up to their own parties’ favorite cronies though.

      1. He’s better than many though far from perfect.

        1. Yep. Rand Paul is still my first choice, but Cruz has at least distinguished himself from the likes of McConnel and Boehner.

          1. That’s where I am. I could conceivably vote for Cruz in the general, though I still hope that it’s Paul. Otherwise, probably LP.

      2. What I like about Cruz is that he seem legitimately subversive. He really doesn’t seem to care what the media or the establishment think of him. I will tolerate a few divergent views on some issues to get someone who is actually subversive towards the status quo like Cruz seems to be.

        1. I agree, and I hope to see more pols like that get elected in the future, especially from the south. Cruz doesn’t need the media, or mainstream republican support because the people who vote for him hate both.

          There’s a civil war brewing in the GOP. Small government conservatives vs neocons. So far, the neocons are winning because they control the higher offices and the big donors. But in many places, the numbers are against them. The problem is getting pols who mean it when they say they’ll stand up to their own party and so far Cruz has shown that he will.

  6. Now I love Agricultural Subsidies just as much as any freedom-loving American, but isn’t it time to stand up to Iowa? These farmers are bullies. Bullies who frame the debate around corn. And corn may be delicious but it’s not for my car! And if I eat it for breakfast too, ugh! Corn syrup is the most important nutrient in the modern American diet. Now we can keep the Mexicans out of this country but not their real can-sugar coke! I am tired of this corn syrup hegemony. Can we vote for a leader who will stand up to corn? No.

    Iowa says no.

    1. Corn is far from delicious. It’s a filler at best. Its best use is as pig feed, to increase the bacon supply, not human or vehicular consumption. However, as government policy, I am willing to let people make their own mistakes, so I say remove the mandates and subsidies and if idiots want to persist in thinking of corn as people food, so be it. But don’t come crying to me to save your bloated, diabetic ass later on just because if the health and longevity granted me by my bacon-and-squats lifestyle.

      1. *because of. Fucking phone.

      2. “Corn is far from delicious”

        Go to the roasted corn booth at the Minnesota State Fair, purchase an ear of corn, eat it and then tell me “Corn is far from delicious.”

        1. It’s the salt and butter that’s good. The corn is merely the medium by which the salt and butter are carried.

          1. This. Corn is vaguely sweet in a sickening-but-not-tasty way, and it is completely unsatisfying to eat. If you tried to live on just corn, and managed to not commit suicide, you would die inside of two months. You’ve just been brainwashed by living in Minnesota, the land that flavor forgot.

            1. If you tried to live on just corn, and managed to not commit suicide, you would die inside of two months.

              You tried really hard to beat Tony, amsoc, and Jackass for most inane, stupid thing I’ve read on Reason today.

              amsoc’s gun-grabbing rantings just barely beat you out.

          2. You can say the same thing about damn near every food, including (especially?) meat.

            Roasted sweet corn tastes good. Butter and salt make it better.

  7. No appearance by Rand Paul?

    1. His tough stance against corn subsidies makes him persona non grata in Iowa? Or…is he just not a hopeful?

    2. Rand was busy telling people that gay marriage offends him.

      “I’m for traditional marriage,” Paul said. “I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn’t have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people.”

      1. Well, on the libertarian scale of what matters gay marriage has to be way, way down on the list of things that matter, right? Fix other things along libertarian lines first and then placate teh gayz? It’s a brilliant strategy, really.

        1. Gay marriage is the third thing that matters to libertarians. Right after pot and Mexicans.

          1. What about butt secks? Where does that fall in the Hierarchy of Libertarian Priorities??

            1. It’s at the bottom.

              1. Rim shot

                1. Another inyouendo

                  1. I normally don’t laugh at puns, but when I do, I laugh at puns so atrociously bad that they circle around about become good.

                    Congratulations, Mainer2.

                    1. Just trying to acknowledge HeteroPatriarchs sly pun.

      2. Maybe he’s offended by marriage generally.

        1. Why would he be? Libertarians and libertarian Republicans never had any problem with marriage per se. It’s only when gay marriage became prominent some of libertarians discovered a problem with the government endorsement of a specific family structure. Leftists on the hand often looked down on marriage as a bourgeois institution.

          1. Why would he be offended generally? Well he is married after all. As a fellow chains wearer, I sympathize with the sentiment.

            1. The squirrels need to die. They turn up the font size to blind man and then start using left and right screen moves to switch articles. The same left and right swipes used to move the text onto the screen because it’s blown up so much.

              If there isn’t endless squirrel stew between now and December, the magazine gets it.

  8. pork and ethanol…

    Aren’t these the same thing?

    1. No, but they do compliment each other — pulled pork and beer for the win!

    2. Didn’t methane power Bartertown?


  10. Greenbackism, free silver, the government guarantee of prices, bonuses, all the complex fiscal imbecilities of the cow State John Baptists?these are the contributions of the virtuous husbandmen to American political theory.
    H.L. Mencken

    The cow State John Baptists aren’t around much anymore but we’ve got environmentalists to keep up the manufacture of complex fiscal imbecilities.

  11. Look silly Iowans, you can keep your stupid fuel mandates, but in return you must reimburse the rest of America for all our prematurely dead small engines out of your state budget. Your choice.

    1. Small engines? That’s discrimination against ATV and marine engines!

      1. Sorry for my oversight. I don’t own an ATV or boat, but I do own a vast pile of dead chain saws, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, tillers and a scooter which may or may not run after the massive carburetor disassembly and clean up scheduled for this spring. Any engine corroded by that shit.

        1. Thank you. If you’ve ever been on somebody else’s boat with an outboard fed by Ethanol because the owner/driver didn’t know any better, you would never forget to include marine engines again. FYI, you can’t fucking paddle a boat that normally requires a 125 hp motor to push it. You just can’t.

          1. Thankfully, they allow small aircraft to dodge the mandate. If you think paddling is impossible, imagine flapping.

  12. my friend’s sister-in-law makes $63 /hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her payment was $16955 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to the website…….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  13. Huckabee: “If I were the president, I would like to have all the authority there is. If somebody else is president, I think they ought to go through Congress.”

    In other words, I’m not willing to give others freedom; thus, with me, you’ll never have it. One can only have freedom, when you are first willing to give it to others.

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