Saying that politicians pander is like saying that water is wet. But some pandering is more egregious than other. This is especially true when candidates who ostensibly believe in smaller government genuflect at the altar of a big-government program simply because it is supported by an important voting block. A classic example is Republicans who want to cut spending on public broadcasting or planned parenthood but shrink from reforming Social Security or Medicare. After all, seniors vote. I shouldn’t be disappointed, but I am.
The latest example of fair-weather principles, is the renewable fuel standard, a government mandate that benefits corn farmers in the Mid-West, while driving up the cost of gas and food, and actually harming the environment. But the first step on the road to president is the Iowa Caucus next January. Therefore, we are treated to the spectacle of supposedly free-market GOP candidates trekking to the Iowa Agricultural Summit and pledging their eternal fidelity to ethanol (with the notable exceptions of Ted Cruz and RandPaul).
I write about it in this week’s column for National Review Online:
One note: After the column was published, I was contacted by Marco Rubio’s office. He does indeed have a position on the RFS. He thinks it should be phased out someday, but not now. So add Sen. Rubio to the list of panderers.