Did Walker flip-flop on ethanol?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that his 2006 opposition to ethanol subsidies is consistent with his current position supporting them.

Uh-huh.  The surest sign that a politician has flip-flopped is when he denies having done so.

Politico:

On a telephone town hall meeting sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, the all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate insisted that, when he spoke out against ethanol mandates during his 2006 run for governor, he was specifically referring to state-level standards, not federal ones.

The weekend before last, at an industry-sponsored agriculture summit in Iowa, Walker said he opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard philosophically and would like to phase it out “long-term” but that he would keep it in place indefinitely to help out farmers.

Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin’s first question to Walker during the hour-long Monday call, which drew thousands of conservative activists, was, “What made you switch your position?”

“From our standpoint, our position is consistent,” Walker replied. “I talked about not wanting a mandate in Wisconsin as governor. We do not have one. I do not support one. I have not enacted it. I’ve kept it out of the state of Wisconsin. What I said in Iowa was … I think we need to phase it out, but I don’t approve of putting in new mandates.”

In fact, among other things, Walker ran radio ads back in 2006 that decried “mandates from the state or federal government.”

The governor explained Monday that he is now okay with continuing the federal mandates, which require a certain amount of corn-based ethanol to be mixed into gasoline, to guarantee that there is “market access,” so that “individual consumers can have the choice about whether they want to consume gasoline with or without ethanol.”

“That’s consistent with where I was at the state level nearly a decade ago,” he said. “You just can’t [phase them out] overnight, all at one time.”

I know I don't have to mention to our discerning and intelligent readership that Walker's flip flop on ethanol is directly related to the importance of the mandates to Iowa farmers.  No GOP politician who has opposed the energy mandates has ever won – or even done well – in Iowa.  And if you opposed the mandates in the past, you had better get on your knees and beg the forgiveness of Iowa corn growers, who get about a quarter of their income from the mandates being enforced.

Whether it's good policy to use food to power autos is apparently beside the point for Iowans.  But there is little doubt that the mandates disrupt the market and increase the cost of food for the rest of us.  Walker might have separated himself from the pack if he had opposed the mandates outright.  But that's not the game of the frontrunner, so in a Walker administration, the mandates will likely remain unchanged.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that his 2006 opposition to ethanol subsidies is consistent with his current position supporting them.

Uh-huh.  The surest sign that a politician has flip-flopped is when he denies having done so.

Politico:

On a telephone town hall meeting sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots, the all-but-declared Republican presidential candidate insisted that, when he spoke out against ethanol mandates during his 2006 run for governor, he was specifically referring to state-level standards, not federal ones.

The weekend before last, at an industry-sponsored agriculture summit in Iowa, Walker said he opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard philosophically and would like to phase it out “long-term” but that he would keep it in place indefinitely to help out farmers.

Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin’s first question to Walker during the hour-long Monday call, which drew thousands of conservative activists, was, “What made you switch your position?”

“From our standpoint, our position is consistent,” Walker replied. “I talked about not wanting a mandate in Wisconsin as governor. We do not have one. I do not support one. I have not enacted it. I’ve kept it out of the state of Wisconsin. What I said in Iowa was … I think we need to phase it out, but I don’t approve of putting in new mandates.”

In fact, among other things, Walker ran radio ads back in 2006 that decried “mandates from the state or federal government.”

The governor explained Monday that he is now okay with continuing the federal mandates, which require a certain amount of corn-based ethanol to be mixed into gasoline, to guarantee that there is “market access,” so that “individual consumers can have the choice about whether they want to consume gasoline with or without ethanol.”

“That’s consistent with where I was at the state level nearly a decade ago,” he said. “You just can’t [phase them out] overnight, all at one time.”

I know I don't have to mention to our discerning and intelligent readership that Walker's flip flop on ethanol is directly related to the importance of the mandates to Iowa farmers.  No GOP politician who has opposed the energy mandates has ever won – or even done well – in Iowa.  And if you opposed the mandates in the past, you had better get on your knees and beg the forgiveness of Iowa corn growers, who get about a quarter of their income from the mandates being enforced.

Whether it's good policy to use food to power autos is apparently beside the point for Iowans.  But there is little doubt that the mandates disrupt the market and increase the cost of food for the rest of us.  Walker might have separated himself from the pack if he had opposed the mandates outright.  But that's not the game of the frontrunner, so in a Walker administration, the mandates will likely remain unchanged.