In politics, there is a cost to the truth, and politicians don’t like paying it. But right now this country needs to hear the truth, even if it’s unpleasant. Before we can deal with the realities we face, we need to talk honestly about them.
The members of the Republican Club of the Senate are united in their dedication to their incumbency. Favors are exchanged, logs rolled, and backs scratched, all to assure the members of the club get reelected. It’s the one thing they all agree on, passionately.
In February of 2014 the issue of the moment was the debt ceiling, and Obama’s demand that he get a “clean” bill increasing it. No Republican wanted to vote for this bill, politically. It was a complete surrender to Obama, a betrayal of Republican principle, and another great pile of debt placed on future generations. So the leaders of the Republican Club, who had agreed to this, asked all the members to vote for a “unanimous consent” resolution which would relieve them from having to cast a vote for it. This resolution was strictly procedural, so there was no way to tie the debt ceiling vote to it.
Cruz said no. If you want to give Obama a clean bill increasing the debt, you’ll have to vote for it. From that day forward, Ted Cruz had no friends in the Club. He was expelled, informally. He had broken a cardinal rule. He had forced them to tell the truth.
To win Iowa, Cruz needs to be honest with the voters there, just as he was honest in the Senate. And the truth is that five years from now, when he proposes eliminating the Renewable Fuel Standard, ethanol may or may not prove to be a viable alternative fuel. And if it can’t meet the test of the market place, it will have to find another way to survive. And if the industry were to fade five years from now it would have a substantially negative impact on a large part of Iowa’s economy. That’s the cold hard truth.
But here’s the other side of the truth. The Renewable Fuel Standard is crony capitalism. It’s the government picking economic winners and losers. It’s taxing the whole country to subsidize a narrow sector of the economy. It represents the kind of wasteful spending that’s driving us toward bankruptcy. If you’re going to run for President on a pledge of cutting the federal government down to size, and you don’t oppose the RFS, you’re a hypocrite.
And that’s what Cruz is running on: cutting the federal government down to size, eliminating entire departments and agencies, including the IRS. How can he campaign on that platform and not oppose RFS? He can’t.
And Ted Cruz won’t. Because he’s telling the truth. And the truth is the American people are crying out for the federal government to be brought under control. Some surveys have it as the biggest problem facing the country. And the people of Iowa feel the same way about the federal government as the rest of the country does. The question for them is, which is more important? Are they ready to accept the federal government as is, as long as they get their ethanol subsidy? Or will they put that industry at risk, in order to save their country?
A lot rides on the answer to that question.