According to a recent AP article, McCain opposes agricultural subsidies. Specifically McCain stated that he does not “support agricultural subsidies no matter where they are.” He further says that the “$300 billion, bloated, pork barrel laden [farm] bill” passed by congress this summer “is something America simply can’t afford.” Grassley Watch could not agree more.
Senator Grassley responded to McCain’s coments by sayign that he “would not advise [McCain] to take that position.” Grassley suggests that McCain may be risking his election by alienating the upper Midwest by opposing farm and ethanol programs. Is this true? I am no election specialist, but I think this is an overstatement. While McCain may alienate some Midwestern voters, there are many that do not support the current farm bill and are sceptical of ethanol. Grassley may be overestimating the support for the bill, even in his own state.
McCain has been know to stand up for what he believes, even when it is unpopular. This has gotten McCain into trouble with conservatives at times, but has gained him respect from all. This is a case where McCain is taking a stand. Grassley would be wise to look to McCain for an example of sticking to one’s convictions.
Since Grassley made his comments, the Republican party approved its 2008 platform which opposes ethanol subsidies in favor of free markets. The platform does not go so far as to support the elimination of farm subsidies, but it does support free markets and free trade which would require at minimum a reduction in these subsidies. With this said, the President has little control over farm policy with the current makeup of congress as President Bush learned twice this year. So Grassley can relax a little, even if McCain does win the White House, there is not likely to be much change.
Originally posted 09/10/2008 on Grassley Watch