Thursday, January 07, 2016

One Cheer for Ted Cruz

Up to now, I have been skeptical about Ted Cruz. Yes, he is smart and articulate, and he is a graduate of two of my favorite universities. But politics is a team sport, and based on his time as a member of the Senate, Cruz does not seem much like a team player.  If he were ever to become president, he would need to become a team leader, not just an effective promoter of his own personal brand. He has a long way to go to convince voters like me that he is up to the job.

But let's put that concern aside.  I was much impressed by this article in today's Wall Street Journal, with the headline Ethanol Backers Mobilize Against Ted Cruz in Iowa Republican Race: Republican senator is first leading presidential candidate to oppose federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

The issue at hand is the mandate for the use of ethanol, which in Iowa is as sacrosanct as motherhood and apple pie.  Based on what I know about the issue, the case boils down to good policy versus good politics.  My understanding is that corn-based ethanol is not cost effective (as opposed to ethanol based on cane sugar as used in some other nations).  But if you are trying to win votes from corn producers in Iowa, corn-based ethanol is excellent politics.

It seems that Cruz is taking a bold stand opting for good policy here. Count me as impressed.