Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Thursday defended his support of a federal fuel mandate that has strengthened Iowa’s corn market, saying it is the conservative position to stand up for the farmers that have invested in the system.
Mr. Huckabee, speaking from the Des Moines Register’s political “soapbox” at the Iowa State Fair, said when asked during a question-and-answer session whether he would support ethanol and renewable fuels that “the answer is yes.”
“Some people say, ‘Well that is not a very conservative position.’ Folks, let me tell you what’s not conservative position. A conservative position says that if the government tells people to do something and spend millions and millions of dollars and infrastructure to follow a new government mandate, and they do it, and then the same government comes back and pulls the rug out from under them and says, ‘Well, we are not going to do that anymore,’” he said. “You’ve just messed up a whole lot of people who made the investment because they trusted their government.”
The Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, has required corn-based ethanol to be blended into almost every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S.
The issue has divided the GOP field. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been one of the most vocal opponents of the mandate, saying Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.
Mr. Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucus, is running seventh on national polls and eighth in Iowa. He is the first of 18 presidential candidates scheduled to speak at the Iowa State Fair, where candidates get the chance to mingle with potential supporters and are known to indulge in a corn dog, pork chop on a stick, or some sort of fried food, be it an Oreo cookie or butter.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is not slated to speak.