Ethanol subsidies are a bipartisan vice – Al Gore recently admitted that his votes on the subject were politically motivated – and Katrina Trinko looks at how supposedly small government Republicans succumb:

If you’re pro-free markets, you’re against the government punishing or rewarding any particular businesses or industries -- a crucial distinction that some possible 2012 GOP contenders have overlooked. In my piece today, I look at how Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Pence, and John Thune have all (although Pence to a lesser extent) doled out subsidies, tax credits, and other government goodies to the ethanol industry.  With Iowa as the first primary state, there’s no doubt plenty of temptation for Republican politicians to be against all special interests except ethanol.  But if politicians want to have credibility when railing against government subsidies and bailouts, they need to ditch the ethanol favoritism.

One wonders how American politics would change if the first primary state were selected in presidential election years by lottery.