by Conor Friedersdorf

After Newt Gingrich said we shouldn't allow a mosque to be built in lower Manhattan until Saudi Arabia permits a church in mecca, I thought my opinion of the former Speaker of the House couldn't get any lower, but I was wrong:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich today dismissed the “big city” critics of corn-based ethanol and suggested the biofuels industry will be able to “stand on its own” without federal subsidies once all autos are “flexible-fuel” vehicles... “If they’re prepared to insist on a flex-fuel vehicle and every car in America’s capable of buying ethanol, I think the industry can stand on its own,” Gingrich said.

Similarly, if there were a rule that everyone had to travel by train whenever possible Amtrak would be able to "stand on its own" without federal subsidies. And if only Israeli-made rickshaws pulled by mortgage-owning tobacco farmers were permitted on America's highways...

Gingrich attacked critics of ethanol, saying a recent Wall Street Journal editorial on the subject was “flat out wrong.” 

“I don’t mind people having an honest argument about ideology, but they ought to at least use facts that are accurate,” Gingrich said. “…This is an interest group fight in which a number of very sophisticated, big interest groups have set up a myth and are busy actively propagating the myth, but the truth is it hurts the farmer.  It hurts rural America and it’s fundamentally unfair to America’s future.”

It's so blatant a lie, so opposite to the truth, that it's insulting.

Gingrich has indicated he will announce by March 1st if he intends to seek the G.O.P.’s 2012 presidential nomination.

Gee, I wonder if he'll get into the race or focus on his totally genuine passion for ethanol subsidies and the interests of Iowa farmers instead.

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