It's Ethanol, Stupid

The RNC's out with a new web video claiming that Barack Obama is a hypocrite for supporting a gas tax pause while in the Illinois legislature and opposing one now. Well, he changed his mind after concluding that the pause wasn't helpful and might have even been harmful. For some reason, the RNC does not defend John McCain's embrace of the tax suspension, which virtually every breathing expert calls a gimmick.

BUT WHAT ABOUT Big Hog? McCain has said little about his opposition to the roughly $7 billion the Congress doles out in ethanol subsidies; Obama and Clinton, running in Iowa, supported them (though Clinton in 2005 voted against a critical expansion of the program) despite evidence that the net environmental effect of ethanol production and consumption is neutral at best. The role of ethanol in triggering the world's food crisis is surely overstated, but subsidies contribute to the perception of scarcity that's helping to drive prices so high.