Rudy’s Blown Opportunity on Farm Subsidies

The Club for Growth and Rob Bluey take Giuliani and Romney to task for failing to come out against farm subsidies, and rightly so. Both candidates attempt to portray themselves as fiscal conservatives who believe in free markets, but last night they advocated continuing government supports for an industry because we need to protect the American food supply. Since when does manipulating the economy with federal tax dollars produce more abundance than allowing the free market to function on its own?

With that said, Romney's response was at least consistent with what we know about him, and has an electoral logic to it. He has a history of saying whatever is most politically convenient at the time, and winning Iowa is a central part of his strategy.

For Giuliani, however, it doesn't add up. One of his greatest appeals is that he is a blunt, no-nonsense guy who has the guts to say and do what others don't. When it was suggested that New York City raise taxes after 9/11, Giuliani responded that it would be "a dumb, stupid, idiotic and moronic thing to do." Had he said the same thing about farm subsidies last night, he would have become an instant hero among fiscal conservatives. But aside from that, it would have made political sense. Unlike Romney, winning Iowa is not central to Giuliani's strategy, so he doesn't need to pander for votes there. Much more important for him is winning New Hampshire. Had he come out firmly against farm subsidies last night, he would have had a great issue to use against Romney in the more libertarian Granite State.

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