In a clear sign of momentum against ethanol subsidies, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators has signed onto a letter urging Senate leaders to let the subsidies expire during this Congress, a move that could put many officials in a tricky political spot and could even have ramifications for the 2012 presidential race.It may hurt Democrats more if this happens, although it will certainly force Republican presidential candidates to put up or shut up in important agricultural states like, say, Iowa. But the main issue here is how useless corn-fed fuel really is, as even the High Priest of Climate Change has admitted.
The letter, which I obtained from a source, was authored by senators Dianne Feinstein and Jon Kyl, and includes a number of Democrats and Republicans, including John McCain, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, and Mike Enzi. This is key, because the question of whether the subsidies should expire is emerging as a key test -- just like earmarks -- of whether Republicans are serious about reining in spending and the deficit.
While this issue could divide Dems along regional lines, it's more directly revelant to the GOP. With leading GOP senators now coming out for letting the subsidies expire, this could up the pressure on Republican senators who backed the subsidies in the past, such as Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, putting them on the wrong side of what may emerge as a key litmus test for the Tea Party and potentially dividing the GOP caucus.
But don't tell liberal environmentalists. Remember, Mother Earth is more important to them than her children, anyway.