As we promised this morning, we’ve compiled a list of the Republican presidential candidates’ policies on food issues. Interestingly, far less of the Republican candidates give any information on these issues than do the Democrats. While an interest in food policy might seem to be traditionally liberal (after all, no one is calling Michael Pollan or Eric Schlosser conservative), the fact is that food issues and agricultural policy are inextricably linked and rural areas are a huge part of the Republican base. Without any further ado, let’s see what the candidates have to say.
•Here’s what we find most interesting about Mike Huckabee: despite the fact that he recently won the Iowa caucus, there are shockingly few headlines reading “America hearts Huckabees.” Also, his slogan is “Faith. Family. Freedom.” which is sort of mindboggling in its focus. Anyways, like fellow Iowa winner Obama, Huckabee groups his policies on food with those on agriculture. Unlike Obama and Edwards, Huckabee favors farm subsidies: “We take for granted that our food is not only plentiful and diverse, but also inexpensive. As a percentage of income, we spend about half what people in other developed countries do, which gives us an enormous economic advantage. We have so much more money to spend on discretionary items. Part of the reason prices are low is that subsidies keep production at high levels, so keeping American farmers in business is not just good for them but for all of us.” There is a lot that’s wrong with that statement, including but not limited to the fact that, as we’ve discussed plenty of times before, subsidies really only keep processed foods inexpensive, something we’re surprised that Huckabee, who famously lost over a hundred pounds, wouldn’t know. It is safe to say that Huckabee would probably strongly support a version of the Farm Bill similar to the status quo. We don’t heart Huckabees.
•Rudy Giuliani apparently has nothing to say about food policy, agriculture, or the environment. We’re sure that will play very well in Middle America.
•John McCain makes no mention of food or agriculture, but in a statement on the environment, he writes “John McCain believes that America’s economic and environmental interests are not mutually exclusive, but rather inextricably linked.” We suspect this means he would favor subsidies.
•Ron Paul is totally the Howard Dean of 2008. College kids and the Internet love him, but he will never actually win anything. Also, he’s a doctor! Unlike Dean, however, Paul will probably not become the chair of his party when the elections are over. Paul’s website doesn’t include any information about his positions on food, agriculture, or the environment, but he does strongly oppose waitstaff having to pay taxes on their tips because “when you give someone a tip, you should not have to simultaneously tip the federal government.” That crazy libertarian should probably be the official candidate of those in the service industry.
•Like Giuliani, Mitt Romney apparently has no thoughts or feelings on anything related to food.
•The “Issues” section of Fred Thompson’s website is really weak. We’re betting he’s out of the race by week’s end, so we may never know what he thinks of food policy, other than approving of the craft services truck on Law & Order.