Sarah Palin may or may not be running for president, but she has already weighed in on a key issue for Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus-goers: Ethanol subsidies. She's against them. "I think that all of our energy subsidies need to be relooked at today and eliminated," Palin told RealClearPolitics. "We've got to allow the free market to dictate what's most efficient and economical for our nation's economy." Palin's call to end the subsidies, popular in Iowa because they boost the price of corn, echoes 2012 GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty's stance. Presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney backs the subsidies. Is Palin playing smart politics, or will this move haunt her?

Mama Grizzly is showing "courageous" leadership: Palin's "brash" stand against Iowa's pet agricultural boondoggle is bold and principled, says Erika Johnsen at Townhall. She and Pawlenty are "acting like conservatives instead of politicians," which will play well politically in other states, if not Iowa. "Green energy subsidies" need to end, and if Palin doesn't run, "I will vigorously support her nomination as Secretary of Energy."
"So brash: Sarah Palin calls for an end to energy subsidies"

This is bold — if she means it: Ending ethanol subsidies is "absolutely the right position to take for taxpayers," says Paul Owens in the Orlando Sentinel. But remember, "Palin actually went further," calling for an end to all energy subsidies, presumably including "the billions of dollars in tax subsidies for US. oil companies." That's the right stand for taxpayers, too. So bravo, Palin. Any bets on whether she walks this back?
"Bravo, Sarah Palin!"

The devil's in the details: "It will be interesting to see how Palin defines 'subsidies,'" says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. The oil "subsidies" are more like tax breaks, but could be bargained away for the right price. And if we could afford them, federal subsidies for emerging technologies that lead to cheaper, cleaner fuel would arguably be a good deal. But Palin is right about ethanol, Romney is wrong, and this fight just shows how much Palin will shape the race, whether she's in it or not.
"Palin: End all federal energy subsidies"