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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Here Comes Ted Cruz

The Iowa Caucuses are like honey to flies for politicians. If you have even a small Napoleon Complex and think you could be the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth then Iowa is your venue every four years for the caucuses.

You will soon be tired of seeing "Here Comes" but unfortunately you are reading a blog on the Iowa Caucuses and we are "only" three years from a Presidential election so every Republican with a pulse is coming to Iowa, and frequently!

This week Texas Senator and "Tea Party Darling" (that was what one good political reporter calls him) Ted Cruz was in the state. As usual he was the guest of the guest of the network of Christian Educators and homeschooler's.  He then went to Mason City for a fund raiser with "Tea Party darling Iowa Congressman Steve King.

Cruz is trying to cement his credentials as a social conservative and as "the" religious candidate of the GOP. His main theme was the persecution of religion and imposition of unconstitutional mandates on schools by the federal government.

Iowa is the state of corn and ethanol, alcohol made from corn and blended with gasoline by federal law. Cruz is an opponent of ethanol blending which is no surprise since he comes from Texas where oil and gas are king.

On his March visit he got push back from a group calling itself "The Voice of American's 21st Century Patriots." It featured a picture of a soldier on his stomach aiming a rifle at a distant, Afghan-looking landscape. The ad admonished Cruz for opposing " ... the renewable fuels industry which supports 62,000 jobs and provides $4 billion in income for Iowa families."

The full page ad asked "Senator Cruz, as military veterans. we have one question for you. Do you want to import more oil from dangerous parts of the world, or produce more clean, homegrown American Biofuels?

The ad ends "A new job for you [ President of the United States?] shouldn't come at the expense of 62,000 Iowa jobs."

VoteVets Mission Statement states,
"Founded in 2006,  and backed by over 360,000 supporters, the mission of is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives. is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world – with force when necessary – to protect America."
The ad also has a banner line at the bottom from "" with RFS being the Renewable Fuels Standard which is the mandate that requires ethanol to be blended with gasoline. There is also a .com version with a different theme (no military veterans on this page) 

If I am Ted Cruz I'm not very happy to have bumped into this hornets nest. These are heavy hitters. When you come to Iowa campaigning it doesn't matter how much Congressman King takes you pheasant hunting (that was last time) you are staring at a formidable coalition of farmers, ethanol plant investors, clean fuel consumers, and jobs. And in Iowa you don't mess with veterans either!

Even if this whole initiative may actually be launched by liberals, which is hard to tell since it is well packaged in a very patriotic theme.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Iowa Caucuses - Here comes Rick Perry

Rick Perry has been in Iowa again. The Texas governor was here last week to help Republican candidates, including Gov. Terry Branstad, who is trying to get re-elected for a sixth term.

Sure he is, because Branstad is in such a tight race with his Democratic opponent that he needs Rick Perry to help pull him over the top. Anyone who believes that has the intelligence of a fence post.

What amazes me is that Iowa Republicans are putting up with Perry and publicly fawning over him. That’s just wrong.

Rick Perry is a Texas “Big Oil” pusher. He is in bed with the Texas oil and gas industry. This energy sector is the greatest threat there is to Iowa’s ethanol, biofuels and wind power industries.

That also means that Perry is the single biggest threat to Iowa corn and soybean prices because these are the inputs for ethanol, biodiesel and wind turbine companies located in the state as well as a threat to the energy companies investing in wind farms, and a threat to the future of farmers leasing land to wind farms.

“Why is that so?” you ask.

Because Perry’s oil and gas industry is the big money behind efforts to eliminate tax breaks and other crucial federal policies that have made wind, ethanol and biofuels profitable.

Take the Renewable Fuel Standard. Perry said, “I also think that there’s a time that these incentives mature and that they can go away.”

Remember that. The Texas governor, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has long been a critic of the federal mandate, which requires that a certain amount of renewables be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

Really, governor? How about the massive federal tax breaks the oil and gas industry enjoys? When, Governor, can those “go away”? I’ll bet my farm that you would never say that in Texas.

It is hard to believe that Perry has been received so politely and even enthusiastically by Iowa Republicans. By giving him the run of Branstad’s campaign, the message seems to be that Perry is received with open arms by Iowa Republicans.

Can you imagine a presidential candidate who advocates an end to subsidies to the oil and gas industry being cordially received in Houston? I can’t.

In past years, presidential candidates who trashed ethanol were at least challenged when they came to Iowa. And some, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, lost Iowa in the November elections in part because of their position against Iowa’s treasures of corn, soybeans and wind power.

In case you don’t understand, an end to the blended fuel mandate and tax breaks for wind power would be “devastating to Iowa’s economy,” as Gov. Branstad himself has said.

Maybe Iowa Republicans will tell Perry how they feel about his position on support for corn, wind, ethanol and biodiesel when he appears on stage with the other 2016 GOP contenders, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Newt Gingrich, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Kelly Ayotte, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum.

We had better send the message out loud and clear and now not later that for economic reasons, for sustainability, green energy, for jobs, and for the cleaner fuels of the future, in Iowa we will not support any candidate for national office who is not 100 percent behind our biorenewable and wind-powered energy initiatives.

From my Des Moines Register column March 3, 2014