Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and his son Eric have decided to go after Senator Ted Cruz, the front runner for the Iowa Republican Caucus, because he doesn’t support extending the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) ethanol subsidy, which is their favorite government welfare program, past 2022. For years, not supporting ethanol has been described as a third rail for politicans campaigning in Iowa. In 2007, John Stossel even wrote an article about it called “Sacrificing Our Children to the Corn God.”
Last January, Governor Branstad helped launch America’s Renewable Future which is led by his son Eric, who some have, justly or unjustly, basically called the original affluenza teen due to his perceived benefit of having his dad as Governor. The American Renewable Future has one candidate they attack and that is Ted Cruz. They have spent a lot of money on fliers, radio ads, and online ads attacking the Texas Senator on the issue. In fact, after attacking Cruz over ethanol, Governor Branstad started making “birther” claims to the media in an obvious attempt to try and hurt the Canadian born Cruz in the Iowa Caucus.
Please understand that I am not a fan or supporter of Senator Cruz. I believe he is a panderer, a flip-flopper, and a supporter of a very dangerous foreign policy that makes us far less safe. I wouldn’t support him in the caucus and I wouldn’t support him as the nominee. Your opinions may differ. That being said, this article isn’t about the record of the Texas Senator. This article isn’t about the economics of ethanol. This article is about the Governor of Iowa that has for decades used his power, the ethanol lobby, and political threats to get what he wants.
With Cruz winning the Iowa Caucus, the reduction of oil prices, and the longest serving Governor in United States history having lower approval numbers than President Obama does in Iowa, there is finally a threat to the long-time Branstad political machine and the Governor knows it. The vociferous attacks on Cruz are just a sign of the panic mode they are in.
While I have said before that I wouldn’t support Cruz for the nomination, I would almost consider doing so if it sent the message to the Governor that his bullying tactics, threats, and half-truths would no longer be tolerated by the voters of Iowa. I do hope that this is the breaking point that allows us to have serious discussions on ethanol, industrial hemp, and the death of our small Iowa communities. As soon as we can have rational discussions without Branstad’s fear of punishment from Branstad’s Corn God, we can start to address the issues that we face but have long ignored for fear of stepping on Iowa’s third political rail.
Photo Credit: By Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons