The Top Two (Other) Biggest Losers After Iowa

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The two other biggest losers as a result of Ted Cruz’s Iowa victory:

1. Terry Branstad And His Crony Capitalist Buddies

Branstad launched an “anyone but Cruz” movement in Iowa, proving it’s Cruz, not Donald Trump, who really scares the GOP’s crony capitalists.

Gov. Branstad’s lobbyist son Eric leads a group of donors pouring a big chunk of money into ads attacking Cruz on ethanol in Iowa. Cruz correctly identified this Branstad dynamic as the way crony capitalism operates in Washington as well as Des Moines, as National Review reported:

Appearing on Meet the Press, Cruz said Branstad’s “son is a lobbyist who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying ethanol.”

“His family makes a ton of money” from federal subsidies on ethanol, Cruz continued. “The lobbyists very much want to keep Iowa focused on the ethanol mandate because it keeps Iowa dependent on Washington — means every year they’ve got to go back to Washington and maintain the mandate, the lobbyists get paid, the politicians get paid.”

“I’m going to eliminate all the subsidies, no subsidies for oil and gas, no subsidies for anybody,” Cruz said. ”But the other piece that is very important and that’s resonating is I’m going to also tear down the EPA’s ethanol blend wall, which means make it legal to sell mid-level blends of ethanol and that in turn can expand ethanol share of the marketplace by 60 percent but not based on mandates or subsidies based on the free market.

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Cruz in the Crosshairs

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

With just days left before the first votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, the GOP establishment clearly has got Senator Ted Cruz in its crosshairs. We told you last week about Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s smear of Ted Cruz. He wants Cruz defeated in Iowa and doesn’t seem to care who beats him.

Now former President Bob Dole has weighed in. Oh, that’s right — Dole ran such a weak campaign he never got to be president, giving us the curse of Monica Lewinsky!

I guess Dole is trying to curse us again with another Clinton in the White House. He told the New York Times that a Cruz nomination would be “cataclysmic” for the Republican Party. The establishment said the same thing about Ronald Reagan too.

I admire Bob Dole for his service in World War II. He is a very pleasant man, too pleasant to run the kind of campaign that we needed to win in 1996. In short, he is the kind of Republican liberals love — the kind that fights conservatives more vigorously than Democrats, and loses general elections graciously.

Folks used to say that endorsements mattered. I’m beginning to think that “unendorsements” may matter more. Branstad and Dole are making it clear that the GOP establishment prefers anybody but Ted Cruz, and that speaks volumes.

Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. Continue Reading

Why Did Palin Snub Cruz?

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump on Tuesday in Iowa, leaving a lot of conservative leaders scratching their heads. The race in Iowa is neck-and-neck, and many grassroots conservatives are trying to decide between Trump and Ted Cruz.

Both Palin and Cruz are closely identified with the Tea Party movement. Palin has a long relationship with Cruz, who is much closer to her on values issues than Trump. Nevertheless, Cruz was magnanimous about the endorsement, saying that he and Palin will always be great friends.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad also weighed in yesterday with an outrageous “Anybody but Cruz” endorsement. The governor, citing the senator’s support from the oil and natural gas industry, said that he wanted to see Cruz defeated in Iowa.

Well, of course, Ted Cruz has support from oil and natural gas companies. He’s from Texas! He has a conservative energy policy. I think Branstad’s action has nothing to do with energy companies and everything to do the party establishment trying to stop a movement conservative.

The race is extremely close in Iowa, and it remains to be seen whether these developments will swing voters one way or the other.

One place where the race no longer seems close is the Democrat primary in New Hampshire. A WMUR/CNN released late yesterday finds Bernie Sanders surging to a whopping 27-point lead over Hillary Clinton. The race has swung 17 points in the past month, giving Sanders a 60 percent to 33 percent lead. Continue Reading