If you’re going to take Iowa, take Iowa

There will be no schwerpunkt in New Hampshire unless Cruz wins Iowa. And if Cruz can’t win Iowa, there will be no excuses.   He’s all in, and it’s paying off.  His three fellow evangelicals  — Carson, Huckabee and Santorum*  — are going nowhere, Trump’s a turn off, and Rubio won’t put in the time.  The rest are an afterthought.  Cruz doesn’t just want a win, he wants a blowout.  He’s on his way.

The WSJ had a piece yesterday on Cruz and ethanol.  I’m sure there are more to come.  This is a good story line for Iowa, because the horse race seems to be shaping up as Ted Cruz vs. Big Corn, not Cruz v. Trump, or Carson or Rubio.  Every other Republican, save Rand Paul, kissed the ring of Big Corn, and gets a pass.  This is the story line that preps the New Hampshire battle space for the schwerpunkt.  America’s Renewable Future has 22 staffers devoted to taking Cruz down.    As reporter Reid J. Epstein points out, for the ethanol industry, the threat of Ted Cruz is existential.  They’re spending millions.  This is the Battle of Iowa.

There was some ill informed chatter on the internet about Cruz caving on ethanol because he favors a five year phase out.  Please.  He’s being reasonable.  He can’t be anti-ethanol.  He’s in Iowa.  He’s got to stick with his line about not having the government pick winners and losers.  A lot of people have invested a ton of money in ethanol, under the understandable impression that it represented public policy, as expressed by Congress.  Giving them five years to try to recoup their investment is fair.  In fact, there will need to be a lot of phasing out and grandfathering in as we start eliminating more federal programs.  It may not be intellectually satisfying, but it’s political reality.

Debate hosts Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo are not dummies.  They know a few things about economics.  And they are both fully aware that ethanol is one of the great boondoggles of our time.  The problem is, Murdoch and Fox are for Rubio, and asking a question at the debate about ethanol would make Cruz look good.  We’ll see how their journalistic integrity squares with their employer’s political preferences.

The BBA Task Force is doing what we can to encourage a debate question about Article V and the BBA.  Rubio’s out today with a USA Today piece supporting the Convention of States.  Kasich should be coming out with something on the BBA.  This represents a conflict.  There are two prominent Article V organizations and campaigns  — the Convention of States and the BBA.  Rubio supports CoS, Kasich supports BBA.  This confuses people, who have a hard enough time wrapping their head around the existence of something like Article V.  Because the difference between the two approaches requires some explanation, the moderators may shy away from it.

Kasich shouldn’t.  He needs to make something happen.  Talking about Ohio doesn’t cut it.  He needs to try to explain why he supports the BBA, rather than CoS.  The BBA is massively popular on a bipartisan basis, is simple to understand, and is only seven states shy of the 34 needed.  CoS is confusing, much more controversial, and is 30 states shy of 34.

We don’t want to attack Rubio for coming out for our competitor’s proposal.  I, personally, support CoS, and as a private citizen have testified in favor of it.  It’s just first things first.  Do the easy one  — the Balanced Budget Amendment  — and then move on to the next one.

Ted  Cruz is famous for his prodigious knowledge of the Constitution, so he knows all about Article V from a legal perspective.  I’m not at all sure he’s spent the time to appreciate the political implications and possibilities of Article V, especially in the current context.

Cruz has a chance to be a great President.  If, during his tenure, fundamental Constitutional reforms were achieved through Article V, they could be the crowning glory of his administration.

As a constitutionalist, Cruz is a federalist.

Article V is federalism.


*Technically a Catholic, but an evangelic one.

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