I had to do a lot of driving yesterday, so I tuned into talk radio. Mark Levin apparently just realized that Cruz is virtually alone in condemning the ethanol subsidy, or Renewable Fuel Standard. I gather Levin has been even handed in his treatment of Cruz and Trump, but not so yesterday. He realizes that ethanol is a perfect example of crony capitalism, and that Trump is acting out of pure political expediency. Levin is the brightest of all these conservative hosts, and I expect most of the others will follow his lead. If talk radio turns on Trump, it’s a very big deal.
One of Levin’s callers from Iowa downplayed the significance of the Palin endorsement. A lot of Tea Party voters are still upset with her for endorsing Branstad for Governor in 2010. The caller said Iowa Tea Partiers refer to him as Governor Braindead, and the fact that he used the Palin endorsement to turn back Tea Party and evangelical candidate Bob Vander Plaats has not been forgotten. Vander Plaats, of course, is the political leader most identified with Iowa evangelical conservatism, and one of Cruz’s most prominent supporters.
I read and see ethanol now being discussed in detail, all over the place, all of which benefits Cruz. He’s bringing it up in town halls in New Hampshire, laying the groundwork for the schwerpunkt. I saw Steve Hayward on Special Report say that he’s talked to knowledgeable people in Iowa who tell him that Cruz will actually be helped by the criticism he’s receiving from Gov. Branstad. I can believe it. Even if you’re in Iowa, you know damn well this ethanol mandate is a special interest payoff. I’ve actually talked to some people from Iowa, and they seemed pretty sheepish about the whole thing.
Cruz is under the gun in Iowa. He’s an existential threat to Big Corn, and they’ll do everything they can to stop him. These guys are intelligent, experienced and well funded. They’re locals, always a huge edge. Since big money is involved, we can’t rule out the possibility of some kind of foul play.
The media can’t resist a good story, so they’ll eventually get over their distaste for Cruz and start covering this one. It’s an easy story to tell. And it’s compelling. Because if Trump can win in Iowa, of all places, where can’t he win? And if he loses, after announcing today that Iowa is a must win, his whole candidacy will begin to implode. And people are going to start to realize the same thing about Cruz. If he can take out Big Corn in Iowa, something no one else has had the courage to do in 30 years, he can ride that momentum to a win, or something close, in New Hampshire. And if he wins New Hampshire, where can’t he win?
Doug Truax is conservatism’s brightest light in Illinois, and a man to keep an eye on. He’s formed Restoration PAC in order to run attack ads against Hillary. The first one is on Benghazi. There will be many such PACs formed this cycle. They can be decisive, as seen with Swift Boat Vets. If you get an itch to make a campaign donation, if you really want your money’s worth, send it to Truax or some other independent PAC. Any campaign veteran will tell you: there are some things a candidate, and his campaign, can’t do that these PACs can. They get the bang for your buck.
I was going to say a few words about David Brooks, in today’s NYT, calling for the formation of an army of Republican moderates, but I guess not. He’s probably a nice guy, with a nice family, and why make fun of the poor guy.
Back in the early 90’s, when Palin was getting started in politics on the Wasilla City Council, I was writing a conservative political column in the Anchorage Daily News. If you were a Republican politician in south central Alaska, you read it, as I’m sure Sarah did. I also was hosting a conservative radio talk show on KENI from three to five in the afternoon. As Sarah was driving around, taking her kids to hockey practice, I was on the air, the first real conservative talk show host in Anchorage. I’m sure she tuned in.
So I tried to cash in by asking her to make a couple phone calls to Montana legislators last year. No dice. Now she’s endorsed Trump.
We’ll see how this all works out.