Friday, December 16, 2005


The 'we’re big & we’re bad' guys are at it again. Iowans for Tax Relief released a letter they sent to potential GOP presidential candidates threatening action if a candidate supports a tax increase on oil and gas windfall profits. What is the consequence for presidential types that don’t tow the Iowans for Tax Relief (ITR) line? The 'we're big & we're bad' guys will educate and organize their supporters.

Quotes from the ITR letter, as reported by the AP in the Mason City Globe-Gazette.

… "As you consider a candidacy for president in 2008, we ask that you carefully consider these issues when constructing your economic and energy policies," said the letter, signed by leaders of the Muscatine-based Iowans for Tax Relief. "This is a fundamental issue for Republican candidates: free markets should be allowed to determine prices based on supply and demand." …

"We will continue to keep Iowa taxpayers informed of your positions on important issues that impact them, including windfall profits tax," the letter warned. …

… "There has also been talk of increased taxation on domestic oil companies," the letter warns. "This would weaken our position in the global market, which ultimately dictates our energy health." …

… "Instead, decision-makers ought to focus on building and maintaining a diverse range of energy supply to help insulate us from short-term spikes in energy stock and prices," the letter said. …

This sort of political intimidation has been around the Iowa Statehouse for years. These guys are always fielding conservative GOP candidates to run against the moderates that don’t play the ITR game. Now it seems they’re taking the game to the next level, harassing national candidates with the threat of herding their ITR sheeple to caucus action.

I can’t imagine the campaigns of guys like Mitt Romney, George Pataki or Chuck Hagel giving more than a passing smirk to this political sideshow. The national campaigns know that Iowa GOP activists are sophisticated when it comes to presidential politics and don’t necessarily follow interest group pablum in selecting their candidate.

However, it does makes you wonder if the ITR guys are spending political capital in exchange for a little hard cash from the oil & gas lobby.

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