Of course, to hear Branstad say it, what he actually said was that he hopes Ted Cruz loses. The problem with Branstad’s jeremiad against Cruz is that Brandstad is everything that is wrong with both the Republican Party and the political class in the country as a whole. The fecklessness and self-dealing of Terry Branstad would put any fat cat Republican Senator in the caucus to shame.
It’s the shameless behavior of people like Branstad who have given rise to the Trump/Cruz phenomenon in the first place. Basically, at the end of the day, Republican voters have shown that they want exactly the opposite of whatever people like Terry Branstad stands for. So when Branstad says he wants Cruz to lose, well. I don’t know how that will translate in Iowa, but I know that across the country, this is taken by most Republican voters as a de facto endorsement of the Cruz candidacy.
Branstad’s galling crony capitalism – highlighted by the fact that his son is a prominent ethanol lobbyist and that he himself is virtually guaranteed a profitable sinecure with an ethanol lobbying firm upon his eventual retirement – has already been remarked upon frequently. Branstad himself declared before the primary season began, in refreshingly open language, that he would oppose any Republican candidate who opposed the renewable fuel standard because if one of them won, that might shut off the flow of federal pork to Iowa:
“I think it is a significant issue,” Mr. Branstad told The Washington Times. “If you are for closing that industry down and don’t want to give them access [to the market], I think that could be a very difficult thing to explain to the people who live in the state and really believe in renewable fuels.”
Asked whether the issue could make or break a campaign, Mr. Branstad answered, “Yes.”
In addition to being a crony capitalist, Branstad is also an incorrigible tax hiker. He has raised the gasoline tax in Iowa multiple times, He has also been a repeat booster of higher sales taxes. Why has he pushed for these taxes? Well, among other reasons, Branstad has overseen the bloating of the Iowa state budget, especially in recent years.
Bloating the budget, using his influence to push for policies that benefit himself and his wealthy and well connected friends and family members, and raising taxes that disproportionately affect lower-income people to do it: these are the things that Terry Branstad stands for. The fact that he wants Ted Cruz to lose is a plus, not a minus.
But hey, no one tell Donald Trump. He and Branstad are birds of a feather, if Trump’s record in private industry is any indicator:
Wow, the highly respected Governor of Iowa just stated that “Ted Cruz must be defeated.” Big shoker! People do not like Ted.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2016