April 19, 2016

So the eager suitor shows up to collect your daughter for a date.

He’s earnest and honest about his intentions. The young man (let’s call him Taylor) is clear about his evening’s plans. Astonishingly, Taylor even tells you his designs for a night of drinking and intercourse with your daughter. Yep, that’s what’s going down Big Daddy.

You are, of course, horrified, and want nothing to do with this Taylor scoundrel. But before you can go shotgun-on-the-front porch on the young man, go “Real Life of Murderous Dads” or trot out that ax-swinging scene from “Uncle Buck,” Taylor’s friend, your trusted neighbor, approaches and enters the conversation.

“Don’t worry, sir,” says the neighbor. “I’ll be going out with Taylor and your daughter, too. When it comes time for the drinking and the sex tonight, I’ll talk Taylor out of it. So trust me with the most important thing in your life, your beautiful, innocent daughter. I won’t let Taylor do what he says he going to do.”

If you were the dad, would you send your daughter on that date?

Of course not. But many Iowa Republicans aren’t using such precautionary logic when it comes to Ted Cruz. They’ve asked us to drink the Kool-Aid on ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Many of us have, and see the Iowa commodity-boosting mandate as central to rural Iowa’s economy.

So how can these same rural Republicans, these alleged advocates of the farm, support Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas who captured the Iowa caucuses despite his pledges to rip apart the RFS?

Iowa delegates to the national GOP convention are flocking to Cruz like crack addicts hearing the flame hit the spoon.

U.S. Rep. Steve King, perhaps Cruz’s most high-profile Iowa backer, says — like Taylor’s friend in our little lesson above — that you can trust him to talk oily Ted out of killing the Renewable Fuel Standard.

We asked Sen. Charles Grassley what he thought of King supporting a man who wants to crash-test dummy the renewable standard the senior senator played a crucial role in constructing.

“I think that I’ve already heard King say that if there is an attempt to repeal the RFS, he’s going to fight it, just like I’m going to fight it,” Grassley said in an interview.

During a recent Grassley visit, leaders at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll pivoted from health care to the region’s leading industry, agriculture, in asking Grassley about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS is set to expire in 2022.

“I think we’re in a sound position until the year 2022,” Grassley said.

He added, “Even with a Cruz presidency, I think we would be OK.”

Grassley said congressional support remains strong for the standard.

Cruz has a clever slogan — “TrusTed.” Here in rural Iowa, many Republicans are trusting King to make sure that Cruz, who on June 20, 2013 sponsored a bill literally called an act “to repeal the renewable fuel standard,” doesn’t follow through on his intentions where this is concerned.

You need a lot of sugar to get that Kool-Aid down the pipe.


Cruz wins the Republican presidential nomination on the second ballot at the GOP convention in Cleveland and selects Carly Fiorina as his running mate. She’s affirms his outsider approach, and is best positioned to attack Hillary Clinton.

What’s more, from my reporting, Fiorina was a second or third choice for many Republican voters, and she’s a gamer on the debate stage.

Cruz should consider Joni Ernst, too, to deal with that Midwest rural issue, and bring a military veteran with some hands-on foreign-affairs knowledge, onto the ticket.

My prediction for the Democratic ticket: Hillary Clinton with Elizabeth Warren as her running mate.