In the subscription only Wall Street Journal Political Diary John Fund writes the following about efforts to exclude Ron Paul from the June 30 Iowa Forum being hosted by Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance:
There was a brief effort to exclude Texas Congressman Ron Paul from future GOP debates after he used a South Carolina event to criticize U.S. foreign policy as a contributing factor to the 9/11 attacks. The expulsion effort wisely died down when its organizer, GOP State Chairman Saul Anuzis of Michigan, realized (as he later told me) “we were helping Ron Paul by giving him publicity.”
You’d think the lesson would have been learned. But it appears that organizers of a forthcoming presidential forum in Iowa on June 30 have decided Mr. Paul will not be welcome. Six other candidates, ranging from Mitt Romney to Tom Tancredo, will be speaking.
Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance are important groups in Iowa politics and their membership includes a large number of faithful presidential caucus attendees. It seems passing strange why they wouldn’t want Mr. Paul after cable networks such as CNN, Fox and MSNBC had included him in their debates. ABC also plans to include him in its upcoming debate in Des Moines on August 5. Lew Moore, Mr. Paul’s Iowa campaign manager, sought an explanation from the Iowa forum’s organizers but was rebuffed. He says he was simply told Mr. Paul wouldn’t be allowed to participate. Other callers have been told that Mr. Paul has “fringe type” support and isn’t a factor in the caucuses.
Hmmm…. Despite his controversial views, Mr. Paul was tied for sixth place in the Republican field in last week’s Wall Street Journal/NBC national poll (he had 2%), and was ahead of several other candidates who’ve been invited to the June 30 forum. What makes his exclusion all the stranger is that Mr. Paul just placed second behind Fred Thompson in a straw poll of National Taxpayers Union members at the group’s annual convention in Washington. One of the key organizers of the NTU event was none other than Iowans for Tax Relief, the co-sponsor of the forum that is excluding Mr. Paul.
None of this makes any sense. Pettiness is a natural component of politics, but when practiced in the Internet age it is quickly exposed and a price exacted. Whatever the beef the organizers of the Iowa event have with Mr. Paul, I doubt it will be worth the adverse publicity they will get by excluding him.
One thing Fund should have pointed out but didn’t, is that Iowans for Tax Relief’s head Ed Failor was working with the George Pataki campaign and is working with and actively supporting John McCain’s campaign. Failor by the way, is quoted in the Des Moins Register as saying Ron Paul candidacy is “not credible” (but presumably that Tommy Thompson’s is, since he was invited).
Also, if you still haven’t contacted you should do so here and ask them to invite Ron Paul.
[Update: Thomas Woods gives us a better email address for contacting Iowans for Tax Relief's Ed Failor.]