A few days after an unregistered group distributed a flyer attacking former Governor Terry Branstad from the right, a YouTube has appeared portraying Branstad as just like Governor Chet Culver on fiscal matters:
The comparison is ridiculous, since Culver never kept two sets of books to conceal deficit spending. Also, contrary to the claim made in this video, Culver didn’t try to sell the Iowa Lottery.
Still, the YouTube is a preview of attacks Branstad will face if he enters the governor’s race. He probably would win the nomination anyway, but the question is whether he wants to get mired in this kind of fight. I don’t know whether all of these claims are true; for instance, I don’t recall Branstad trying to end federal deductibility, although that may have happened while I was living outside Iowa.
I take as a given that no rival candidate directly authorized the creation of the flyer or the YouTube. People usually try not to let this kind of hit piece be linked to a campaign. Supporters of other Republican candidates may have acted independently, though. They have an obvious interest in keeping Branstad out of the race. Bob Vander Plaats is the front-runner now, but his prospects drop sharply with Branstad in. Most if not all of the other candidates would have no hope of competing against Vander Plaats and Branstad at the same time.
Over at The Iowa Republican blog, Krusty Konservative sees visual and stylistic clues in the YouTube pointing to Victory Enterprises, a firm working for Christian Fong’s campaign. I have no idea whether Krusty’s right, but consultants working for Fong stand to lose a lot of money if Branstad forces Fong from the race several months before next June’s primary.
Share any thoughts or speculation about the attacks on Branstad or the Republican primary campaign in this thread.
LATE UPDATE: Krusty followed up with another piece explaining why he believes someone at Victory Enterprises produced this video.