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As you can see from the trendlines above, Iowa is quite competitive this year. So in an election where marginal parochial issues may make a difference, it's surprising that ethanol isn't center stage. It's wind power.
The lines are now drawn on a political hot button in Iowa: a lucrative tax break for wind energy.

Mitt Romney is against it, President Barack Obama favors it — opposing stances that could have political and economic implications in Iowa, which has more wind energy jobs than any other state in the nation.

And it's not just Democrats attacking Romney for his position.

Top GOP leaders in Iowa — including Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and the entire congressional delegation — champion the tax break as a vital economic development tool.

Monday evening, U.S. Rep. Tom Latham said the position Team Romney laid out “shows a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation. It’s the wrong decision.” Latham called for Romney to re-evaluate.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Monday he considers the tax credit he authored to be a tremendous success, but he has been talking with wind backers “about options that include a multi-year phase-out along with tax reform.”

This is sort of a bizarro West Virginia, where the dirty coal industry dominates both parties. Only difference—West Virginia isn't a swing state. Thus Romney's stance is particularly costly:
The American Wind Energy Association poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies' Glen Bolger, shows 57 percent of voters, including 41 percent of GOPers, less likely to support a presidential hopeful who isn't for expanding that form of power.

Some 85 percent of the state's voters see it as positive for Iowa.

The fact that this is even controversial at all is galling, given the ridiculous amount of taxpayer support that the fossil fuel industry continues to receive.
The wind production tax credit costs the federal government less than the combined tax subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas by a 4 to 1 margin, wind advocates said. They expect the industry to need at least another five years of support.
The Romney campaign claims they want to "create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits," yet their candidate has been clear in his continued support of subsidies and other giveaways to the fossil fuel industry.

This has nothing to do with any "level playing fields," obviously, and everything to do with fueling conservative hatred for all things green. Their defense of dirty energy doesn't usually cost them anything. In fact, it helps fill their campaign coffers. But for once, it looks to bite them in the ass.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 10:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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