The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), made a surprise appearance at the Iowa Straw Poll earlier August 13th. During a short interview, she claimed “common ground” with several Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, on renewable energy subsidies. Much to the chagrin of economic conservatives, her claim appears substantiated.
Parked horizontally on the grounds of the Iowa Straw Poll throughout the weekend was a blade from a wind turbine. Prominently displayed on the turbine blade were the corporate logos of GE and TPI Composites. These two companies partner together to develop subsidized wind farms throughout Iowa. Representatives of this partnership provided magic markers to straw poll attendees and to politicians. People could then indicate support of the projects by signing the turbine blade. In addition, politicians were provided a speaking area to verbally express their support of renewable energy subsidies in front of the blade.
Both Mitt Romney and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), amongst other politicians, attached their signatures to the declaration of support for wind energy subsidies. Considering Mitt Romney’s portrayal of himself as a businessperson with an economic vision starkly opposed to President Obama’s, his apparent support for renewable energy subsidies for TPI Composites may give conservatives pause. Unbeknownst to most Republican primary voters, several other prominent Democrats strongly support corporate welfare for TPI Composites. In fact, President Obama mentioned stimulus funds provided to TPI Composites in a speech last year. Another Massachusetts politician, stalwart Leftist Barney Frank, recently proudly announced the placement of a TPI plant in Fall River, MA–a plant supported with a $250,000 grant from the government.
The apparent endorsement by several Republican presidential candidates of this particular corporate welfare recipient will likely raise questions with conservative primary voters.
After all, TPI Composites has also received accolades from Barney Frank, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and President Obama. Iowa companies have received more than $160 million in Department of Energy stimulus grants. How unfortunate that some Republican contenders chose to endorse more of the same instead of taking the opportunity to explain the senselessness of such a system. One would think that the Iowa Straw Poll would have been the optimal event to explain the free market perspective rather than acquiesce to the demands for more corporate welfare.