I’ve already pointed two potential road blocks for Mark Jacobs in the Republican primary as he campaigns for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat.  There are now three.  One is Common Core, which I’ve seen his staffers are trying to spin his stance in such a way to obfuscate his position on it.

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He was singing a different tune in Rock Rapids.  Being against Federal involvement in the Common Core is not the same as being against the standards themselves.  There are problems with the standards outside of the Feds being involved.  Also he is being very precise with his language.  From his white paper on education:

When it comes to K-12 education, there’s no question that Washington has gotten way too involved. I believe that decisions about K-12 education are best made at the state and local level, without Washington calling the shots when it comes to Iowa’s curriculum.

So he addresses curriculum, not standards here.  Later on he brings up standards.

K-12 education is primarily a state and local issue. I believe education standards should be set at the state level and curriculum should be developed at the local district or individual school level.

And he isn’t saying anything different than what Republicans Governors who support Common Core would say.  So is Mark Jacobs opposed to the Common Core?  I’d say no unless he comes out with a definitive statement regarding his opposition that says “I’m against the Common Core State Standards and Iowa should repeal them.”  His opponents have made clear statements of opposition.  Jacobs is on the wrong side of this issue with the grassroots.

Then there’s the whole focus on education as preparation for the workplace which just bugs me.  That shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of education.  It may be one of the objectives of education, but how about teaching kids critical thinking skills?  That was the primary purpose of a classical education which public education has abandoned.  How about teaching cultural literacy?  That will be diminished with the onset of pushing informational text in lieu of classical literature in order to prepare students for the workplace.  Then preparing children for citizenship?  A robust civics education has long departed the public education scene, but the hyper-emphasis on STEM won’t help bring it back.

This isn’t to say we can’t provide good STEM preparation, we should (something I don’t believe Common Core does), but we should bear in mind that it shouldn’t be the only focus and goal of education.  But I digress.

The other issue was his donation to the late U.S. Senator Arlen Specter after Specter became a Democrat.  Which he explained to The Des Moines Register (he was too busy to return my email apparently) was due to Specter’s opposition to Cap and Trade which is interesting since he supported cap and trade as CEO of Reliant Energy back in Texas as we see with the new third roadblock.

The third roadblock for Mark Jacobs is his comment back in 2007 that “Cap and Trade works very well.”  What universe is he living in?  He wants to focus on job creation, but that program is a job killer.  It is also onerous to the American consumer.  Who can afford energy costs to rise?  I know my family certainly can’t.

The Des Moines Register reported:

Public records show that Mark Jacobs, when he was CEO of a Texas-based energy company seven years ago, advocated for the government regulatory program, which proponents say would crack down on pollution from energy companies and reduce global warming…

…Jacobs’ comments in 2007 seem to directly contradict what he’s been saying in Iowa in recent months as he campaigns for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

When asked today about the apparent flip-flop, a campaign spokeswoman told The Des Moines Register that Jacobs “personally has never supported a cap and trade policy.”

“He believes that the policy is in direct opposition to his message of economic growth and job creation,” spokeswoman Alissa Ohl said. “Mark offered those comments as a CEO of a business whose operations included coal-fired plants, at a time when Congress was actively considering carbon dioxide legislation.”

The article continues:

In a November 2007 Reliant earnings conference call, an analyst asked Jacobs about the potential expense of complying with the future carbon regulations.

“I would say this: We are very much committed to environmental stewardship. It’s one of our core values here at Reliant,” Jacobs answered. “We believe the best approach is a national level policy. We believe the market-based cap and trade system works very well.”

Earlier that year, at the Lehman Brothers CEO Energy Conference, an audience member asked Jacobs about cap and trade.

Jacobs answered at the September 2007 conference: “Look, we certainly acknowledge that that is a very hot topic of debate now. It’s a very politically charged debate. We think that if we were going to have a carbon policy that a cap-and-trade system makes the most sense in that we have seen that work, I think, quite well.”

His spokesperson said they were trying to “engage the debate and minimize as much as possible the negative impact on energy prices and jobs that a carbon dioxide policy would have.”  Jacobs opponents are not buying it:

“Mark Jacobs clearly supports cap and trade,” said State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak).  “That’s very troubling to me because cap and trade will kill Iowa jobs. We need a Republican nominee to defeat Bruce Braley, not agree with him. I am 100% opposed to cap and trade, always have been and always will be.”

Sam Clovis replied at length. “In every campaign, candidates will have legitimate differences on policies.  I think I am obligated to mention those differences if I think someone who wants to represent Iowans is advocating policies that will clearly hurt Iowa businesses and take money out of the pockets of hard working Iowans.  Over the past several days, it appears Mark Jacobs was for cap and trade when it helped the company that was paying him,” said Clovis.  “Now, it appears he is against cap and trade.  I think Iowans deserve an explanation of this dramatic shift in stance.”

“Jacobs defended his change in position on WHO Radio today as political expedience.  Cap and Trade is to energy what Obamacare is to healthcare – Obama himself said, ‘Under my plan electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.’  Rather than stand between consumers and high energy prices, Jacobs played the DC game to gain advantage for his private sector interests.  Mark Jacobs is on record supporting this policy while he was CEO of a Texas-based energy company,” Clovis added.

“This seeming change of convenience by Mr. Jacobs is the very reason why the federal government is dysfunctional,” remarked Clovis.  “We don’t need politicians who will vote for personal interests over the interests of his or her constituents.  Doing what is best for the nation is never wrong and cap and trade legislation would be destructive of an already fragile economy.”  Clovis continued, “Washington, DC has become an inside-the-beltway gravy train for special interests, and those special interests are the entities that, unfortunately, fill the coffers of politicians who care more about elections than doing the right thing.  I will always tell Iowans the truth, will always defend the Constitution and will always do what is best for the nation.  And what is best for the nation is best for Iowa.”

Even liberals are not buying Jacobs explanation.

And strike three?  Jacobs may have a lot of money to invest in his campaign, but with this history he is going to have major difficulty winning over the base.

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