Here's a link to historian Thomas Woods' excellent piece today on LewRockwell.com, updating the Ron Paul/Iowa candidates' forum situation. Tom has been making phone calls and checking Web sites to get a little more background and more current information.
He did talk to Ed Failor, exec director of Iowans for Tax Relief. He got an unpleasant impression but firm resolve that under no circumstances would Ron Paul be invited to the June 30 event. It turns out that Failor was originally for former NY Gov. Pataki (!) but is now on some sort of executive steering committee for John McCain, to whom he has given money. Why that means Ron Paul is to be excluded when Duncan Hunter and other second (or third) tier candidates are invited has not been explained.
Woods also talked to some Iowa Christian Alliance people who said excluding Paul was strictly Failor's thing, not an ICA policy. But he noticed that while their Website had links to other candidates, including utterly unknown fourth-tier candidates, they had none to Ron Paul. They corrected that, but took down a link to Ron's YouTube site that was there before (though I just checked and it seems to be there now). Looks as if there's something more in the animus than simply yielding to Failor.
It's sad to contemplate the likely reason. The main thing that distinguishes Ron Paul from the other GOP candidates is his unflinching, right-from-the-beginning opposition to the war in Iraq (I suspect no others have his position on the gold standard or abolishing the federal reserve, but that isn't what's made him prominent.) Can it be that a putatively Christian organization (let alone a putatively pro-tax relief outfit) believes that questioning a war puts you so completely outside the pale that such views have to be excluded? In Iowa? I know many evangelicals supported this war and support an aggressive foreign policy, sometimes for reasons that seem utterly balmy to me. But to feel so strongly about it as to exclude the single critic among the contenders? I repeat, what would Jesus think?
In fact, these two organizations may well have done Ron Paul a favor by excluding him,. If he had been invited it would have been a relatively obscure event that got little coverage, I suspect. Now it's become a cause celebre that gives Ron Paul more favorable coverage (if still almost entirely on the blogosphere so far) and an opportunity for his supporters to do a protest that will make the excluders look bad and demonstrate support for his candidacy.
If I were into conspiracy theories, I might wonder whether Ed Failor was a secret Ron Paul supporter.