Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just How Much Influence does Scientology have with the GOP?

Alright, so when Mitt Romney came out and "admitted" (let's face it, it's next to impossible to distinguish when Romney's being candid or scripted) that his favorite novel was "Battlefield Earth," everyone had a good laugh and there were a few amusing conversations about whether the movie was embarrassingly awful or awesomely awful, and it was all fun and games and something of a pleasant diversion from the seriousness of the race.

Romney is not, after all, running to be the Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar.

So imagine my surprise when I was reading this:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's unexpectedly strong second-place showing in the recent Iowa Republican straw poll is widely attributed to his support for the FairTax.

Okay ... That's a perfectly acceptable lede ... Everything sounds perfectly reasonable ... I'm not really sure what all of this business about the "FairTax" is, but I get feeling that an explanation is on the way.

Then:

For those who never heard about it, the FairTax is a national retail sales tax that would replace the entire current federal tax system. It was originally devised by the Church of Scientology in the early 1990s as a way to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service, with which the church was then at war (at the time the IRS refused to recognize it as a legitimate religion). The Scientologists' idea was that since almost all states have sales taxes, replacing federal taxes with the same sort of tax would allow them to collect the federal government's revenue and thereby get rid of their hated enemy, the IRS.


Excuse me?

Since when did the GOP start commissioning tax policy white papers from Scientologists? Will the Raelians be offering their input on foreign policy matters too?