Aug 032010
Authors: Ian Bezek

Former Colorado Congressman Tom Trancredo’s surprising decision to enter the governor’s race provides a pleasant diversion from the generally disappointing contest. While he isn’t a serious threat to actually win, his campaign should bring all sorts of entertainment for observers.

It’s been clear for a while that the governor’s race is not going to be competitive. Both Republicans running for the office have got themselves embroiled in major scandals.

The front-runner to win the Republican primary, Scott McInnis, plagiarized the writing of Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs while getting paid a suspiciously high sum of $300,000 for writing about water policy.

After being caught, McInnis tried to dump the blame for his gross error on his hapless research assistant. Needless to say, McInnis’ campaign has fallen apart.

This opened the door for the largely-unknown competitor Dan Maes, who promptly blew his chance at winning by paying personal expenses out of his campaign funds.

Because both plagiarism and campaign finance violations aren’t exactly popular with voters, it became clear that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democrat, was going to win the election easily.

Enter Tom Tancredo. The unpredictable former congressman and failed presidential candidate decided that he needed to be part of the excitement. He issued an ultimatum to the Maes and McInnnis campaigns that they had to agree to withdraw from the governor’s race or else he would enter the race.

Both campaigns ignored the demand, and so Tancredo joined the fray. He appears to be serious –– in the past week he has had a campaign website launched, and he’s starting to raise money and garner endorsements.

His website is informative about the sort of change he’s offering for Colorado. The banner of his page screams, “This is our culture –– fight for it. This is our flag –– pick it up. This is our country –– take it back.” Kind of an odd message when Colorado is facing fiscal crisis. I’m much more concerned about, say, jobs, than launching a culture war.

But Tancredo has an answer for our fiscal problems. From his issues page, we find that he supports “build(ing) a ‘zero-based’ budget” and “restor(ing) the limit on state spending.” Well, maybe he doesn’t have an answer after all. I have no idea what a zero-based budget is, and state spending hasn’t been excessively unlimited recently.

Luckily Tancredo has another solution for our problems: Kicking all the illegal immigrants out.

Tancredo’s website states that he supports “implement(ing) tough new Arizona-style interior and employer enforcement laws” and “audit(ing) state and local government compliance with state immigration laws.” With what money, Tom? Isn’t a quixotic campaign against immigration a waste of the state’s limited resources?

This sort of crusade is nothing new for Tancredo, though. He has long campaigned against both immigrants and Muslims. In 2005, Tancredo said that America should bomb Mecca if we were again attacked by terrorists, and he has said that Islam is a civilization “bent on destroying ours.”

Tancredo has been even more vigilant in fighting immigration –– legal and illegal –– proposing a three-year moratorium on all immigration.

He also boldly held the line against the nefarious invasion of Spanish-language books at Denver libraries, saying that offering more books and classroom space for Spanish speakers would foster a “linguistic ghetto” that would delay Latinos’ assimilation into American culture.

He has tried to halt the issuance of temporary-worker permits. He further has declared Miami to be a “Third World country,” he’s fought against the printing of multilingual ballots and called the Latino activist group La Raza “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.”

Most recently, he suggested that President Barack Obama is “the greatest threat to the United States today, the greatest threat to our liberty, the greatest threat to the Constitution of the United States, the greatest threat to our way of life; everything we believe in.”

While Tancredo doesn’t have a chance of winning the governorship, his entrance into the race has revived my interest in the contest. It will be interesting watching the debates and campaign ads wondering what crazy thing he’ll say next.

Ian Bezek is a senior economics major who will write columns periodically throughout the summer. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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