Not just yet.
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo isn’t leaving. Tancredo promised the voters of his district in 1996 he would limit himself to only three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Tancredo confirmed Wednesday, with much agony over his decision, that he would not be honoring his pledge to step down and would be running for office again this November.
What may be more unbelievable is that during his career he lobbied furiously for national term limits on members of Congress. When campaigning in 1996, Tancredo tried to get a measure on the Colorado ballot that would print “VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS” beside the names of officeholders who didn’t vote for term limits.
Ironically, the lure of the power in Washington must have been too powerful for him and he has now violated the instruction of the voters.
Tancredo cited his policies on immigration reform (he became notorious in the press last week for demanding the deportation of Jesus Apodaca, a Denver honor student and illegal immigrant requesting tuition assistance for college) as too important to be completed by anyone else if he left office.
Tancredo was elected the same year as Congressman Bob Schaffer in the 4th District, which includes Fort Collins, Loveland and Colorado’s eastern plains, who also made a term limits pledge. The difference is Schaffer kept his word.
“I did not agonize over whether to break it,” Schaffer said, “I agonized over the stupidity of taking it in the first place.”
Taking the pledge may have been stupid, but at least Schaffer held himself accountable. He had the integrity and honor to tell the truth and didn’t agonize over it. As for Tancredo, it would be good for another prominent Republican to challenge him, but in his district his incumbency makes him almost a shoe-in to become reelected.
Colorado may again have Tancredo, now experienced in Washington politics, representing us, but after breaking the pledge that got him into office, how can he be trusted in promises he makes to his constituents now?