Americans are more likely to see President Bush frolicking in a meadow holding hands with Hillary Clinton than they are to see Tom Tancredo in the White House. However, Monday, Tancredo still announced that he will be throwing his hat into the ring for the top job.
Tom Tancredo is the representative for the 6th Congressional District of Colorado that encompasses most south Denver suburbs. He is to the anti-immigration movement as Jenna Jameson is to the porn industry. He knows he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the election, but he still wants to use it as a soapbox to spread his political rhetoric.
Nobody with half a brain should care what this man has to say. He is a walking exhibition of foot-in-mouth syndrome. Only, unlike intelligent politicians, he does not apologize for his thoughtless remarks. This attitude has made him unpopular with Democrats, but also with members of his own party – that being the Republican party.
One event that caused a ruckus in the party was a statement Tancredo made while visiting Miami last November. Of the city, he said, “You would never know you were in the United States.you would certainly say you’re in a Third World Country.” Of course, this is old news. This quip naturally irked Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who responded by calling Tancredo “a nut,” and then demanded an apology.
Tancredo, recalcitrant as ever, refused, but did offer a typical response. In a letter to Governor Bush, he stated, “I understand and appreciate your need and desire to create the illusion of Miami as a multiethnic ‘All American’ city.However, it is neither na’ve nor insulting to call attention to a real problem that cannot be easily dismissed through politically correct happy talk.”
Likewise, he managed to place himself on the wrong side of White House bulldog Karl Rove due to a comment made regarding Bush immigration policies. He said, “The immigration plank in the party platform is full of platitudes, promises, and pandering,” and if, terrorists attacked America again, “the blood of the people killed” would fall on the president and Congress. Tancredo later told the New York Times that Rove told him never to “darken the doorstep of the White House” in response.
To his credit, though, at least Tancredo is consistent. Unless, of course, you want to talk about home repairs or term limits.
In September of 2002, there was a big splash after the Denver Post reported two people working on a remodel of his basement were in this country illegally. His defended himself against these claims by telling the Washington Post, “I have never, to my knowledge, hired anybody illegally.” He also told them later that he felt Creative Drywall Design, the firm he hired to do the work, was “a wonderful company” and he would “recommend it to anyone.” Despite the fact that they hired the workers – committing the Tancredo-professed sin of rewarding them for coming here illegally – he still gave them his blessing.
In the 2002 election, he also rocked his base by telling voters he would not honor a 1998 pledge he made to seek no more than two terms in office. And after he won his third term, he decided to run for a fourth. Apparently, promises to his constituents do not matter much to Tancredo.
How should we judge this presidential hopeful? In a 2004 interview, he told the Denver Post: “Judge me for who I am, for what I say and do.” Given the disparity between his actions and words, I am amazed the reporter resisted the urge to ask, “Are you sure that is a good idea?”
Tom Tancredo deserves a CAT scan, not the presidency. Thankfully, due to his hard-headed opinions and inability to acknowledge issues other than immigration, Republicans, in an uncommon show of good taste, seem to agree.
Sean Reed is a junior political science major. His column appears every Wednesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.