Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who is this Tom Tancredo?

Republican Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado is the favorite of right-wingers these days. He's been making presidential rumblings for a while, but I didn't think he'd ever catch on, unless immigration became much of an issue. It looks like Rep. Tancredo's xenophobic dreams are coming true.

The American Museum of Failed Movements is littered with single-issue presidential candidates. Of course, Tancredo probably realizes somewhere in the back of his head that he'll never get the nomination, but I suppose that when it all comes down to it, that's not really what he's after. He's probably looking to turn the debate in the anti-immigrant direction, and force other candidates to take a stance similar to his. If Tancredo ever does manage to pick up steam, he's going to have to change his one-note show to address things like foreign policy and fiscal policy, which are subjects that voters traditionally prefer a presidential candidate to have an opinion on.

Tancredo might wind up helping the Republicans, but then he might not. His anti-immigrant push will alienate Hispanics, where the Republican Party has made gains over the past decade; but on the other hand, it could energize both whites and blacks who are anti-immigrant, too. Whether that would mean they'd rally 'round the Republican standard remains to be seen. I have a feeling that the energized Latinos in this country are evidence that the Republican strategists might have underestimated their reaction, but we won't know for sure until November. At any rate, this seems like the old-fashioned divide-and-conquer politics that the Bush administration is now famous for. I'd be shocked if the sudden, nationwide anti-immigrant sentiment weren't generated on the part of Bush's strategists, and the strategists at the RNC.

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