Immigration reform is Tancredo's legacy
Hope all of you have had a wonderful Christmas! While we are all disappointed that Congressman Tancredo had to drop out, I think we can all agree that he has moved the immigration debate to be more favorable for our cause than ever.
This article sums up everything and is a favorite of Congressman Tancredo's:
|Immigration reform is Tancredo's legacy|
MARY RAE BRAGG TH staff writer
For someone who never got into double digits in campaign polling, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo probably did more to influence the 2007 presidential debate than any "non-contender" in memory. Tancredo first brought his rallying call for immigration policy reform to Dubuque 21„2 years ago, saying he was determined to make America's open borders an issue in the 2008 campaign. Hard to believe now, but in the 2004 campaign immigration was a non-issue and Tancredo told the Telegraph Herald he was going to "force candidates to deal with it" in the next cycle. He promised that if no other candidate came forward to carry the reform banner, he would. And when it got to be the first of this year and no one had, Tancredo did. He worked Iowa and paid as much attention to Dubuque as any of the Republican candidates, more than most of them. Never mind that Dubuque is not regarded as a GOP stronghold, Tancredo was intent on his message and it never changed. Those who dismissed him as a one-issue wonder, an opportunist seeking to build a career on xenophobia, seemingly underestimated and misunderstood the congressman. His Dubuque audiences never saw Tancredo act like an angry man, just a man convinced that porous borders provide an entrance for trouble of all kinds. His message was picking up steam as the 2006 congressional races opened. Republican candidate Mike Whalen, of Davenport, Iowa, appeared taken aback when he came to Dubuque to announce his candidacy and the first question he got was from a man worried about illegal immigrants. Later in the campaign, Whalen said he was getting more questions about immigration policy than any other issue. Who would have thought Iowans could get worked up over the Mexican border? Tancredo, for one. It was an issue that made liberals uncomfortable and still does. On one hand, they didn't want to be mean to people risking their lives to come here because of poverty. Still, it didn't make sense to let people flow into the country without them being held accountable. As Tancredo called reporters together Thursday in Des Moines to tell them he was pulling out of the Republican presidential primary, he said he was doing so because, "I believe the cause demands I do so." There are more viable Republican candidates who adopted his "no amnesty" message as their own, Tancredo said, and he feared if he stayed in the race, he would draw votes away from them, allowing those with "abysmal records on immigration" to win. Tancredo endorsed Mitt Romney's campaign, coming at a time when former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is rising above Romney in Iowa polling. An article in Thursday's Washington Post says a Post-ABC News poll shows three out of 10 Republican voters see immigration as their top issue. While Tancredo can find encouragement in those numbers, another Republican candidate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, is worried that his party is hurting its chances of keeping the White House when it continues the anti-amnesty drumbeat. Talking with the Telegraph Herald editorial board earlier this month, McCain said the immigration debate "could make it seem Republicans don't like (Hispanics)." McCain noted that President Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 and "could not have won without that margin." But by 2006, the margin of support for Republican candidates was down to 26 percent, McCain said. He got 70 percent of his state's Hispanic vote in 2004, he said, "but that was after 20 years of work." McCain readily acknowledges that he hurt himself as a primary candidate by joining with Bush and Democrats to put together an immigration reform package that went nowhere in Congress. McCain's campaign has picked up momentum in recent weeks, so he still has a chance of getting the GOP nomination. But if he doesn't, it may be that the determined little congressman from Colorado was David to McCain's Goliath.