He warns darkly of the "Balkanization" of the United States from mass immigration and the dire threat of the "cult of multiculturalism." But the tide is turning, he tells his audience, and they are on the winning side.
From the dim amphitheater, someone yells out, "Tancredo for president!" Several fans wait just offstage to nab an autograph or snap a picture.
Congress' most vociferous critic of current immigration policy, Colorado's Tom Tancredo, is in an ebullient mood, and there isn't much these days that can spoil it.
No longer quite a pariah, he's still held at arm's length by many in the Republican Party. He has never had a major piece of legislation dealing with immigration passed - nor does he ever expect to.
But his laserlike focus on a single issue - and a roiling anger around the issue among the conservative rank and file - also has earned him a national profile virtually unrivaled among Colorado's congressional delegation [...]
With most analysts betting that immigration will play a major role in the 2008 presidential election, the Littleton lawmaker and his staff are ramping up to ride the wave.
And while I'm utterly unconvinced that those undocumented workers take any jobs Americans would do (like picking grapes), that perception must be dealt with lest Democrats be on the losing end of yet another issue. Given the pressures workers face from outsourcing, downsizing, and the Wal-Martization of the economy (low-paying, no-benefit jobs), it's far too easy to demonize undocumented workers as the source of those troubles. And the GOP won't hesitate to do so.
Illegal immigration isn't something to cheer. But we can't ignore it, and we can't cede the issue to hate-mongers like Tancredo.