Tom Tancredo has re-exposed the racist id of the Republican Party by stoking the nativist passions of the GOP base. In just a few short weeks, he has wiped out decades worth of work to build in-roads for the party with the largest minority group in this country. The Democratic Party is the undisputed beneficiary of the GOP's "let's git 'em" immigration policy.
However, the worst could be yet to come. Rep. Tancredo is working the grass roots. He is taking his show on the road. One of his first stops is the President's Day dinner in Tyler, Texas for a speech on immigration "reform".
Congressman Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican who has emerged as a leader in the push to reform immigration policy, will be the keynote speaker at the Smith County Republican Club's 18th Annual Presidents' Day Dinner on Thursday.
Tancredo, a possible 2008 presidential contender, chairs the House Immigration Reform Caucus.
And, the Republican establishment feels its blood run cold.
If Ken Mehlman thinks the schism over immigration is bad, just wait until Tancredo or some other like-minded figure begins siphoning off disaffected members of the base who want their party to embrace even more tightly the fundamentals of gender discrimination, religious fanaticism and racial hatred.
Tancredo, or someone like him, will find a ready-made constituency of people who are looking for someone else to blame for their problems. They will not be willing to place the blame where it belongs, which is with themselves for having voted against their own economic interests for the past 25 years. Just as previous generations of angry white men blamed affirmative action and women's liberation for their degraded economic status, this generation will point its gnarled finger at a new group of brown-skinned people.
These nouveau nativists like to think of themselves as the heirs of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. In fact, they are the seed of a different father altogether. They were sired by a man who has been relegated to the outer territories of the political world, but likes what he sees when he gazes in at what, for him, was the promised land he would never enter.
[David] Duke's Klan Border Watch, meanwhile, served as the forerunner and inspiration of the Dobbs-touted Minutemen groups that have proliferated from the Mexico border to Herndon, Virginia, the city that hosted the American Renaissance conference, where disgruntled locals hold regular protests outside a day-labor center. Under pressure from Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, chair of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and with sponsorship from House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner (tough-talking heir to the Kotex fortune), the Republican-dominated House has approved a bill that makes it a felony to be in the United States illegally, mandates punishment for providing aid or shelter to undocumented immigrants and allocates millions for the construction of an iron wall between the United States and Mexico. Duke may have fallen short on the national stage, but his old notions have gained a new life through new political figures.
"Tancredo, he's pretty good. I would probably vote for him for President," Duke told me.
That sound you hear isn't jobs being sucked south of the border, with apologies to Ross Perot. It is the sound of the Republican coalition shattering into pieces. The reactionary right is already moving away from the new political center. The mainstream Republican Party has only two choices: move further to the right with them, or take a deep breath and wait for the next political realignment to arrive. That should only take another 30 or 40 years. What a shame that they couldn't make this one last longer.
Notes & Observations on the Post-Satirical Age