Skip to comments.More heat for Tancredo. Rep. Cannon doubts whether Coloradan should be in GOP
Posted on 05/06/2005 7:47:06 AM PDT by .cnI redruM
WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Tancredo ought to reconsider his membership in the Republican Party, a Utah congressman said Wednesday after the two GOP lawmakers put an intraparty rift over immigration policy on full public display.
"I think he ought to consider his views and decide whether they're consistent with the Republican Party," Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, said of the Colorado congressman after the two clashed repeatedly during a forum sponsored by the Latino Coalition, a Hispanic business group.
Cannon, a leading proponent of President Bush's proposed guest- worker program, has had a running feud with Tancredo, an opponent of the plan and outspoken advocate of tougher immigration enforcement. Last year, a political action committee founded by Tancredo targeted Cannon during his primary election challenge.
The two men sat side by side on stools at Wednesday's event inside Washington's J.W. Marriott hotel, and the rhetoric got so emotional that at one point they had a comical tussle over who would get to hold the microphone next.
The debate began with a third panelist, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., denouncing unnamed people he said were exploiting the immigration issue because of bigotry, hatred and prejudice.
"If not for the undocumented workers in this country, I'd say that this room would not have been as clean and well-organized this morning," Gutierrez said.
Tancredo challenged Gutierrez when he took the microphone.
"We certainly would not want to pander to anyone on this issue, would we?" Tancredo said. "What I just heard was not that, was it?"
Tancredo repeated his long-standing call for the country to close its "porous borders" before it considers a new guest-worker program.
"It is crazy to suggest this nation should not do everything possible to secure the border," Tancredo said, saying a desire for cheap, immigrant labor could leave the borders open to terrorists or narcotics traffickers. Tancredo equates Bush's proposal to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants, saying it would reward people who entered the country illegally.
When it was his turn, Cannon immediately endorsed Gutierrez's earlier statement. He said the vast majority of Americans believe that undocumented immigrants should have "a path to citizenship" as long as they have willing employers, have not committed crimes and already are contributing to society.
Cannon said only a small minority of people "truly believe we should kick out" all illegal immigrants. He cited one of Tancredo's political allies, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, who got about 1 percent of the vote after he left the Republican Party and ran for president in 2000 as a third-party candidate.
"I don't think there's a place in the Republican Party for racism, for xenophobia, for ideas that are fundamentally un-American," Cannon said.
Tancredo clapped quietly, saying he also sees no place in the debate for racism or xenophobia, which refers to a fear of foreign people or things.
Still, some observers - including a Tancredo staff member - interpreted it as an indirect reference to Tancredo, since he has recently toyed with the idea of following in Buchanan's footsteps and mounting a presidential campaign in 2008.
Asked after the event if he thought Tancredo was racist or xenophobic, Cannon said: "I don't know what motivates him."
In an interview, Tancredo fired back at Cannon, pointing to his primary election challenge by Republican Matt Throckmorton in 2004. The Team America PAC, founded by Tancredo and chaired by Buchanan's sister, Bay Buchanan, backed Throckmorton. Another group, Project U.S.A., placed billboards saying "Congressman Chris Cannon wants amnesty for illegal aliens. Do you?"
"Of the two of us, Mr. Cannon is the only one who has had a primary (challenge since taking office)," Tancredo said. "Evidently, there are a lot of people in his district who believe he is not Republican enough."
Tancredo has recently started traveling to early presidential primary states like New Hampshire, saying he wants to make sure the "serious candidates" put the immigration issue front-and-center in the 2008 race.
He has said it is unlikely he would actually run in - or win - a presidential race, but that he would consider a campaign if other candidates ignore the issue.
But he sees no need to leave the Republican Party.
"I believe the Republican Party is with me on the issue," Tancredo said.
"As long as that's the case, I frankly can't think why I would change. In the Republican Party, more people agree with me than with President Bush and Mr. Cannon (on immigration)."
Tancredo was facing a polite but generally skeptical crowd at The Latino Coalition event. Before he appeared, an opening speaker, while listing the VIPs invited to speak, added, "I'm sorry, but we also have Congressman Tom Tancredo."
That prompted a smattering of boos and hisses.
About 30 minutes after Tancredo, Cannon and Gutierrez left the stage, President Bush appeared for a presentation on Social Security. He got huge applause when he diverged to talk about his guest worker plan, which could go before Congress later this year.
Tancredo is fighting the good fight on immigration...
Uh, yeah, sure, Luis.
Hey, if we put up with Chaffee, Snowe, McCain and others, we can put up with Cannon (yes, the switch was on purpose).
Sorry Luis, my problem with illegals has more to do with Hezbollah terrorists sneaking through the Southern border.
I think Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah "ought to consider his views and decide whether they're consistent with the Republican Party"
we'll be able to pass the guest worker amnesty."
So Cannon sides with a Democrat and calls Tancredo a racist, yet it's Tancredo who doesn't belong in the Republican Party.
Mr. Cannon, are we all citizens of the world?
Tancredo and I wanna know what you believe.
Nice try but no cigar.
I agree, but I think Tancredo and other Republicans who agree with him need to figure a way to do this so that it won't piss off the Hispanic voters. What happened to Schwarzenegger's popularity after he came out for tightening the border shows that these polls that claim Hispanics want a tight border policy are simply wrong. If the GOP wants to get this done, they are going to have to do it in such a way that it does not become a partisan issue. Do it so that the Dems are competing with the GOP to see who can give the best border security.
I guess it is now considered bigotry to discriminate between law keepers and law breakers. Besides, why bother keeping laws that weren't created by the super legislators -- the judges? It's a waste of time.
BTW, Travis, tom tancredo shot himself with the long knife he put into Tom Delay's back.
Cannon is a joke. Does he seriously believe voters in the GOP are going to side with him and his open borders philosophy over Tom Tancredo?
You know, I am not sure if Bush is pushing this because he truly has sympathy for these Mexican families (I share that sentiment, but it is no excuse to break the law) or if it's more of a gov't-handout-to-business reason like the WSJ's.
Is Tancredo hispanic?? I'd like to see him in 2008 race. As much as I support Bush, his open border policy just doesn't make any sense.
Tancredo can be wrong about Delay and still be right about immigration. They are two different issues.
My wife is Mexican and nothing makes her angrier than the time and money ($3000) we had to put up to get her here.
Most Mexicans are very Conservative and natural Republicans. If we develope a guest worker system that works WITH A TIGHT BORDER, the party will not suffer.