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Illegal immigration foe Rep. Tom Tancredo retires
Townhall ^ | 12/8/08 | Kristen Wyatt

Posted on 12/08/2008 8:17:53 AM PST by freespirited

When Tom Tancredo, the lightning-rod Colorado conservative, went to Congress a decade ago, he promised he wouldn't disappear in Washington. He sure didn't.

Tancredo made headlines clashing with Democrats and his fellow Republicans. He could be hard to figure even by his allies. The grandson of Italian immigrants, Tancredo founded the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and achieved national recognition with aggressive, biting rhetoric against what he called out-of-control immigration and bilingual education.

At home, Tancredo lived six doors down from Columbine High School, but he resisted calls for stronger gun control after the nation's deadliest high school shooting in 1999. He was born Catholic, but converted to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and blasted Pope Benedict XVI for defending immigrants during a papal visit to Washington.

Tancredo was called racist for presidential campaign ads that suggested Latino immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. He once said Miami was like a Third World country because of its growing non-English-speaking population. He suggested America should threaten to destroy Islam's holy city of Mecca in case of a future terrorist attack.

Tancredo's poorly funded, longshot run for president ended in 2007, and he stayed quiet the rest of the campaign.

Now he's retiring, maybe to run for Colorado governor in two years, maybe to join a right-leaning think tank, perhaps one like a suburban Denver organization he ran in the 1990s. An inflexible but at the same time gracious man, Tancredo, 62, knows he made plenty of enemies in Washington. It seems he wouldn't have it any other way.

Tancredo recalls that when he ran for Congress in 1998, he repeatedly made one promise: "I guarantee you this, if you send me there, I'm not going to just take up space. You're going to know there's someone there, and he's gonna be loud and somewhat boisterous."

Tancredo grinned.

"And I think I've lived up to that promise."

His refusal to go along with the crowd didn't win him any plum committee assignments or top billing on major legislation. But it won him a measure of respect, even from those who disagreed with him.

"When he found out he couldn't work within the system to establish what was important for the country, he kind of abandoned that process and went straight to the American people and made that case there," said Mike Coffman, Colorado's Republican secretary of state who will succeed Tancredo in a district that includes Denver's conservative southern suburbs.

Five years ago, Coffman refused to share a stage with Tancredo at an Iraq War rally in Denver, a protest by a veteran against a congressman who received a deferment from service during the Vietnam War.

Now Coffman says he's looking to Tancredo for guidance.

"It is better to be an outsider than to compromise your principles," Coffman said. "He set a course, to go beyond the Congress and to make a case directly to the American people, even if that means alienating your colleagues, which he did."

Some say Tancredo's unflagging interest in illegal immigration overshadowed his other work. Tancredo sponsored 2002's Sudan Peace Act, and he worked to improve diplomatic relations with Taiwan _ two arenas few of his constituents would identify with.

"He has great principles that I think were overshadowed by his work on the immigration issue," said Rep. Doug Lamborn, a fellow Republican from a Colorado district just south of Tancredo's.

Tancredo's sharp words will leave him with a single-tone legacy, said Princeton University congressional historian Julian Zelizer.

"When he's discussed, he'll be used I think as one of the examples of what was wrong with the Republican party," Zelizer said. "I think there'll be a lot of people who will say his kind of politics didn't sit well with a lot of Americans."

Tancredo seems a little worried he'll be remembered only for blasting illegal immigrants.

"There are a lot of issues beyond immigration that I want to deal with," he said. He mentioned energy policy, what he sees as a need for more domestic exploration for fossil fuels.

But he was sanguine about his influence if he'd stayed on in Congress.

"I just didn't feel that there was anything left I could do in the House," he said.

It's unclear what may be left for him politically, though he says he's considering a 2010 run against Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.

Last summer, Tancredo headlined a rally of the Minutemen anti-illegal immigration group at a Denver park during the Democratic National Convention. Just a couple dozen showed up.

Tancredo's phone rings less now, and sitting in his suburban office amid empty bookshelves, he relaxes in a fleece zip-up pullover and seems to look forward most to catching more baseball games starring his grandsons.

But he promises _ again _ he won't disappear. And he takes pride in his decade in Congress.

"I've been able to move the debate in this country on a major issue. And that doesn't happen very often, that a member of the House of Representatives can do such a thing," he said. "I have been very, very lucky in that regard."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: illegalimmigration; illegals; tancredo
And he takes pride in his decade in Congress.

A lot of people there longer than was have far less to be proud about.

1 posted on 12/08/2008 8:17:53 AM PST by freespirited
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To: freespirited

God bless Tom Tancredo!


2 posted on 12/08/2008 8:19:46 AM PST by Heartland Mom ("Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." - Ronald Reagan)
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To: freespirited

It’s a sad day. But job well done, Congressman Tancredo!


3 posted on 12/08/2008 8:22:51 AM PST by ElayneJ
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To: freespirited
His refusal to go along with the crowd didn't win him any plum committee assignments or top billing on major legislation

It also got him thrown out of the Bush WHite House, with a warning from Karl Rove "Never darken the door of this White House again".

4 posted on 12/08/2008 8:23:33 AM PST by Balding_Eagle (OVERPRODUCTION......... one of the top five worries for American farmers.)
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To: freespirited

I’m completely ignorant of his district. If he leaves, is it a safe seat for another conservative?


5 posted on 12/08/2008 8:25:02 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Heartland Mom

Besides his vote for the bail out, he has been a stellar
representative!


6 posted on 12/08/2008 8:26:48 AM PST by Lesforlife
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To: Cicero
It would help if you read the article.

"When he found out he couldn't work within the system to establish what was important for the country, he kind of abandoned that process and went straight to the American people and made that case there," said Mike Coffman, Colorado's Republican secretary of state who will succeed Tancredo in a district that includes Denver's conservative southern suburbs.

7 posted on 12/08/2008 8:29:04 AM PST by kabar
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To: Balding_Eagle

Tom Tancredo is a wonderful man who worked tirelessly to defend the Constitution. He would have been a great President.


8 posted on 12/08/2008 8:29:17 AM PST by Frantzie
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To: freespirited

Way to go Tom!


9 posted on 12/08/2008 8:29:35 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: Balding_Eagle
It also got him thrown out of the Bush WHite House, with a warning from Karl Rove "Never darken the door of this White House again".

That just might be what he is most proud about.

10 posted on 12/08/2008 8:35:20 AM PST by freespirited (Honk to indict the MSM for treason.)
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To: freespirited

Damn. We need more people like him in Congress. Could the news get any worse this election year?


11 posted on 12/08/2008 8:37:14 AM PST by dragonblustar (Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God - G. K. Chesterton)
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To: freespirited
Tancredo did a great job opposing amnesty and pushing the conservative agenda.

Tancredo’s support for the liberal Myth Romney to be the GOP nominee undermined everything he stood for.

12 posted on 12/08/2008 8:40:44 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: ElayneJ
"It’s a sad day. But job well done, Congressman Tancredo!"

A pity there are not many more as independent as Tancredo instead of the 500+ whose only concern is how to raise $ to get re-elected in order to retain their cushy job.

13 posted on 12/08/2008 8:41:54 AM PST by penowa
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To: freespirited
An inflexible but at the same time gracious man,

I guess this is what the Stalinist press call someone with principles.

Blessings, Tom, on you and yours.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai
14 posted on 12/08/2008 8:42:11 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 78:35 And they remembered that God was their ROCK, And the Most High God their Redeemer.)
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To: kabar

And in your judgment that’s correct? Good.


15 posted on 12/08/2008 8:46:14 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: freespirited

Job well, done, Rep. Tancredo.

I pray that he triumphs in the governor’s race in 2010.


16 posted on 12/08/2008 8:47:04 AM PST by Joann37
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To: Cicero

There are no more safe seats in Colorado. It’s becoming California Lite.


17 posted on 12/08/2008 8:48:12 AM PST by demshateGod (the GOP is dead to me)
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To: freespirited
He was born Catholic, but converted to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and blasted Pope Benedict XVI for defending immigrants during a papal visit to Washington.

Even Townhall can't get it right. He blasted the Pope for his support of ILLEGAL immigrants.

18 posted on 12/08/2008 8:49:52 AM PST by raybbr
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To: Cicero

Of course it is correct. Tancredo is a lame duck. He didn’t run for reelection. He is being replaced by a conservative Rep who was elected on Nov 4.


19 posted on 12/08/2008 8:52:58 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

The article was written by an idiot. There are no safe counties in the Denver Metro.


20 posted on 12/08/2008 8:53:57 AM PST by demshateGod (the GOP is dead to me)
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To: demshateGod

Mike Coffman was elected, safe county or not.


21 posted on 12/08/2008 8:55:16 AM PST by kabar
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To: raybbr
See Tancredo's floor speech to the Pope here.
22 posted on 12/08/2008 8:56:12 AM PST by raybbr
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To: demshateGod

FYI: Coffman won with 60% of the vote to his opponent’s 40%.


23 posted on 12/08/2008 9:00:29 AM PST by kabar
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To: demshateGod
There are no more safe seats in Colorado. It’s becoming California Lite.

I always thought it had been for some time. Which is why when Rep. Tancredo first came to national prominence I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was from Colorado. Remember Tom Hanks on Letterman post Election Day, 2004: "How can Colorado vote for Bush? I ski in Colorado!"

I hear that Montana and Idaho are in the process of Californization as well.

24 posted on 12/08/2008 9:00:45 AM PST by NYCynic
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To: Reagan Man

ROTFLMAO. What a goober. You just can’t help yourself.


25 posted on 12/08/2008 9:06:23 AM PST by napscoordinator
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Comment #26 Removed by Moderator

To: freespirited

“When he’s discussed, he’ll be used I think as one of the examples of what was wrong with the Republican party,” Zelizer said. “I think there’ll be a lot of people who will say his kind of politics didn’t sit well with a lot of Americans.”

Funny, I seem to recall more people are against illegal immigration than are for it. Then again, those people are probably in the minority at Princton


27 posted on 12/08/2008 9:09:13 AM PST by FromShadow
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To: napscoordinator

This forum doesn’t support liberals for prez, jackass.


28 posted on 12/08/2008 9:09:20 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: freespirited

My favorite memory of Tom is:

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S IRE
Rep. Ellison calls cops on Tancredo’s cigar
Muslim congressman not happy with neighbor’s way of unwinding

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54253

Tom, you certainly have deserved another fine cigar! We’ll miss you in Congress and Support you for Colorado Governor.


29 posted on 12/08/2008 9:15:02 AM PST by mtngrandpa (Fighting the Insurgency at Home)
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To: Reagan Man
Tancredo’s support for the liberal Myth Romney to be the GOP nominee undermined everything he stood for.

It could have been worse....he could have been a McCain supporter.

30 posted on 12/08/2008 9:18:45 AM PST by Retired COB (Still mad about Campaign Finance Reform)
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To: Reagan Man

You brought that up not me...and you call me a jackass???? ROTFLMAO. You are such a dip$$$$.


31 posted on 12/08/2008 9:19:41 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: Retired COB

LOL McCain was bad enough.

Willard’s ten times worse.


32 posted on 12/08/2008 9:27:09 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: freespirited
It also got him thrown out of the Bush White House, with a warning from Karl Rove "Never darken the door of this White House again".

LOL! I would have felt warm and fuzzy inside if Rove said something like that to me. Tancredo is a bulldog. He will be missed.

33 posted on 12/08/2008 9:27:33 AM PST by LiberConservative (Typical white guy)
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To: napscoordinator
>>>>>You brought that up not me ...

What did I bring up?
Tancredo wasn't the only conservative who sold out and supported Willard. You have a problem with the truth.

>>>>>...and you call me a jackass????

Perfect fit.

34 posted on 12/08/2008 9:31:05 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: Reagan Man

Tancredo is more conservative that you by a mile. Your just a nasty washed up troll who should have been shown the door years ago.


35 posted on 12/08/2008 9:48:14 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator
I've met Tom Tancredo several times and for the most part, he's a true Reagan conservative. His decision to back Willard was a serious error in judgment on his part. Plain dumb!

Btw, I'm not going anywhere. As long as idiots like you choose to run around this forum promoting liberals like Romney, I'll remain in your face. Get use to it.

36 posted on 12/08/2008 9:56:05 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: Reagan Man

I like Tom Tancredo and obviously you just don’t allow for less than perfection. It is unfortunate that you would bash a good guy for as you say an error in judgment but it says alot about you. Oh don’t go anywhere you bring about a lot of humor.


37 posted on 12/08/2008 10:00:47 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: freespirited

I don’t blame him for walking.

If liberalism is the new style, I’d walk too....


38 posted on 12/08/2008 10:01:09 AM PST by Tzimisce (http://groups.myspace.com/nailthemessiah)
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To: napscoordinator
This isn't about perfection. For the umpteenth time, this forum doesn't support liberals or liberalism.

In the GOP primaries, this forum opposed Rudy McRomney. PERIOD! The fact you need to be reminded of this shows you're just another sell out to the conservative cause.

39 posted on 12/08/2008 10:09:47 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: Reagan Man

I am unlike you who allowed Obama to win the election due to you inability to allow real conservatives like Tom Tancredo to be bashed because they don’t agree with you 100 percent of the time. Who mentioned the name Romney? In fact I have not mentioned his name at all while on this thread. Perhaps you are just guilty.


40 posted on 12/08/2008 10:20:03 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator
Are you aklways this emotional and confused?

Until Fred Thompson entered the GOP field, I supported Tancredo’s run for the nomination. That has nothing to do with his post-primary, off the wall endorsement of Willard the liberal. All things considered, I wish Tancredo would have remained in the House. Notwithstanding his choice of Romney.

Now, control yourself! LOL

41 posted on 12/08/2008 10:35:00 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: Reagan Man

I can’t win with you. lol. I actually am not trying to win but just explain that although I have not mentioned Romney in awhile because it is worthless as the 2012 election is not for awhile, you seem to mention him on EVERY thread there is. I guess I did start the debate tonight and I will say that it was a good time and you are right but I hate admitting it. lol.


42 posted on 12/08/2008 10:38:45 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator

Its critical that every opportunity to point out Romney’s life long support of liberal issues and liberal causes be taken advantage of. People who actually consider Willard a conservative, are dangerous to any future comeback of the GOP. Too have the GOP political apparatus roam in the wilderness for another 40 years, is not an option for conservatives.


43 posted on 12/08/2008 10:51:36 AM PST by Reagan Man ("In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.")
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To: penowa

Absolutely!


44 posted on 12/08/2008 10:54:25 AM PST by ElayneJ
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To: penowa

Absolutely!


45 posted on 12/08/2008 10:54:26 AM PST by ElayneJ
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To: penowa

And just for good measure - Absolutely! :)


46 posted on 12/08/2008 10:55:55 AM PST by ElayneJ
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To: Reagan Man

Romney will not be the candidate in 2012...no worries. I can’t even see people want any candidate from 2008...we need new blood...yes even I agree with this. lol. (Not that I won’t try and get under your skin from time to time. lol)


47 posted on 12/08/2008 10:59:33 AM PST by napscoordinator
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To: freespirited

I see Tancredo as the Congressional version of Jesse Helms. The man didn’t back down from anyone and it’s too bad the GOP went against him.


48 posted on 12/08/2008 11:01:47 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: freespirited

Adios to a Slick Willard toadie.


49 posted on 12/08/2008 6:15:17 PM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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To: Reagan Man

Tancredo led the fight but he just go tired of having to fight the leadership in BOTH parties. He slowed it down while he could .....and now?


50 posted on 12/11/2008 9:14:12 PM PST by TomasUSMC ( FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM)
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