April 4, 2007

Why Tom Tancredo Is Not A Serious Candidate

Tom Tancredo announced his intention to run for President this week, which initiated the question of credibility. After all, Tancredo is mostly known for his hard-line views on illegal immigration and his threat to bomb Mecca, and most candidacies of sitting Congressmen have amounted to little more than vanity tours. Tancredo appears to have answered that in an interview with Hugh Hewitt and his reaction afterwards:

Of over 25 radio programs that Tancredo was on yesterday, it was Hugh Hewitt Show that had the chance to illuminate an issue that millions of Americans support us on, but instead he chose to educate Tancredo about the merits of supporting an illegal alien amnesty bill.

After talking with Congressman Tancredo he told me his response to Hewitt's show: "Why would we come back on his show? I know it makes good radio to be engaged in an hour for a yelling match with him, but it is not a good use of our time. We will not come back on the program."

Yow! I've listened to Hugh for years, and Hugh doesn't yell. He's not Michael Savage, who actually is probably closer to Tancredo politically. Hugh asks tough questions of his guests, and he presses when he believes them to be evasive, but he never loses his cool.

Here's the part that got Tancredo steamed:

HH: ... [L]et me move on. GOP question, just two years and three months ago, Tom, you endorsed an American Independent Party candidate over the Republican nominee in a special election out here in Orange County. Is that material to a campaign for the GOP nomination, that you threw the Republican overboard just two years ago?

TT: Well, I’ll tell you, I’ve said this before, that issues matter to me greatly. And you know, I have been a Republican all of my life, Hugh. And I mean, back in high school, when we had a…I remember a mock election with…this is in 1960, at Holy Family High School, had a mock election for president of the United States, and this was in a Catholic school, okay?

HH: But Congressman, that’s nice, but two years ago, you went AIG.

TT: …surprise…well…

HH: You threw the Republican overboard.

That sounds like a fair question, especially since conservatives have pounced on Mitt Romney's 1992 endorsement of his friend Paul Tsongas. It's a lot more recent than the Tsongas endorsement, and Tancredo had to go way out of his way for the AIG candidate; Tancredo represents Colorado, which is not exactly close to Orange County, CA, where I lived most of my life. Someone who wants to lead the GOP to the White House needs to answer why he kneecapped the Republican candidate in an election in 2004.

The reaction afterwards speaks more to Tancredo's seriousness than his answer on the show. If Tancredo can't work with a man like Hugh Hewitt, exactly who can he handle? I can understand refusing to appear on Keith Olbermann's show or on Hardball, but Hugh Hewitt? Where does Tancredo think he can win enough votes to capture the nomination?

If Tancredo can't stand the little bit of heat he got from Hugh, then he'd better stay out of the kitchen, the hallway, the living room, and the foyer. (via CQ reader Kal Rez)


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I've never listened to Hugh Hewitt before. I understand that he is considered a god by some in the blogosphere, but I've never really read him that I can remember. What I have heard about Hewitt is that he is... [Read More]

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Comments (15)

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:15 AM

Tancredo lives in a little bubble with the rest of his fervent supporters. They have one, or two issues, and have very little clue about how the rest of the country lists the priorities of the nation, because they don't care about other people, or the Republican Party. Everything is about Mexico, and immigration, and trade. They think one step ahead. They never think two or three steps ahead. In my opinion, Tancredo is just a buffoon.

Posted by brightwinger [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:28 AM

I'm not a supporter of Tancredo's candidacy, much prefering Fred Thompson. That said, if you'll visit Hugh Hewitt's site about the aftermath of that interview, you'll see that the people who heard the interview were almost universally CONDEMNED Hugh for his interview, it was that bad.

Many of those who found serious problems with Hugh's behavior were also not Tancredo supporters.

Hugh blew it BIG TIME. His interview was horrendous. while Hugh didn't yell ( I heard the interview) his questioning was so obnoxuosly over the top that it might have felt like he was yelling to Tancredo. It was more like hectoring.

At one long section of the interview, Hugh put himself firmly in the psycho category when he tried to blame Tancredo for (a) the Democrat victories in the '06 elections, and (b) the Kennedy amnesty bill.

Hugh's behavior was politically obscene. He reminded me of the chief investigator of Joan d'Arc.

It's no wonder so many who heard the interview have advised Hugh to apologize for his horrendous behavior.

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:33 AM

A buffoon in a safe seat.

Which he won't say he's declining to seek again in 2008, btw. How serious is a Presidential candidate who won't even give up his House seat for it? Why would anyone give campaign money to a fellow with that shallow level of commitment?

Tancredo is a fringe congressman who appeals to fringe voters on a single issue. At least Dennis Kucinich gets out there on multiple issues, like his bill to ban space-based mind control rays.

If Hewitt deserves any criticism for this interview, it's for wasting so much of his listeners' time with a loser like Tancredo.

Posted by jiHymas@himivest.com [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 11:53 AM

HH (as cited by Cap'n Ed) : You threw the Republican overboard.

Cap'n Ed : That sounds like a fair question

I must say, Cap'n, your ideas of "fair questions" differ substantially from my own, assuming that by "fair" you mean "neutral".

Granted, Tancredo didn't even attempt to address the issue, but neither party particularly impresses me.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:15 PM

brightwinger wrote: "Hugh blew it BIG TIME. His interview was horrendous."

Hewitt showed Tancredo why the congressman isn't ready for the presidential big leagues. Tancredo tried to evade some very simple questions (by filibustering.) There are no overly hard questions if the congressman is willing to answer honestly. Sometimes the answer is embarrassing, or the answer is classified and off limits, and sometimes the answer is "I don't know," but there's always an answer.

I don't answer all questions I'm asked, but I'm not running for President.

Posted by james23 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm not a Tancredo guy, but Hugh's "interview" of him was shameful, and truly reminded me of something Chris Matthews would have done. In a nutshell--and that is where this accusation belonged--Hugh blamed Tancredo for the McCain-Kennedy-Bush Amesty bill. I like Hugh most of the time, really like him, but he was deranged during this interview. Made himself look very bad. He lost it, and lost.

Posted by Mark1971 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:37 PM

Of course Tancredo is not a serious candidate. Tancredo himself has said as much. He just wants to make sure illegal immigration gets attention in the primaries. As for Hugh Hewitt, I am through with his show and his blog. He has never been anything but a Republican Party brown-noser anyway.

Posted by RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:48 PM

Some people just don't like winning. What can you do?

Posted by crosspatch [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:50 PM

I imagine Tancredo will be trotted out in all the liberal media as a "typical" conservative candidate. They love to show caricatures as being typical in order to farther slant their view that liberalism is moderate and reasonable while the right is a bunch of extreme nuts., And I find Tancredo to be an extreme nut. I have voted Republican in every election of my life but I would vote for a Democrat before I ever voted for Tancredo. The far right base might love him but pandering to your base is a certain way to lose a national election.

Having said that, he could have some use. He could be used at the convention where he would offer an endorsement of the real candidate and instruct his followers to support whoever that might be in order to get that portion of the base on board with the national candidate. Other than that, I see no purpose in his running except to further dilute the Republican money pool.

Posted by C4 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 12:54 PM

Hewitt had a chance to probe Tancredo on serious policy issues, instead he engaged in shallow rhetoric and gotcha journalism. We have an opportunity with the internet to move beyond sound bite politics and illuminate real policy debates and substantive differences between candidates. Instead we get small minded analysis like Hewitts interview, Gingrichs negative poll numbers, Thompson being an actor, etc. Pathetic. How about illuminating the ideas of the candidates instead of mindless horse race analysis. Captain, raise the bar and give the American people the opportunity to make this incredibly important decision based on substance. Horse race sound bite politics should be thrown into the dust bin of American history. Instead all to many bloggers are perpetuating this garbage.

Posted by BoWowBoy [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 7:06 PM

Sounds to me like Tancredo tried to answer the question ....when he said "issues matter to me greatly" .....and ........more than candidates do (and obviously in this case more than the party as well).

I guess Mr. Hewitt didn't understand this ....or ..was hellbent on making his obtuse statement (he probably rehearsed it) about throwing the republican candidate overboard.

Ohhh ....only if we had only thrown a few more of them overboard (George W. Bush) .....the Republican Party ...may not be in the pickle they are in now.

btw .......... the republican who was thrown overboard .......was he running against Jim Gilchrist .......?? Gilchrist was the true conservative candidate in that race.

Posted by Petit Bourgeois [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 4, 2007 9:38 PM

Tancredo rates 92 out of 100 on the conservative rating scale of the American Conservative Union--which is more than any of your RINO candidates. Hewitt does not have a rating, because he is a party hack (party before principle or country).

Moreover, Tancredo's plank on immigration comport with 70% of Americans. The only fringe characters I see are the commenters here trying to permit our country to be colonized by mexico with another amnesty scheme.

Lastly, where was Hewitt when the only Republican on the Los Angeles mayoral ticket, Walter Moore, was thrown overboard by the CRP?

I'm glad the Cap'n left the OC. We don't need your RINO-neocon agenda here. I expect the GOP to have their heads handed to them come election time.

I expect this comment to be deleted, because censorship is the way of the RINOs--since their open-border circus clown ideas won't stand up to scrutiny.

Posted by Adjoran [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 12:55 AM

Wow, Ed - you have a "RINO-neocon agenda" here?

Dang, and I didn't even know you were Jewish . . .

For the "Titanic Truth," visit http://maddox.xmission.com/

Posted by younger brother [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 5:24 PM

As we approach the political season, I think we'll find that Tancredo will make himself available for interviews with radio types more often than any other Republican nominee. Duncan Hunter will probably to likewise.

Tancredo probably won't waste his time going on Air America or Hugh Hewitt, there isn't much to gain there.

The Hugh Hewitt Republicans need to be thrown overboard in the primaries. We can start with Hugh's favorite Republican, and frequent guest on his show, Norm Coleman.

Posted by El Presidente [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 5, 2007 7:39 PM

It is interesting to see some characterize Tancredo's issue as a "fringe" issue. He may be a long-shot Presidential bid, which takes away from some of the "gravitas" he has, but the issue itself is important. I'm curious to see where people who believe illegal immigration is not a problem actually live. For people in Denver and the southwest, it is a huge problem, unless one thinks that having large numbers of the population here illegally, accepting taxpayer subsidized benefits, encroaching on language, and other "benefits" are really great.

I am actually a Giuliani supporter, but I'd like to see more immigration visibility on the GOP side. Those who flack for the party above principle serve neither. I won't support blindly due to party affiliation (though I will never switch to the Dems).

Don't conflate the candidate's position with their status as a candidate. Tancredo's position is held by a number of people with bipartisan support, not an extreme fringe.