Tancredo Rips McCain

What you find in the encyclopedia entry for “off the reservation,” as the Washington Post’s The Trail blog reports:

He may be the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, but John McCain has yet to heal all the wounds on his right flank.

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a failed presidential rival of McCain’s and an anti-illegal immigration gadfly, launched into the senator from Arizona for meeting in secret with Latino leaders last week in Chicago. One participant in the meeting emerged to criticize McCain for taking a tougher stand on illegal immigration on the campaign trail than the line he allegedly used behind closed doors. Now, Tancredo is taking up the cudgel in an open letter to his party’s presumptive nominee.

“Recently in Chicago, you had a closed door meeting with a group of Hispanic leaders,” he wrote. “Strangely, the closed door meeting was not on your official events calendar, no press was invited and no press release appears to have been issued. Yet, according to several news reports, you promised the group that you plan to pursue ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’ Senator, given your past sponsorship of amnesty legislation, such statements raise troubling questions. Are you planning to break a promise you made in February to postpone all other immigration reform legislation until we have first secured our borders?”

McCain has promised Republican lawmakers and activists that he will set aside his push to grant illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, at least until he can certify that the U.S. borders have been closed to illegal immigration. At the same time, he has tried to win back support from Hispanic voters who have fled the GOP since the party took up the immigration issue fervently in 2005. [Pols emphasis]

It’s a tough call for McCain: does he appease hardliners in his Party by backing off his previous support for comprehensive immigration reform, or does he gain more by reaching out to Hispanics and others disgusted by Tancredo’s brand of racially-charged “nativism?” Pitfalls either way, but we think McCain’s nomination proves ipso facto that the immigration hardliners are all offensive bluster with diminishing influence. McCain doesn’t need them, but he may be trying to cater to both sides of this issue–which could wind up alienating both sides.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. parsingreality says:

    …why he had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t make it to Denver………


    • Go Blue says:

      From the article above it says:

      One participant in the meeting emerged to criticize McCain for taking a tougher stand on illegal immigration on the campaign trail than the line he allegedly used behind closed doors.

      As the new Times/Bloomberg poll shows his continued double talk on issue after issue will only further divide McCain from the republican base

      McCain suffers from a pronounced “passion gap,” especially among conservatives who usually give Republican candidates a reliable base of support. Among voters who described themselves as conservative, 58% said they would vote for McCain; 15% said they would vote for Obama, 14% said they would vote for someone else, and 13% said they were undecided. By contrast, 79% of voters who described themselves as liberal said they planned to vote for Obama.

      “I’m a Republican . . . but I don’t like some of the things McCain voted for in the Senate, especially immigration,” said poll respondent Mary Dasen, 77, a retired United Way manager in Oscoda, Mich., who said she was undecided. “There’s a big chance I might stay home and not vote.”

      Even among voters who said they planned to vote for McCain, more than half said they were “not enthusiastic” about their chosen candidate; 45% said they were enthusiastic. By contrast, 81% of Obama voters said they were enthusiastic, and almost half called themselves “very enthusiastic,” a level of zeal found in 13% of McCain’s supporters.

      With Dobson and Tancredo opposing McCain in Colorado, the West is looking better for the Democrats everyday.  

  2. RedGreen says:

    Since that worked so well for McCain navigating the shoals of crazy evangelical preachers …

    Dick Morris must be spinning in his grave. McCain’s strange brand of reverse triangulation seems intent on shutting out, rather than co-opting, both sides of every controversial issue he can find.

    At this rate, McCain will only be able to count on disaffected Hillary voters.

    • Go Blue says:

      While some disaffected Hillary supporters are shifting, the overwhelming are going to the presumptive Democratic nominee:

      But the great majority of Clinton voters have transferred their allegiance to Obama, the poll found, with 11% of Clinton voters defecting to McCain.

      while on the on hand McCain is having a difficult time keeping his party together:

      “McCain is not capturing the full extent of the conservative base the way President Bush did in 2000 and 2004,” said Times Poll Director Susan Pinkus. “Among conservatives, evangelicals and voters who identify themselves as part of the religious right, he is polling less than 60%.

      I know this doesn’t follow the media’s race horse narrative, but it’s NOT the Democratic Party that is having a hard time coming together. Even after one of our nations most historic hard fought primary, the Democratic party is rallying behind the nominee even while the Republican nominee had months to do so, he can’t rally the conservative base around his candidacy.  

      • Danny the Red (hair) says:

        Though our coalition is diverse in color and creed and there are still a few nagging issues that divide the the city from the country and the coasts from the plains, our party makes sense.

        The modern GOP has never made sense.  The marriage of Mammon and God, with a sprinkling of xenaphobia and libertarianism, is an unnatural alliance.

    • Buckshot says:

      Dick Morris must be spinning in his grave.

      Is Dick Morris dead?  I could’ve sworn I saw a clip of him on a talk show in the last week or so.  

      He did look rather like a vampire (and he’s certainly without a soul) so I guess that could explain him sleeping in a coffin.

      • One Queer Dude says:

           He just looks that way.  He’s an interesting character though.  I recall he once confessed to having the “hots” for H.R.C.

          There probably aren’t a lot of men who will make that admission.

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    The Republican party has all these fault lines running through it and this is just one of them. The big problem is that Reagan, Bush, Rove, etc were able to make it work and they’re all gone now.

    I don’t think the problem is McCain, I think it’s that this break-up between the factors was going to happen and McCain just happens to be the candidate when it does break.

    • Ben Stein's $$ says:

      The biggest problem in the GOP right now is that our leadership vacuum has allowed “folks” like Tancredo to bubble to the top of the food chain.  Without anyone to put him in check, he’s been able to capitalize on the worst segments of our party, the folks who are afraid of their own shadows.

  4. Arvadonian says:

    to the Tancredo lovers who are delegates to the Rep Convo…especially the one that wants him paired with Jesus on a ticket (Jesus, of course, would be Tom’s VP).


  5. One Queer Dude says:

    If his supporters were to revive the Know Nothing Party and petition onto the ballot this Nov., how many states could Tancredo possibly qualify for at this point?

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