FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Return of Tancredo

Tom Tancredo is back in the news. Tom is a man whose ego is so much larger than his intellect, that if he were a touch brighter he would be embarrassed to put either on public display.

Tom is in the news in Colorado because he demanded that both of the Republican candidates competing in the upcoming primary to be the Republican candidate for governor in Colorado withdraw from the race by high noon on July 26.

Tom’s demand was triggered by revelations that one candidate, Scott McGinnis had been paid $300,000 by a foundation for articles he had written that were largely plagiarized and the other, Dan Maes, using campaign funds reimbursed himself $44,837 for mileage for one year suggesting that, at federal mileage reimbursement rates, he’d travelled 90,000 miles around the state campaigning. (Relevant authorities did not believe him and he was fined $17,500 for that and other campaign violations.) Dan and Scott failed to withdraw and Tom is running under the banner of the Constitution Party that has, as one of the planks in its platform, the retaking of the Panama Canal. Now that he is a candidate it pays to remember the Tom Tancredo of yore.

When Tom ran for Congress in 1998 he said no elected official should hold office for more than three terms since we want to introduce “people into the system who think of government service as a temporary endeavor, not as a career.” He won. In an interview with the Rocky Mountain News in May, 2001, he commented on his pledge to serve no more than 3 terms saying: “I have no plans to break the pledge. It’s my intent to serve out my three terms if I’m reelected, and that’s it. . . . . When conquering heroes were brought back to Rome after a successful campaign, there was always a large crowd yelling his [sic] name or throwing rose petals. But by Roman law, a slave had to stand behind him in the chariot while holding the laurel wreath over his head, and had to keep saying to the general: ‘All fame is fleeting.’ Term limits are like that guy standing behind you.” Less than 17 months later Mr. Tancredo said to the guy standing behind him: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” The guy complied. The Lord stepped in in his place.

On September 26, 2002, Mr. Tancredo said the Lord had absolved him of his pledge and he might serve for more than three terms. He said his career was now in “God’s hands.” Talking to the same newspaper that had printed his pledge only 16 months earlier, he said: “You can characterize it as breaking a pledge.” Explaining the Lord’s involvement in his political career he said: “I believe I’m doing the honorable thing [breaking his pledge] by telling [supporters] exactly how I feel and what has happened to me over time. I do put it in God’s hands and I say, ‘Lord, I hope I’m doing what you want.'” In mid-April he announced he was running for a fourth term.

Mr. Tancredo does not place full responsibility for breaking his promise on the Lord. The voters, he thinks, approved it. Before the 2002 election, he sent a letter to supporters telling them he was abandoning his pledge to serve no more than three terms saying he thought ” term limits were a bad idea. There are certain issues you cannot do effectively [if you observe term limits.” He said he’d stay in office as long as he felt useful. Since he was reelected in 2002 he believed his broken pledge was of no matter to voters. He equated reelection with forgiveness.

In endorsing him in 1998, the Rocky Mountain News observed that Mr. Tancredo had been a leader of the term limit movement. It said: “We don’t expect him to start backpedaling like Rep. Scott McInnis” [a Congressman from Colorado who had reneged on his promise to serve no more than three terms and is now running for governor.] Mr. Tancredo didn’t backpedal. He got off the bike and pushed it over the cliff.

If Tom ends up running against Scott McInnis, the Republican candidate with the apparent lead for the Republican Party’s nomination, he and Scott may not agree on all the issues but they will agree on at least one thing. If prior pledges impinge on future action, ignore the prior pledges. Both Tom and Scott promised to honor 3-year term limits for members of Congress. Both men ignored their pledges when they figured out that if they honored their pledges they would be forced to leave Congress. Scott served six terms and Tom served five terms. What an honor it would be for Colorado to have one of those promise-breakers serve as governor. Who knows what other promises he would find to break?

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI can be e-mailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail