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Tom Tancredo, Champion of Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric, to Retire

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Well, it was only a matter of time. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the fire-breathing founder of the House Immigration Reform Caucus is retiring from the House of Representatives. After a decade of achieving little besides anti-immigrant cheerleading, he’s decided to call it quits.

But not before a failed presidential bid last year. Tancredo’s Republican primary campaign was based — surprise, surprise — primarily on anti-immigrant rhetoric. Via Crooks and Liars:

”Look at what has happened to Miami,” the WorldNetDaily quotes Tancredo as saying in an interview. “It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you’re in the United States of America. You would certainly say you’re in a Third World country.”

 It’s a relief to know that, even for the Republican Party, his immigration views were too extreme. In an interview with the AssociatedPress, Tancredo stated:

“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.”

Yes Tom, were able to move the debate on immigration reform in this country.  Just not in the right direction. Before you take credit for a positive achievement, let’s take a lookat what happened in November:

According to a study conducted by America’s Voice, candidates for Congress who ran on immigration reform platforms in battleground races beat their enforcement only opponents in 20 of 22 races the ‘toss up”, “leans Republican” or “leans Democrat” according to the Cook Political Report. This includes 10 members of the Tancredo-founded House Immigration Reform Caucus, who lost their seats in competitive races. 

Talk about “full throttle on the wrong track.

Furthermore, Republican strategists and leaders agree that the party needs to stop with the anti-immigrant- and, quite frankly, anti-Hispanic- rhetoric if they want to remain viable for the next 20 years.

Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) stated on NBC’s Meet the Press:

” …the very divisive rhetoric of the immigration debate set a very bad tone for our brand as Republicans…there were voices within our party, frankly, which if they continue with that kind of rhetoric, anti-Hispanic rhetoric, that so much of it was heard, we’re going to be relegated to minority status.”

Karl Rove agrees , and stated in Newsweek:

“Hispanics dropped from 44 percent Republican in 2004 to 31 percent in 2008. The GOP won’t be a majority party if it cedes the young or Hispanics to Democrats. Republicans must find a way to support secure borders, a guest-worker program and comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens citizenship,  grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation. An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal. As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values. Whether we see gains in 2010 depends on it.”

So, as Tancredo touts his accomplishments during his 10-year career in the House of Representatives, let’s not forget the damage that his demagoguery has done to the Republican Party.  Not to mention immigrant workers and families, Hispanics, and all attempts to pass sensible immigration reform in the last decade. 

Wow, what a legacy!