President Bush, in his SOTU message last week, renewed his determination to “resolve the status” of the millions of illegals already here in the United States “without animosity and without amnesty.” Its a clever line and a ‘technically’ correct interpretation of the president’s proposal, but some in the audience that night see the president’s plan for what it is:
“The President has chosen once again to trot out the same old pig, albeit with a slightly different shade of lipstick. If there is one thing the President seems intent on demonstrating to the American public again and again is that he is utterly tone deaf.”
That was Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo’s response and a feeling shared, as he indicates, by the vast majority of “legal” Americans as well as by many, if not most of those immigrants who are here legally but only after ‘jumping through all the hoops’ and waiting patiently for their documentation.
Team Tancredo 2008
Tom Tancredo has announced his intentions to run for the Republican nomination for President and, in my ‘grade book’, he has three great position (immigration, Social Security and Taxes), a couple others that need some work and one failing grade (here in “The Center” we issue ‘reality-based’ grades).
While Tom Tancredo is best known for his tenacity in the area of illegal immigration and while that is a top issue for him, he is NOT a one-issue candidate. On the Internet site: “Team Tancredo 2008 for a secure America” set up to promote his candidacy, Tancredo lists his positions on some major issues.
Immigration: Needless to say Tancredo opposes the President’s “guest-worker program” but does not call for an unworkable mass deportation. He lays his position out in two parts:
Part 1: The heart of Tancredo’s position is the reduction of illegal immigration and the attrition of those already here by removing the incentive for illegals to come and stay here: jobs. Anyone who knowingly hires illegal workers is already violating the law but sometimes it is very difficult (but never impossible) for the employer to know if a potential employee is really here legally. If current laws are rigidly enforced and the INS provides the proper tools for employers, the employers will overcome that ‘very difficult’ obstacle or face fines that could put them out of business.
(To be fair, I have to note that President Bush DID call for the enforcement and the ‘tools” for employers in his SOTU address; the question is why does the president feel the need to supplement this nearly sure-fire solution to the problem of illegal immigration with a “temporary worker program?)
Part 2: Tancredo also proposes that “America must also reexamine its legal immigration policies.” Specifically he calls for reducing legal immigration by 75% which, he feels, “will allow the newcomers to assimilate.”
I give Tancredo an “A” in Immigration — it would be an A+ but I think if the first part of his proposal worked as it should the reduction in legal immigration need not be that drastic and may not even need to be changed.
Defense: Tancredo also ties immigration issues, specifically border security (or lack of same), in with his defense position; and, of course, that is right on the money. The next terrorist attack could be perpetrated by someone who came here on a student or tourist visa or by someone who just walked across our northern or southern border.
Unfortunately Tancredo’s positions on: the Iraq war (except for the fact that he initially voted for it); on Iran; on Syria; on North Korea; on terrorism in general; and on the U.S.’s current tendency to become ‘big brother’ to the world are not mentioned. His positions, like his candidacy, are brand new so time will tell where he stands.
I’ll give Tancredo a “C+” on this one (it shows potential) and hope he will fill in the blanks.
Tancredo believes that “control over the education of our children must be in the hands of the parents.” To that end, he supports tax credits that will allow the parents to choose the best educational vehicle for their children be it, in his words: “private, parochial, or home school.” Tancredo also states his opposition to “increased federal involvement in education” as the reason he voted against the No Child Left Behind Act.
He gets a “B-” on this one for lack of vision. In an ideal world, Tancredo’s positions on education would be great but he seems to ignore the public school option — an option that can’t be dealt with so cavalierly. Public schools for most Americans are not an option, they are the only choice — even with tax incentives. As to federal involvement in education, I’ll agree that the federal government’s involvement should be minimal but it must provide incentive to the states to improve and maximize the public education option — that was the intention (if not the reality) of No Child Left Behind.
Tancredo understands the problems with the current social security program and is an advocate of “individually-controlled, voluntary personal retirement accounts.”
Definitely an “A+” on that one in my grade book.
Tancredo supports “tax relief” and understands that high taxes are a symptom of “a more serious underlying problem.” That problem is the lack of fiscal restraint by the legislature and the fact (though he doesn’t mention it here) that the president has never once vetoed a spending bill. Tancredo is also a proponent of either “a national sales tax or a flat tax.”
Another “A” in my book. It would be an A+ but I see the ONLY answer to the tax problem to be a “consumption tax:” you get your entire paycheck and only pay taxes that are attached to your purchases. Sure, everything will cost more but that will be a great incentive for people in the lower income brackets (who will now have more ‘cash-in-hand’) to make smart choices about what they buy and, consequently, it will give incentives to retailers to keep their prices competitive.
Tancredo states that he is “a devout Christian, father, and grandfather.” He also comes out strongly in favor of “constitutional amendments that respect marriage and life.”
Here’s an “F” for Rep. Tancredo’s report card. I’m happy for him if he’s satisfied with his religion but, (as you can read in my recent post: “Conservatism With a Prefix . . . Isn’t”) anyone in favor of changing the Constitution to reflect his or her personal/religious views fails in my class.
Rep. Tancredo’s final grade is a “B-” which isn’t bad but hopefully he’ll do his homework and bring that up closer to an “A.”
NewsMax.com: Tancredo: Congress ‘Hell-Bent’ on Mass Amnesty
Magic City Morning Star: McCain, Giuliani, Romney: Three Stooges
Tom Tancredo Info.: Tom Tancredo 2008 for a secure America
From the blogosphere:
Praise from the “Political Cowboy”: The Dream Ticket for the GOP
And derision from “Big Ink”: Tanc Commander