Readers of these pages are well aware of several things:
First, I've said in the past that I think the governor's race is unwinnable by anyone but John Hickenlooper as long as Dan Maes remains in the race -- my assumption being that Dan Maes had no chance and would inevitably do worse than Tom Tancredo, an assumption I made before Dan Maes' Serpico moment.
Second, I've said that I do not share Tom Tancredo's hard-line views on immigration, particularly his desire to curb legal immigration, a policy which if enacted would, in my opinion, damage America's economic growth in the long run and which has a certain xenophobic, anti-American feeling about it.
I'd like to offer a couple of updates to these positions.
So, first, while it remains unlikely that Hickenlooper loses while Maes stays in, the race between Tancredo and Hick has tightened enough after Maes' police career fiasco and his inability to raise any money that a Tancredo victory shouldn't be completely written off.
Second, while my reaction to Tancredo's views on immigration haven't changed a bit, it needs to be pointed out that (as Arizona is learning), there are substantial limits on a state government's ability to impact illegal immigration policy. And a governor has zero ability to alter legal immigration policy, which is where my real disagreement with Tancredo lies.
While I have made clear in the past that Tom Tancredo is my preferred choice in this race, I said so while also saying that conservatives should abandon efforts and donations in this race and focus on races that can be won.
Although it remains a longshot, I have come to believe that this race can be won, in large part because of Dan Maes' utter implosion.
Given poll numbers on the wider election which now have a GOP-controlled House of Representatives trading over 75% for the first time, and a Dem-controlled Senate trading under 50% for the first time, the "wave election" effect could be strong enough to carry Tancredo over Hickenlooper if the near-final polls going into the voting had Tancredo down by perhaps 5 points or less.
Beating Hickenlooper is not impossible if Maes supporters take their own egos or oversensitive views of "process" out of their election-time decision and remember that the purpose of an election is good government, whether your view is short-term or long-term.
A couple of other points to be made:
Some people assume that Tom Tancredo's hard-line views on immigration must mean that he's a "statist" or somehow not a champion of the free market. As Ben DeGrow has pointed out, that's a difficult charge to sustain against a man who was, I believe, a co-founder and early president of the Independence Institute.
Someone wonder whether Tancredo's pounding-the-table about Americans losing jobs to illegal immigrants amounts to his saying there is a "right to a job", certainly a socialist approach. That, however, is not the inference I take. I read Tancredo as complaining, with good reason, about tax-paying Americans losing jobs to non-tax-paying illegals. As noted above, I am somewhat troubled by Tancredo's desire to curb legal immigration, in part to protect jobs, a view which I believe makes no sense and would cause much more harm that good. But let's be frank: as governor, Tancredo would have zero impact on legal immigration policy -- and, perhaps unfortunately, not very much impact on illegal immigration enforcement, given the opposition of the federal government.
More importantly for me, I recall thinking during the early debates of the 2008 Republican presidential primary campaign how Tancredo and Ron Paul were the only two candidates repeatedly to reference the US Constitution in their answers to policy questions. I was not supporting Tancredo in that race (in large part because everyone, including Tom, knew that he couldn't win the nomination), and was not looking for a reason to be impressed with him. But I was impressed, and those couple of performances have stuck with me, not least because of how unusual it is to see a politician who remembers that the Constitution is supposed to mean something.
Also, when I received an e-mail from my friend State Senator Greg Brophy that he would be tapped to serve as the head of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources under a Tancredo administration, that spoke volumes to me. Brophy is one of the smartest guys on the Colorado political scene, a champion of free markets, and a real "man of the land" (as a long-time farmer). He should be extremely well suited to run a department which has for too long been used as a political tool rather than confined to its proper purposes of managing our state's public lands consistent with the proper balance between liberty and "public property".
One can only imagine the sort of environmentalist wacko hack whom the radical "green" Denver Mayor would install in that position. Hick's pick would undoubtedly be someone whose primary goal is, like Hick himself (and Bill Ritter, based on his actions), to attack the energy industry which provides -- or would provide if Hickenritter weren't in charge -- much needed jobs and tax revenue to the state. Remember, Hick is the guy who thinks Van Jones, an overt hater of capitalism, is "a rock star."
Regarding the most important issue of the day, Tancredo recognizes that government is not suffering from a lack of revenue but rather an excess of spending. His web site's "Issues" page begins, as it should, with the issues of jobs and the destructive impact of over-burdensome taxes and regulations, and then moves to "fiscal responsibility."
These are the issues that our next governor will primarily be dealing with -- even a governor known to be as interested in immigration policy as Tancredo is.
There is no doubt in my mind that Tom Tancredo understands the value of limited government, low taxes, and a state whose primary role regarding business is to get out of the way. And there is no doubt that he understands it better than the other major candidates (though I'm not sure Dan Maes can any longer be called a "major candidate.")
Putting all this together, I feel compelled to modify my position on this race.
While fully acknowledging my differences with Tom Tancredo on his signature issue of immigration, I strongly endorse him in the race for Colorado Governor. I can, in good conscience, and do urge conservatives and libertarians to support this man in this race and to try to help him win whether it's through offering your time, your money, or both.
I have, just prior to writing this note on Saturday morning, made a contribution to Tancredo's campaign. My money is where my mouth is.
Tom Tancredo is not perfect, but we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good -- much less of the very, very good. He believes in liberty and capitalism. He's taken a bold and principled position for the legalization of marijuana, not because he supports drug use but because he recognizes the horrific destructive violence caused by drug profits which are only possible through the drug's illegality. (I believe that although pot is a cheap drug, so much of it is sold that it represents half of all Mexican drug cartel profits.) Legalizing the drug would be a massive blow against those murderous cartels.
Most critically, Tancredo understands the importance of cutting government spending and taxes as the key steps toward rejuvenating our state's economy.
NOBODY whose last name is not Maes should be voting for Dan Maes -- and I'm not even sure about them. He is unqualified, somewhere between a misleader and a fraud, and most importantly he can't win.
Like it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Maes supporter, a vote for Dan Maes is a vote for John Hickenlooper. This election is too important to the state of Colorado, in particular because of the impending redistricting, a bad outcome of which will damage the Republican Party and hopes for good government in Colorado far more than a few years of the GOP being a "minor party" would if Dan Maes gets less than 10% of the vote. To put it another way, I don't think Dan Maes will get under 10% of the vote, but if I could make that happen -- with the result that Tancredo beats Hickenlooper -- I would gladly do so. I encourage Republicans and liberty-minded Independent voters to do their part along these lines.
In other words, having a Republican governor for THESE four years is worth risking minor party status for four years, despite the clear negatives of such a status. Redistricting is simply too important, as is the possibility of the next governor naming one or more State Supreme Court Justices.
Again, at this late date, hoping it's not too late, and with my money where my mouth is, I encourage you to do all you can to help Tom Tancredo become the next Governor of Colorado. I'd also emphasize that talking to friends and colleagues is free and takes very little time. In a close election, if each Tancredo supporter could try to create even just one other Tancredo supporter, that could be enough to save us from four years of Colorado's own blank-slate anti-capitalist green radical. I know that sounds a lot like Barack Obama, but I'm talking about John Hickenlooper. Their similarities are not coincidental, nor should they be dismissed when considering whom to vote for. Hickenlooper will do to the state what Obama has done to the nation.
While I was not willing to support John McCain even while knowing just what Barack Obama was and would be, Tom Tancredo is a far superior candidate and person to John McCain and today I endorse him without reservation or hesitation.
Finally, I would ask that those of you who simply cannot be swayed to support Tom Tancredo for one reason or another vote instead for a Libertarian or Independent candidate. Dan Maes is not worthy of a vote, and the last decade or more of people voting for candidates simply based on that candidate's party affiliation has proven itself, at least at the federal level, to lead to complacency, corruption, and economic disaster.
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