It all started with the Tancredo-Rove feud. In April 2002, Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo received a phone call from Karl Rove. Tancredo had just authored an op-ed for the Washington Times that completely excoriated President George W. Bush’s immigration policy. At the end of a twenty-minute rant, Tancredo alleges that Rove ended the conservation with the old, ‘You will never darken the steps of the White House again’ threat.
Tancredo used the criticism to propel himself into the forefront of the anti-immigration movement. He has also manipulated his intense dislike of Karl Rove and President George W. Bush into a groundswell of support that comes from many sources. All of them claim to be conservative, and most of them claiming, falsely it appears, to be Republican. I have long suspected and feared that Tom Tancredo, a Republican, would manipulate this support into an Oval Office run, even though, for months he has staunchly said he was not planning to do so.
On January 16, over at the American Spectator’s Prowler, they officially ‘outed’ a few of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo's (R) more colorful donors. Tancredo, who has become a conservative bastion of closed borders, God, apple pie, Truth, Justice, and the American Way, has a perfect score from the American Conservative Union. As part of the ACU’s scoring, social and cultural issues are weighed. For conservatives, social issues include anti-abortion advocacy. Tancredo’s voting record is strictly anti-abortion, which contrasts mightily with his close personal association with John Tanton and Tancredo’s 100% rating by the Christian Coalition.
Anti-Immigration Connections and Support
According to the Federal Election Commission, from 1998-2006 Tom Tancredo’s election campaigns have received something like $5500 from John Tanton in individual donations. Tanton’s wife, Mary, is the president of the US Immigration Reform PAC. During this same time frame, Tancredo has received nearly $16,000 from Tanton-related PACS. This past election cycle Tancredo also received $1000 from the Minuteman PAC. During this same time frame, the Minuteman Pac also donated $10,000 to unsuccessful GOP Congressional candidate Randy Graf in Arizona. Congressman Tancredo campaigned for and endorsed Graf. Graf was also endorsed by white supremacist David Duke. Tancredo also took money from anti-abortion PACs.
The Godfather of Anti-Immigration
All of these numbers are meaningless, unless one knows just who John Tanton is. Tanton is considered the ‘godfather of anti-immigration’. A believer in strict population control bordering on eugenics, Tanton is one of the stalwarts of the pro-abortion Planned Parenthood organization. This alone gives the Tancredo–Tanton alliance something of an odd couple appearance until one digs even deeper.
John Tanton tried to take over the Sierra Club a few years ago and turn it into a serious anti-immigration and anti-population growth organization. Environmental stalwarts of the organization discovered his plans and were able to thwart them. Tanton packed up and took his game elsewhere, founding FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. He also founded a publishing company, Social Contract Press, which is known for its racist, white nationalist, and anti-immigration editorial stance. He went on to found a spider’s web of anti-immigration organizations including US English, Numbers USA, US Inc., and the Center for Immigration Studies. Tanton has also donated over $48,000 to an anti-immigration group called Defend Colorado Now.
According to IRS filings, from the years 1988 to 1994, FAIR received nearly $1.3 million in grants from its parent organization, The Pioneer Fund. The Pioneer Fund was chartered in 1937 to promote study on “heredity and eugenics”. According to various sources, Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws were inspired by the work of Harry Laughlin, who worked with Wickliffe Draper (who eventually founded Rockwell International) who endowed the organization. There is a paper trail between the work of the two men and Nazi scientists whose work became part of Hitler’s racial theories. Laughlin received a degree from the Nazi-controlled University of Heidelberg three months before the Pioneer Fund was created. In 1935 Draper attended a “Population Conference” in Berlin in the company of an American scientist who publicly saluted Hitler. According to Paul A. Lombardo, who authored a paper on the subject, "[today] men with Nazi sympathies began the Pioneer Fund; their patently eugenic aspirations continue to guide Pioneer today.” Over the years the Pioneer Fund has taken great pains to dispute these charges.
Questionable UltraRight Wing Associates
Other associates of Tancredo and supporters of his extreme anti-immigration views include Peter Brimelow of VDARE. In Tancredo's words (June 17, 2003):
Finally, when I was asked about the genesis of the name "Vdare," I replied truthfully that I did not know. … Nonetheless, I can say that I was aware of editor Peter Brimelow's solid credentials as a professional journalist, and I had no reason to believe that this online magazine is anything but a legitimate contributor to the vast library of resources on this vital issue. After looking over Vdare's recent work, I have not changed this opinion…
Brimelow’s claim to respectability is the fact that once upon a time he edited Forbes Magazine. Twin brother, John is known as an ex-neo-Nazi.
There is Jared Taylor of American Renaissance Magazine. His most recent article is entitled, "Do We Need More Hispanics". Taylor controls an organization called The New Century Foundation. Speakers at his conferences have included Gordon Lee Baum of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Attendees have included Don Black who operates the neo-Nazi site Stormfront and National Alliance leader Kevin Alfred Storm.
What a Nut!
There are times when Tom Tancredo simply lobs a pitch right at you. In November he appeared at a conservative gathering in West Palm Beach that featured Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. While there, Tancredo proceeded to call Miami a third world country. In an attempt to smooth things over, he then decided to proclaim Miami the Murder Capitol of the World! Naturally the outgoing Governor had to defend his state. After another zinger fired by Tancredo, Jeb Bush commented, “What a nut.” This was just one of Tancredo’s little ‘breakouts’ from reality.
BBQed in SC
On September 9, while barn-storming South Carolina he appeared at a barbecue sponsored by the immigration reform group, Americans Have Had Enough. Listed as their honorary chairman, Tancredo appeared at the function, held at the South Carolina State Museum. The event was co-sponsored by the SC chapter of the League of the South, a one time ‘respectable’ organization that supported some very good historical research about the South. Unfortunately the League of the South has been hijacked by individuals who might be more comfortable in white robes and little pointy hats than three-piece suits. By the time Tancredo arrived at the State Museum, the meeting room was bedecked in Confederate flags.
As a former resident of South Carolina I understand the Southerner’s need to fly the old stars and bars once in awhile and to sing "Dixie". Unfortunately the whole issue has been politicized by both sides to the point where it just isn’t worth it. What was once a matter of just plain stubbornness, and a determination not to let ‘liberals come down from the North and tell us how to do things’ has now been co-opted by the most unsavory kind of racists and white supremacists. They have become such an embarrassment no self-respecting Southerner now associates with the trappings of ‘The Old South’. As an historian, I find this reeks of censorship. As a decent person who understands both sides of the story, I know of no other alternative.
Unfortunately, these unsavory characters were some of the sponsors of the meeting where Tancredo appeared. If he had just acknowledged his politically incorrect mistake, it would have ended there. Instead of owning up to the incident, an elaborate series of explanations began to appear, none of which resembled the actual truth of the meeting. The problem was the fact that the room was rented by Richard T. Hines, who, in 2003 gave a radio address, featuring the ‘N’ word, as in how the Dixiecrat ticket of 1948 would have kept the state ‘white’. To compound the problem, Hines is a member of the highly racist Council of Conservative Citizens, who have very close ties to Stormfront, the ever-growing online white supremacist community. If you scroll down this page you will locate that nasty little symbol that has heralded hate and the extermination of six million Jews in Germany. The website, Tancredo Watch, provides what is perhaps the best history of this fascinating little occurrence.
Is Tancredo’s opposition to the War in Iraq actual opposition to the war, or just another Tancredo snit levied against the President? Knowing Tancredo it is the latter, plus the fact that many of the people who would support him in the primaries are seriously anti-war isolationists. He and Bay Buchanan are partners in Team America PAC. Bay’s brother Pat, is extremely anti-war.
There is an ‘old’ Internet tradition that all arguments eventually end with comparing your opponent to Nazis and linking them to Hitler. The moment this occurs the person doing the linking loses all credibility and the argument. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where those links do occur. Granted they are two degrees of separation away from the object of this profile, but they are there.
As a blogger, I’ve been tracking the Council of Conservative Citizens and their links to the whole anti-immigration movement for nearly a year. Tancredo has penned op-eds for VDARE , owned by Peter Brimelow, who has admitted to publishing white supremacist authors on the site. In a letter to the editor of the Rocky Mountain News dated July 23, 2006, Brimelow admits that Jared Taylor, a frequent contributor is a ‘white nationalist’. Barbara Coe, stalwart of the CofCC, close associate of Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist, and anti-Hispanic extremist has appeared with Tancredo at several anti-immigration events. In addition, Tancredo has cited Virginia Abernathy, a Vanderbilt professor and identified member of the KKK as an expert on immigration.
Oh, yeah, he once threatened to bomb Mecca.
The real problem here is that it's actually possible that Tancredo could secure the GOP nomination in 2008. As a card-carrying Republican, I find the prospect absolutely terrifying.