Tom Tancredo’s retiring from the House at the end of the year, but not from public and political life. He was pressing for border security and immigration enforcement long before many of the fairweather GOP proponents and TV talking heads made it their ratings-friendly cause. I’ve had the privilege of speaking with him and beside him at many grass-roots events and forums on the issue. His passion and his commitment to preserving American sovereignty are genuine and principled. Plus, he has sent the open borders zealots at the Wall Street Journal editorial board into innumerable snit fits, for which he deserves eternal thanks and praise.
John O’ Sullivan has a nice tribute:
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I’m sorry that Tom Tancredo is retiring from Congress. He’s never been a favorite of the Corner, but I know him quite well and think very highly of his bravery, decency, and devotion to principle. Tom is an NR conservative of long standing—one of those people like Jim Talent who learned their conservatism at the feet of WFB. He is also one of the main reasons why immigration is now at the center of public debate. When he arrived in Congress, it was an issue that had been left fallow. He promptly established and built up a bipartisan immigration caucus that, first, forced the issue onto the main political agenda, and then blocked the White House and the two party leaderships from pushing through a misbegotten “comprehensive” reform that was really open borders in drag. (To be fair, he couldn’t have done this without the assistance of George W. Bush.)
But immigration is not the sole issue of concern to Tom. He is a conservative across the board. And conservatives who differ with him on immigration can still rest assured that his voice and vote will support their general issues. When the immigration debate took off for the second time two years ago, some on the “open borders” side quietly dismissed Tom as one of the Yahoos who were supposedly the main opponents of the legislation. Tom may occasionally have misspoken, as we all do. But the barnstorming talk he gave to the “values voters” showed that there was real political talent in this modest American. So does his command of his constituency. With almost the entire national, state, and media establishment against him, he still racks up overwhelming victories at home. If he had not decided to retire Congress of his own accord, he could have held the seat until death supervened.
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