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Tom Tancredo on Civil Liberties


Tom Tancredo

U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO), a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Photo: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images.

ACLU Rating:

Tom Tancredo has a 7% lifetime rating from the ACLU, the lowest of any 2008 presidential candidate.

Abortion and Reproductive Rights - Supports Federal Ban:

Tancredo has a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. He has stated that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that would be "the greatest day in this country's history." He has also stated that overturning Roe would not be enough, and that he would support a federal abortion ban.

Death Penalty - Retentionist:

Tom Tancredo supports capital punishment, but it is not clear at this time whether or not he would be willing to support limited reforms.

The First Amendment - Supports Flag Desecration Amendment:

Tancredo supports the Flag Desecration Amendment, which would eliminate free speech protections for any act that shows a lack of respect for the American flag. To his credit, he does tend to oppose campaign finance reform.

Immigrants' Rights - Unapologetic Nativist, Worst Candidate:

Immigration reform is the central focus of Tancredo's campaign, as he has argued that undocumented immigration is the greatest threat to the safety of the United States. Tancredo has proposed and supported many bills intended to punish anyone who violates immigration laws, as well as laws intended to reduce legal immigration--he describes all large-scale immigration, legal and illegal, as "cultural suicide." In this spirit, he has proposed that a constitutional amendment be passed to prohibit citizenship for natural-born citizens whose parents came to this country illegally.

Lesbian and Gay Rights - Aggressively Opposes Gay Rights:

Tancredo is a proud supporter of the Federal Marriage Amendment, and has supported legislation that would have banned joint adoption by same-sex couples living in Washington, DC. He has implicitly described Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court ruling outlawing sodomy laws, as an example of overreaching judicial activism.

Race and Equal Opportunity - Actively Regressive:

Tancredo has stated opposition to the Voting Rights Act, which he considers an abuse of federal power. He has called for the abolition of all ethnic caucuses in Congress. He has been tied to several hate groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. And although three-quarters of American Latinos are citizens or other legal residents, Tancredo often describes American Latinos as a whole in negative terms (referring to 66% Latino Miami, for example, as a "third world country"). On the other hand, he was the only Republican willing to attend the presidential forum at the NAACP's 2007 convention.

The Second Amendment - Gun Rights Supporter:

Tancredo holds a B+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and tends to support the right to bear arms.

War on Terror - Global Crusader:

Tancredo has described the War on Terror as a clash of civilizations between Christianity and Islam, and has suggested that densely-populated Saudi holy sites would be appropriate targets for retaliation in the event of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "When we bombed Hiroshima," he explained, "we punished a lot of people who were not necessarily (guilty) ... You do things in war that are ugly." He has consistently refused to apologize for these remarks. Tancredo has also been a consistent supporter of President Bush's post-9/11 policies.

My Take:

Tancredo is by his own admission a pariah in his own party, he never rises above single digits in the polls, and he can't raise enough funds to mount a national campaign. It is easy to see why. In the past I have described Tom Tancredo as the scariest candidate in the 2008 race, but that isn't really true. In order to be scary, Tancredo would have to stand some realistic chance of winning his party's nomination. He does not.
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