April 05, 2007

Tom Tancredo Hammered By Hewitt, Capt Ed

"Supporting the party above principle does a disservice to both"

Tom Tancredo does not have my vote as a Presidential candidate (I am leaning toward Rudy Giuliani, but Fred Thompson would be an attractive alternative this far out), but that does not mean his views on illegal immigration aren't appealing. A candidate's electoral chances (or lack thereof) or seriousness in running do not invalidate their political positions.

So why the attacks on Tancredo by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, and leading conservative blogger Captain Ed?

Hewitt wants to place the blame for the McKennedy amnesty bill at Tancredo's feet. He also lambastes Tancredo for backing an independent against a Republican back in '05.

Captain Ed thinks Tancredo wilted, and isn't a serious candidate. Both Hewitt and the Captain are right to call Tancredo on his decisions, as anyone running for the highest office in the land should be willing to deal with the scrutiny. Criticisms of Tancredo's decision not to give up his seat or at least announce his intentions have been made on this blog.

But attacking a prominent Republican with questions about party loyalty, seriousness as a candidate, or marginalizing him by calling illegal immigration a "fringe" issue only supported by extremists does nothing to serve the party they are so willing to support, or to the principles they say they espouse.

The GOP should be governed by the principle of the rule of law. Since illegal immigrants break the law, this should be a key issue for the GOP to tackle. Republicans that overlook the law for any reason--Tom DeLay, Mark Foley, or Randy "Duke" Cunningham--aren't deserving of support for any reason. Supporting the party above principle does a disservice to both. I don't want the Republican candidate to win, I want the best Republican to win. A congress full of Republicans more interested in power, pork, and reelection and not interested in upholding GOP principles in general deserve no support at all.

Both Hewitt and the Captain are founding members of the Victory Caucus, a group dedicated to making the GOP Senators who vote for Iraq withdrawal receive no support from the NRSC (I am also a member). If they can criticize and withhold support from GOP Senators who stray away from victory in Iraq, why would they not also support a Congressman who insistently reminds the GOP of the need to not abandon its own sovereignty or laws by acquiescing to illegal immigration?

Freedom Folks describes Hewitt and the Captain as party hacks. Tancredo is sometimes his own worst enemy when it comes to elaborating his positions. But flogging the GOP for the sake of "painting the map red" without also strongly endorsing the principles behind the party deserves condemnation, not praise. Perhaps this is the reason that party "insiders" are so annoying--perpetually seeking a meal-ticket and position, rather than supporting the party in principle.

I support Giuliani at this point--and am willing to countenance Thompson--due to their adherence to the principles that they believe, and the fact that they are not flip-flopping to accomodate polls or the mythical GOP "base." Giuliani is worlds away from Tancredo on this issue, and though I do not support Tancredo, I applaud his efforts to make the issue visible. I am looking for the best candidate in terms of electability and their own sincerity. Giuliani is not the perfect candidate, but then again, there is no such thing. Tancredo may not be everyone's cup of tea, but dealing with illegal immigration by avoiding the issue is the equivalent of burying one's head in the sand and hoping it goes away.

And based on what we've seen over the last two decades since Reagan's *amnesty, that won't be the case any time soon.

*See comments.