. . .[P]aleoconservatism is simply the faith of our fathers before we built that shelter for the neocon homeless booted out of their own house by the McGovernites, who appear, in retrospect, to have been more savvy than we thought.

-- Pat Buchanan

While a lot of people are quite legitimately worked up about the immigration issue, I have wondered from time to time who might be behind the right-wing anti-Bush movement, and where all of this might be headed.

One possibility is that it's headed for a movement to run Tom Tancredo for president:

Unless a person with charisma, money and convictions someone like Mel Gibson arose to the challenge of an independent bid for the presidency in 2008, like it or not, we will be faced with a choice between a Democrat and a Republican.

Therefore, freedom-loving, security-conscious Americans need to rally behind a Republican candidate of principle and courage someone who will speak to the core issues facing us all today.

In my humble opinion, there is one man who fills that bill Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

He's a maverick. He marches to the beat of his own drummer. He's not afraid to criticize members of his own party including his president. And that's what I love about him.

There is no one else in Congress or in national public life who has provided better leadership on the No. 1 national-security issue confronting the United States the border and immigration policy.

Number one? I guess that means terrorism has moved to number two and no one told me. How did it happen so fast? Were the demonstrations this Spring the Reconquista's equivalent of the attack on the Twin Towers?

I've believed for some time that border problem is a serious one, and it has been that way for a long time. There's just something suspicious about the way this issue has eclipsed the war on terror so suddenly. Might it have something to do with the fact that it's main progenitor, Pat Buchanan, has always been against the Iraq war? In a recent column he seems to be gloating with "I-told-you-so" right wing antiwar isolationism. (Not only did Pat Buchanan write the introduction to Tancredo's book, but his sister/three-time-campaign -chair Bay Buchanan now chairs the Tancredo Team America PAC.)

Via Bill Quick, I see that Tom Tancredo won a GOP straw poll in Michigan. Here are the results:

Candidate Votes Percent

Tom Tancredo 60 18.5%

Rudy Giuliani 45 13.8%

Mitt Romney 40 12.3%

Condi Rice 39 12.0%

Newt Gingrich 38 11.7%

John McCain 38 11.7%

George Allen 21 6.5%

Mike Pence 15 4.6%

Ron Paul 14 4.3%

Mike Huckabee 6 1.8%

Bill Frist 4 1.2%

Alan Keyes 2 0.6%

Candice Miller 2 0.6%

Sam Brownback 1 0.3%

And according to Human Events' own straw poll, "Tancredo slightly edged out Condi Rice with 18.7% of the vote compared to her 18.3%. This is a huge boost from the month before when he placed third (12.4%) behind Rice (21.5%) and Sen. George Allen (18.6%)."

As Bill Quick says, "It's starting..."

And where will it end?

"Tancredo for President" is certainly thriving on the Internet.

Whether Congressman Tancredo is a single issue candidate is debatable. But a post by former supporter Art Rasputin at calls him a Buchananite who puts the immigration issue ahead of everything else -- to the point where he's sabotaging Chris Cannon for not toeing the Tancredo line:

Chris Cannon is a "pro-life, pro-family, NRA-backed, limited government, less taxes" conservative. He also received a 100% rating in 2005 from the American Conservative Union. The smear campaign Tancredo has launched against his fellow conservatives, just because he doesn't like their version of border security and guest worker programs needs to be confronted.
More here.

In yesterday's New York Times, Tancredo was quoted as saying he might run, but couldn't win:

TOM TANCREDO is not well known outside of Congress, a few C-Span junkies and the slab of Colorado he represents. But the four-term Republican representative says he might run for president anyway. Could he win? "No way," Mr. Tancredo says, neatly distilling the prevailing wisdom on his chances.

But that's beside the point. As a general rule, the only thing a politician loves more than getting attention is getting free attention if that free attention isn't too embarrassing. And saying you might run is a surefire way to get free attention. This partly explains why Mr. Tancredo sounds so giddy on the phone, as if he's just stumbled onto a broken slot machine.

But does the specter of a Tom Tancredo candidacy strike fear into the heart of the other side?

Back in March, Pam Spaulding seemed delighted with him. And MyDD gave the closest thing I could find to a left wing endorsement:

Tom Tancredo is the Democratic dream candidate for the GOP to nominate.
I don't know whether Tancredo is a serious candidate, but if he is, the extent to which his views are vintage Pat Buchanan isolationism will become highly relevant. That's because Americans take such a dim view of isolationism that Pat Buchanan has never been able to mount more than a Republican insurgency movement (or losing third party strategy).

As to Buchanan isolationism and the rest of his agenda, Tancredo's book (In Mortal Danger -- which I have not read) might offer clues. Then again, it might not.

The Buchanan introduction aside, if the WND writeup is any indication, the book appears to offer vintage Pat Buchanan culture war rhetoric -- in the politically appropriate code language:

Tancredo says America is following in the tragic footsteps of Rome.
I've said pretty much the same thing regarding immigration. But is he speaking solely about immigration? I don't think so. Read on:
Living up to his reputation for candor, Tancredo explains how the economic success and historical military prowess of the United States has transformed a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles of right and wrong into an overindulgent, self-deprecating, immoral cesspool of depravity...
What is meant by the phrase "Judeo-Christian principles of right and wrong?" He can't be talking about aliens from Mexico or the American hemisphere, because, being Catholic, they are at least as Judeo-Christian as Tancredo.

So whose "cesspool" is he talking about? I don't know, as I haven't read the book. But I've been around long enough to recognize code language when I see it. And I might be paranoid, but the phrase "footsteps of Rome" within swimming distance of "Judeo-Christian principles of right and wrong" right into the "cesspool of depravity" usually evokes improper penis placement images.

Hey, I'd love to be wrong. If I am, maybe I can be the first libertarian blogger to endorse Congressman Tancredo for Prezzy. If my suspicions are right, I'll just be a what Buchanan calls a homeless neocon -- rejected by both parties.

I'm not sure whether the goal of the Tancredo campaign is really to build a coalition to close the border, though. I think this kind of approach is more likely to prevent it from happening, while helping insure the election of Hillary Clinton.

I guess I shouldn't concern myself with such trifles for now.

I'm more intrigued with the issue of whether Tancredo is a new form of hybrid. Pajamas Media links to the top ten animal hybrids via James Hudnall, but I saw no mention of any such breed as a "neopaleocon."

Can such things be?

UPDATE (06/20/06): Commenting on the firing of Metro Commissioner Robert J. Smith, Pat Buchanan claims his views of Aquinas are "Christian truths" and reissues his vintage remarks about homosexuality that (to my mind) would seem to resonate the "cesspool" meme:

As for homosexuality, where it has been prevalent in the late Roman Empire, Weimar Germany, San Francisco it has been regarded as a mark of and a metaphor for moral decadence and societal decline.
Homosexuality was prevalent in ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and Germany before, during and after the Weimar period. Why characterize it as more prevalent during the "late Roman Empire" than earlier periods (which it was not) unless the goal is to breathe life into the canard that homosexuality led to Rome's decline? True, it was during the "late period" that homosexuality was outlawed, but that was only after the Christians gained power, and shortly before the fall of Rome.

And why single out Weimar Germany when homosexuality has been called the "German vice" since Victorian times? To imply that homosexuality led to Nazism? As to San Francisco, exactly who considers homosexuality to be a "mark of and a metaphor for moral decadence and societal decline" in that city? Pat Buchanan and those who agree with him? Are they speaking for San Francisco? What about New York? Or Key West?

Might as well declare that homosexuality was "prevalent" in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. Well, it was, wasn't it?

Pat has more, of course:

In 1983, when the AIDS epidemic first broke onto the national scene, this writer wrote in a column predicting scores of thousands could perish: "The poor homosexuals. They have declared war against nature, and nature is exacting an awful retribution."

This sentence restated the Natural Law teaching of Thomas Aquinas.

It did? Can I get the exact quote?
Homosexuality is against nature, contra naturam. It also said what was, by then, obvious to all. Acts that cannot be described in this publication were transmitting a dread and deadly disease that was killing homosexuals in the hundreds, and would soon kill them in the scores of thousands.

Indeed, a subsequent clamor by homosexuals for a mass government education program on the use of condoms suggested they knew exactly how and why the disease was spreading.

But in a May 28 column, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times accused this writer, Ronald Reagan and the Rev. Jerry Falwell of "behaving more immorally" in the 1980s than the clientele of "the San Francisco bathhouses." It was our "indifference to the suffering of gays," said Kristof, that "allowed the epidemic to spread."

Not a word of reproof or even of recognition may be found in Kristof's column against those who actually spread the disease that has now killed millions. Nick knows his readers.

What does all of this tell us? Our society is being marinated in lies the lie that homosexuality is a natural, normal and healthy lifestyle; the lie that those who think otherwise are all hateful bigots; the lie that the diseases that afflict the homosexual community are the fault of an uncaring society.

Humankind cannot stand too much truth, said T.S. Eliot.

In the matter of Robert Smith, there was indeed intolerance: a savage intolerance of one man with the courage to declare Christian truths in the face of the fabricated and fake faith that has become the established religion of America's secular elite.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't have fired Robert Smith. He's just as entitled to his opinion as Pat Buchanan. But that does not mean Pat Buchanan's interpretations of Thomas Aquinas are "Christian truths," and I suspect a lot of Christians would not agree that they are. Consider also his remarks that AIDS -- the "disease that has now killed millions" was spread by homosexuals. Of these millions, a minority are homosexual. Is he implying that they spread this disease to millions of heterosexuals? Unless homosexuals have been having massive amounts of sex with heterosexuals, how did they spread the disease?

T.S. Eliot may have said that humankind cannot stand too much truth, but I say humankind cannot stand too much polemics.

No one has a monopoly on "fabricated and fake faith."

posted by Eric on 06.19.06 at 03:16 PM


ah, geez...I've heard Tancredo speak and interviewed and thought him a sincere, decent man.

But he's joined at the hip with Buchannan?

Deal breaker.


Darleen   ·  June 19, 2006 7:34 PM

I don't know much about him, Darleen, which is why I wrote the post. From what I've seen, he looks like a neo Buchananite, which doesn't preclude him from being a decent man, but I think it makes him unlikely to win.

Eric Scheie   ·  June 19, 2006 9:42 PM

Darleen, I should add that I like Pat Buchanan. He's witty, friendly, and unafraid to speak his mind.

(I just don't agree with him.)

Eric Scheie   ·  June 20, 2006 10:10 AM

Ah Eric, about Pat Buchannan--
When he was running for President on the Republican ticket back when, he made a campagin stop in Hayfork, California - a backwater lumber town in NW California that had suffered a mill closure leaving most of the employable male population out of work.
Naturally he made the most of the evils of "globalism" and advanced his particular brand of isolationism and protectionism.
I went to the event expecting to hear about the evils of the New World Order, etc. But laced in his talk, and Q & A afterword, was a definite undertone of anti-semitism. I know that others have made reference to his Jew-baiting, but you really had to hear and see it in person. It wasn't so much what he said, but how he said it. The inflection in the voice, the pregnant pauses, and the facial expressions got his point accross without ever saying outright what he meant.
As a side note: You mentioned that you think Michael Savage (aka Michael Levin) is a provacateur. Well, he's given Buchannan a lot of air time on the immigration issue. Sort of proves your point, I think.

Frank   ·  June 21, 2006 12:50 AM

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