Hatewatch

Tancredo Ventures Further Out on the Fringe

Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo was the face of the anti-immigration movement in Congress for 10 years. While he was there, he could serve up his deport-’em-all rhetoric from the House floor. And as an early contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, he drew supportive crowds and mainstream media coverage in early-voting states until he dropped out in late 2007 before the Iowa caucuses.

Since leaving Congress in January, though, he’s aggressively moving down the credibility chain in his quest for outlets for his nativist views.

In late September, he blasted the Southern Poverty Law Center from the hate website VDARE.com. And this month, he made his debut as a regular columnist at the far-right conspiracy-mongering website WorldNetDaily. By Tancredo’s standards, the initial column is somewhat restrained. He praises the “patriotic reawakening provoked by Obama’s Marxist agenda.” He attacks Sen. John McCain for his support of an insufficiently conservative U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado. And he takes a shot at Karl Rove, the longtime adviser to former president George W. Bush — the same Karl Rove who got so fed up with Tancredo’s extremism that he told him to “never darken the door of the White House again.”

But even when he enjoyed relative respectability as a member of Congress, Tancredo didn’t always confine himself to respectable venues. On Sept. 9, 2006, he delivered an anti-immigrant harangue as the honored guest at a barbecue advertised by the South Carolina chapter of the League of the South, the neo-Confederate outfit long listed as a hate group by the SPLC, as its own event. Although a Tancredo spokesman later said that the event was actually organized by a group called Americans Have Had Enough!, the league described Tancredo as "our guest" and listed a prominent league member as the event's information contact. The room for the event was rented by Richard T. Hines, who was identified in 1997 by the racist League of Conservative Citizens as a member.