"People tell me I look taller on radio."
That's the first remark by Tom Tancredo in a radio show interview by host Jim Bohannon, which was also taped and broadcast yesterday on Book TV (the weekend avatar of CSPAN 2).
By which I take it he is shorter than average. I wouldn't know, because, while I have of course read quite a few print media and internet reports about Tancredo, I'd never seen him on the tube.
I'm not given to idolizing politicians. You can take it to the bank that they all have clay feet. Moreover, even the president of the United States is not an absolute dictator (a source of much regret to Jorge W. Bush-Gonzales). Even if your ideal politico wins, that doesn't mean the campaign promises win. A good deal of the perpetual silliness surrounding elections in this country has to do with the naive idea that if you just elect "the right man" (or woman) a new, Arcadian era of peace, prosperity, and cheap gas prices will ensue. So you get these ridiculous worshipful crusades for the likes of Eugene McCarthy, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, and Howard Dean.
Nevertheless, Tom Tancredo seems to me spot-on in his unwavering stand for enforcing existing immigration laws, one of the two issues that will determine whether the United States will survive in anything like its historic form. On the other -- the response to Muslim aggression -- I am not aware of much that he's said, but what little he has suggests that he is realistic.
Not only is he right on illegal immigration, he isn't wishy-washy about it. And, given that his view has made him a public enemy in so-called progressive quarters, and widely denounced in the most vile terms, you can't help but acknowledge that he has guts in sticking to his principles.
Does he have what it takes to be a presidential candidate in '08, and if so, to win the general election? Not being by nature a political person, I don't claim to be any good at the kind of handicapping on which newspaper pundits rest their dubious reputations. That said, if Bizarro Bush-Gonzales continues for the next two years ignoring the overwhelming will of the people on immigration and promoting the combination of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada in a North American Union (as he is reported to be working toward), the Republican party wheelhorses just might go for Tancredo to save their skins.
I watched for clues about what kind of presidential candidate Tancredo would make. So many factors, aside from political positions, matter.
He remained seated in the guest's chair in the radio control room, so I still don't know his vertical dimension. He is neither handsome nor ugly, an asset in politics, since so many people can identify with it. The voice is pleasing; he stayed calm during the show and didn't rise to the bait under hostile questioning from several listeners. Good again.
Still, Bohannon was an acknowledged sympathizer, so there was no way to tell whether Tancredo would puddle if faced by an hour or more of loaded questions from the mainstream media. Needless to say, the MSM would respond to a Tancredo candidacy with a viciousness it used to reserve for Hitler or Mussolini. It would investigate him with a thoroughness that would do a forensic lab proud, and if he has ever gotten a speeding ticket, it would be on the front page of The New York Times.
I have a feeling Tancredo would come out of a media beating looking good. For one thing, he's heard all the attacks already a hundred times. (Not only in the American media; he remarked that he has visited Mexico often, and been used for target practice by the local press.) His answers have been polished by abrasion over the years. As his opening comment indicates, he is capable of a humorous quip, and unlike, say, -- who was that guy the Dems nominated in '04? Yes, him -- he can deliver it in a way that at least sounds spontaneous.
He hasn't asked for it yet, but so far, Tancredo has my vote.