I was looking forward to hearing former Rep. Tom Tancredo on talk-radio radio, after Obama’s announcement yesterday, and he didn’t disappoint.
He appeared on KNUS’ Kelley and Company, KHOW’s Peter Boyles show, and KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado, where he called the Senate immigration deal a “Republican suicide pact” that “opens the door for millions who will not vote for us.”
On KLZ, Tancredo said Republicans are “smoking the substance I haven’t tried” if they think a softer immigration stance will move Latino voters to the GOP.
He got into more detail with his immigration soul mate Boyles this morning, and here’s an entertaining taste of their conversation.
TANCREDO: The Republican Party, I donвЂ™t know, itвЂ™s on its last legs, I think.
BOYLES: I do, too. ItвЂ™s on life support, right now, and it should be.
TANCREDO: Yeah! Honestly, for so long, it has tried to play this game of stealing the page out of the other guyвЂ™s playbook, and just being a little bit, you know, a вЂDemocrat LiteвЂ™ on a lot of issues, and spending like crazy.
BOYLES: You see that now they are going to make a deal on immigration.
TANCREDO: Of course, I saw it! Absolutely, I see it, and they think, they think–
BOYLES: –ItвЂ™s going to help them.
TANCREDO: –that itвЂ™s going to help.
TANCREDO: You know, Pete, get this! In this last election, Romney only got 27% of Hispanic votes. Everybody goes, вЂњOh, my God! There, it [just] goes to show you, youвЂ™ve driven the Hispanics away!вЂќ The Republicans вЂ“ do you know who got the lowest percentage of Republican votes in recent history in a presidential race? Bob Dole!
TANCREDO: Twenty-one percent!
TANCREDO: And what was the immigration issue then? None! Was he a hardliner on immigration? Absolutely not! ItвЂ™s because he was a lousy candidate!
TANCREDO: We had the same situation, right?
BOYLES: Agreed. I agree.
TANCREDO: [Hispanics] donвЂ™t vote for Republicans because they are big government people, for the most part. Hispanics, God love them, I wish we could convince them, what theyвЂ™re doing is trying to вЂ“ Many people who have just come here, immigrants, are voting this way, are voting to put in place a situation here in America exactly like the one from which they ran.
BOYLES: I agree.
TANCREDO: You know what I mean? And thatвЂ™s what we have to explain to them! And, when you ask Hispanics, over and over and over again, in poll after poll after poll, вЂњWhat do you think the most important issue?вЂќ They never say immigration, unless you give it to them as one of the list, they donвЂ™t even put it on the list!
Tancredo’s appearance on Boyles’ show sounded a lot like the conversations elsewhere in radioland. That is, one sided. Shocking, I know, and also a shame because the Republican talk-show hosts might learn something if they popped the bubbles that surround them and talked to someone with different views than their own.
They might learn, for example, that Tancredo is right, insofar as Hispanics aren’t all about immigration, or even mostly. And Tancredo is correct that Hispanics wouldn’t like Tancredo or GOP talk-radio hosts, even if they favored a path to citizenship.
But here’s what Tancredo doesn’t understand. Hispanics are a lot like the rest of the American voting population whom Republicans need to win, and those people want immigration reform too, just as they want basic health care, reliable government, a safety net, good schools, basic opportunity, and so on.