Littwin on Tom Tancredo as sympathetic softie
It’s Republican primary-election campaign season in Colorado. Let the games begin.
Greg Brophy has done the impossible. After days of attacks on Tom Tancredo, in which Brophy has called Tancredo a “loser” and “unprepared” and a book writer (more on that later), Brophy has very nearly — well, almost very nearly — made Tancredo seem sympathetic.
OK, I said almost very nearly. But still, it’s an impressive feat. I know I’ve never come close after years and years of trying.
Brophy and Tancredo are, of course, both in the six-person race for the Republican nomination to take on John Hickenlooper. Tancredo is allegedly the favorite in this primary race, which makes you feel almost very nearly sympathetic toward Republicans.
I mean, Tancredo? Really? It was all the way back in 2010 when Tancredo last ran for governor in the infamous three-way with Hickenlooper and Dan Maes, in which Tancredo got all of 37 percent of the vote. It was surprising that he got 37 percent of the vote because he had insulted, by my count, about 73 percent of Coloradans.
But the polls have Tancredo as the early favorite. And Brophy must think he’s the favorite. Brophy knows his politics, and one of the first rules is you never attack the fourth-place guy. And so in the latest assault, Brophy said maybe the worst thing a Colorado Republican can say about a fellow Republican — that he’s softer on gun control than even Hickenlooper himself.
It’s startling, but Brophy has the goods — sort of. I didn’t remember this, but back in 1999, two months after Columbine, then-Rep. Tancredo made what is almost certainly his only pro-gun-control vote. It was a doozy, too. He voted for a bill that restricted the sale and possession of assault-style rifles and to limit magazine capacity to 10 rounds. It’s a tougher bill than any of the modest bills the Democrats passed into law last year at the state legislature.
What was Tancredo thinking? This is the guy Ted Nugent just endorsed as the defender of the Second Amendment. It’s the guy I’m pretty sure the NRA has always endorsed.
He was thinking, he said those many years ago, about Columbine. Of course he was. He represented Littleton. He lived six blocks from the high school. He said a friend’s son had held Dave Sanders’ head when he lay dying.
Still, the Tancredo vote was so unexpected that the New York Times did a story on it. When asked what made the difference for him, Tancredo said, “Twelve dead children, one dead adult, 24 injured kids and a community that has had its heart broken — that made the difference.”
In the Times article, Tancredo called Columbine “a seminal event,” and said that after hearing the stories of people at Columbine that he couldn’t “go home to them and say we didn’t do anything, because guns aren’t an issue. Guns are an issue. They did take children’s lives.”
This sounds, yes, sympathetic. Extremely so. It’s hard to imagine this was the same guy who was later proposing to bomb Mecca or call Justice Sotomayor a racist when he wasn’t calling Barack Obama a Marxist who should be impeached.
Sympathy wasn’t what Brophy was going for, of course. He’s going for the Nugentians, if not Ted Nugent himself.
Brophy called Tancredo unprepared when Tancredo said he wouldn’t join Republican debates. He recently called Tancredo a loser, saying he can’t win in a statewide race, which is almost certainly true. Unfortunately, in Tancredo’s losing 2010 race, Brophy not only endorsed him, but also called him a “selfless hero,” which sort of undercuts the whole attack premise.
Asked about this switch by ace reporter Lynn Bartels, Brophy said he’d learned his lesson about Tancredo and that “I know not to back a loser twice.”
The book-writing thing came on Dan Caplis’ new radio show (via Jason Salzman), when Brophy added another explanation for his switch, saying Tancredo is “not ready to debate the issues of the day, because these are things I’ve been working on for the last half-dozen years, and he’s been writing books.”
I like Brophy. He’s a card. But he somehow thinks that guns are the key to becoming governor. Of the five photos of Brophy on his campaign home page, two actually show him firing guns, as if he were running for Marksman in Chief. And now he thinks that an opponent being a, gasp, author can be a campaign issue.
Actually, Tancredo co-wrote one book, which was predictably called: “Hating America: The Left’s Long History of Despising (And Slowly Destroying) Our Great Country.” And, knowing Tancredo, he could dictate that one off the top of his head. In any case, I can now honestly say Tancredo wrote the book about hating.
OK, not so sympathetic.
But here’s what Brophy said, “I know it’s hard to say no to gun control after a tragedy like Newtown or Columbine, but I did it. Every other Republican in the Colorado House and Senate did it. When the pressure was on, Tom Tancredo wouldn’t support the Second Amendment.”
When the pressure was on. When the children lay dead.
Who wins this argument? I think you know.
Let’s just say that Tancredo, sympathetic or not, was apparently right when he said that all Republican debates do is help Democrats.
[ Photo by John Tomasic. ]
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