To Offend, Or Not To Offend

Tom Tancredo has a habit of rankling Muslim communities with some of his more inflammatory statements. What might he say today in a city with one of the largest Muslim populations?Love him or loathe him, one thing to be said about Tom Tancredo is he is not afraid to make enemies. In fact, he seems to relish it. Among other things, Tancredo has called Miami a third-world country and recently claimed certain Texas mayors were more loyal to Mexico than to the U.S. But when the media storm comes down on Tancredo for such statements, the Congressman is usually unfazed.

It seems to go like this: The more outrageous things he says, the more headlines he gets, and the happier he is.

And that’s why the stage is set for a spectacle today.

Tancredo is participating in a CNBC/MSNBC/Wall Street Journal Republican presidential debate today in Dearborn, Mich. The focus of the debate is supposed to be on economic issues, an appropriate topic for a city that is home to the world headquarters of Ford Motor Company. But Dearborn is also home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the country. One-third of the city’s residents identify as Arab. 

Will the man who has repeatedly suggested the U.S. threaten to bomb Islamic holy sites, who has opposed allowing more Iraqi refugees into the country, and who recently protested a House resolution recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan be able to stick to the topic of the economy? Or will the allure of nationwide headlines and appearances on cable news shows bring him to say something that will enrage the Muslim community? We’ll have to wait and see.

The debate will be broadcast live on CNBC today at 2 p.m. local time and will be rebroadcast tonight on MSNBC at 7 p.m.