Tancredo as Tea Party weather vane

Tom Tancredo is a firebrand. He is a darling of the grassroots Colorado right. He also may be a 2010 national politics weather vane. John Avlon, writing at the Daily Beast, sees it that way. In a piece listing the Tea Party’s “five key players,” Avlon thinks Tancredo is a man to watch: Is he “third-rail throwback or a prodigal son turned Pied Piper?”

tom tancredo

Tom Tancredo: The former Colorado congressman and anti-illegal immigrant activist has been a hero to the new Know-Nothings for years, but he’s kept a low profile since leaving office, emerging only a few times in ’09 to bash then-Supreme Court nominee Sonya Sotomayor, accusing her of being a racist and characterizing her membership in La Raza as being “nothing more than a… Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.” Anti-immigrant fervor has traditionally been a part of recession-era wingnut eruptions in years past, but it has not been a focus of Tea Party populist anger to date. It will be interesting to see what role Tom Tancredo plays among the Tea Party faithful—is he a third-rail throwback or a prodigal son turned Pied Piper? His reception will offer insights into the direction that the Tea Party movement may take in 2010.

Avlon is the author of lety book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America. His chapter on Glenn Beck was also excerpted at the Daily Beast.

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