Denver Post slams Tancredo to the mat

The Denver Post today, in what may have been an unprecedented move, editorialized against gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo under the headline: “Colo. can’t afford to elect Tancredo.”

The Post calls out the American Constitution Party candidate and leading challenger to Democratic Denver mayor and current front-runner John Hickenlooper over Tancredo’s support for tax-cutting initiatives and also for statements The Post deemed “erratic and extreme.”

In a new ad, Tancredo criticizes John Hickenlooper for some “elitist” comments the Denver mayor made about rural Coloradans. That’s the same Tancredo who casually threw out the idea of bombing Mecca, the most holy Muslim religious site, as retribution for a terrorist attack.

The Tancredo who advocated a civics literacy test for voters, something that sounds disturbingly similar to the literacy tests used to disenfranchise black voters.

The Tancredo who called the National Council of La Raza, the largest Latino civil rights group, “a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.” And who can forget his calling Miami a “Third World country,” which prompted then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to call Tancredo a “nut”?

The erratic and extreme musings of Tancredo are suitable for the loony talk radio circuit that has devoted countless hours to his ideas. But we question whether they’re appropriate for someone who wants to be Colorado’s next governor.

“Editorials are meant to influence elections. They are intended to affect election results. That’s why you do them,” Metropolitan State College of Denver political science professor Norman Provizer said by phone this morning from Boston.

He hadn’t yet seen the Post’s editorial, but said it sounded nearly unprecedented.

Tancredo campaign manager Cliff Dodge said he had never seen anything like it.

“This is a new low,” he said. “This is just despicable. It is way beneath the normal standards of the Denver Post.”

Jon Caldara, president of the Independence Institute, said he found it “encouraging.”

“They clearly feel that Tancredo is a threat to Hickenlooper inheriting the governorship. It is very much a fear-driven editorial,” he said.

Polls show Hickenlooper leading Tancredo by anywhere from one or two percent to more than 10 percent. GOP candidate Dan Maes is trailing by wide margins.

The New York Times this morning published a piece analyzing the various poll results, which you can see here.

Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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