Tom Tancredo has become well known as the country's most energetic congressman against illegal immigration. He's now running for president on that issue. National Public Radio also has a deeply ingrained reputation -- as a taxpayer-subsidized network of gooey liberals. They speak in tones so sleep-inducing that their programs should be regarded as a potential traffic hazard.
On April 1, these two legends met, and sparks flew. The program was Sunday's "All Things Considered" broadcast, hosted by Debbie Elliott. The trouble began at hello: Elliott introduced Tancredo as a man who "gained national prominence with his fierce opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens."
"Fierce" seems to be an adjective NPR reserves for conservatives. (Liberals are "passionate.") There is no denying Tancredo's aggression on this issue. But the NPR crowd finds it fierce, as if it's controversial -- as in negative -- that a strong majority of Americans find it unacceptable that illegal aliens should step in front of a line of people applying legally for citizenship.
NPR could have just as easily described Tancredo as fiercely opposed to "allowing illegal immigrants to enter America and collect welfare, health care and education subsidies." Or that he's fiercely opposed to allowing illegal immigrants to sneak in, demand to vote on ballots translated into 23 languages and rally on the Capitol steps for amnesty without any immigration enforcement folks present to check documents. That would be accurate.
But this is NPR, and this liberal sandbox thrives on presenting conservative ideas as not just incorrect, but just this side of insane. After a few calm questions about the Iraq war, Elliott went on the attack: "I'd like to ask you a little bit about -- I'm going to call it the Tancrazy, I think that's what Esquire called you one time."
It's fitting that NPR would source a liberal glossy like Esquire, whose editor David Granger has celebrated Bill Clinton as a man with an "unmatched capacity for compassion." Granger's Valentine came in the magazine's "Genius Issue" in 2005, as the cover hailed Clinton as not merely a genius, but "The Most Influential Man in the World." It's hardly shocking the Esquire people would gleefully mock Tancredo.
Elliott wasn't done fitting Tancredo for a straitjacket. "You are known for speaking your mind in a way that some might consider outrageous. You've compared Miami to a Third World country. At one point, you suggested the U.S. should bomb Mecca in respond to terrorist attacks. You were even part of a group of Colorado lawmakers earlier in your career who called themselves The Crazies. Do you think that voters will be able to look at you as presidential material?"