Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tancredo ain’t just whistling Dixie

This past Saturday, as the nation prepared to commemorate Monday’s anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, 700 miles from ground zero, Colorado Representative, Tom Tancredo, stood behind a flag draped podium in Columbia S. Carolina and spoke to a group of followers also looking to commemorate the past. But the flag was not the Stars and Stripes, but rather a Confederate battle flag, and their commemoration was not of 9-11… but instead of a time when “the White-European race” ruled the South with an iron fist.

According to a report filed by an under-cover reporter from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the congressman was welcomed with open arms by a white supremacist group who invited all their members to hear “their guest,”Tom Tancredo speak about immigration and closing the borders. The League of the South, which now claims over 9000 members, was founded in 1994 by J. Michael Hill, who has called slavery a "God-ordained" institution and stated that “non-whites” should bow to “the cultural dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people and their institutions.”

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On the ground floor, a United States Army brass band commemorated the victims of 9/11. One level up, not far from the museum's permanent Confederate Army exhibit, the state chapter of the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group, hosted a barbeque in honor of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, head of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and likely contestant in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. Proceeds from the $15 per-plate fundraiser went to Americans Have Had Enough!, a South Carolina-based non-profit coalition for which Tancredo serves as honorary chairman.

While Tancredo's hard-line "deport 'em all" stance on immigration has made him a favorite politician of white supremacists, this marked the first time the congressman has appeared at a hate group event.

Dressed casually in a yellow t-shirt, Tancredo addressed the standing-room audience of 200-250 from behind a podium draped in a Confederate battle flag. To the congressman's right, a portrait of Robert E. Lee peered out at the crowd of Minutemen activists, local politicians, and red-shirted members of LOS and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Confederate trappings of the event found a mismatch in Tancredo's standard nativist polemic, which stayed clear of references to Southern heritage or direct plaudits for the LOS, a Southern white nationalist organization dedicated to "Southern independence, complete, full, and total."

At the close of Tancredo's speech, several men in confederate-themed clothing stood up and bellowed the first notes of "Dixie," the Confederate anthem. They were soon joined by voices from throughout the large hall, which was now entirely on its feet. Tancredo, a second-generation Italian-American from Denver, appeared confused by the sudden burst of strange song. He quickly worked his way toward the exit with his staff.

Tancredo's encounter with the League of the South continued outside. On the steps of the museum, Tancredo held court with LOS officials and supporters in Confederate clothing. He held a batch of the materials being distributed at the barbeque, among them a copy of the The Citizen's Informer, the newspaper of the Conservative Citizens Council, the racist organization that grew out of the segregationist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s. When questioned about the newspaper, Tancredo responded that he did not know its history.


Trancredo was quick to try to distance himself from his newfound friends once the story broke, claiming he was not aware of the LOS members in the audience.

According to his spokesman, Carlos Espinosa, Tancredo knew that the audience did included members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Civil War re-enactors in Southern garb and when they began singing Dixie, the Colorado Congressman joined in. “These aren't racist people who spew out hate. These are just people remembering and cherishing their past,’ Espinosa said. "Tom thought it would be rude not to take part in it."

Claiming that the LOS had nothing to do with the event, Espinosa added that the group "is very racist and a horrible group that is desperately trying to seem relevant by attaching themselves to an event they had nothing to do with."

But this is not the first time Tancredo’s rabid the anti-immigrant rhetoric has attracted support from white supremacists, neo-nazis and southern separatists. Such groups have infiltrated the ranks of his pet Minuteman Project from the start, and he has been supported or formally endorsed by numerous hate groups such as American Renaissance and National Vanguard, and has not of yet refused their support, or declined an endorsement. … It’s all very “wink and nod” in the Tom’s strange world of “catch me if you can”

Tancredo, like his Minuteman friends and Team America PAC, has all along walked a very fine line between acceptable political discourse and sounding at times like a maniacal racist, trying to carefully craft his message as not to sound too extreme.

As he gains more power it’s only a matter of time before his natural allies and friends from the fringe elements of society obtain a greater voice and presence in his “movement.”

As much as Colorado’s little Napoleon wants to lead his crusade, claiming some sort of victory for “the common man,” increasingly like his mentor Pat Buchanan, it’s becoming evident that his vision for America is not one of tolerance, but rather one reserved for those who meet a certain racial criteria.


Stevn said...

Maybe he shoulda planted an axe into the face of a young white boy, say 9 years oldor so, and waved the communist flag while supporting homosexual unions. The pedophiles at SPLC wouldn't have raised an eyebrow.

Duke1676 said...

Apparently this story has hit a raw nerve within the neo-nazi - white supremacist world.

In addition to our aryan nation visitor above, within twenty four hours of posting this story, we have had over 100 visits from members of the National Vanguard forum. I've also recieved email messages rambling on about "Tancredo (being a) racially conscious White Gentile (who is only) promoting the ethnic interests of his racial family."

It makes one wonder why so many neo-nazis would be interested in a story about Tom Tancredo.... since he insists that immigration restriction has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

go figure

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