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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of question-and-answer sessions with candidates for the office of president. Today, Colorado Republican Tom Tancredo warns of consequences of losing the “clash of civilizations.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo
WND: You’ve made it clear there are some Republicans seeking the nomination who are unacceptable to you because of their positions and history on illegal immigration. Can you run through opponents and tell us if there are any who have positions who would be acceptable?
TOM TANCREDO: Duncan Hunter is as close as anyone there. He’s certainly been a consistent vote, the only consistent vote of the other members up there on this issue. I don’t know where Duncan is on the whole idea of some form of guest worker/amnesty, because he always says first we have to secure our borders. From that standpoint he’s the most consistent of the rest of them. We would probably differ in terms of our ideas about what comes next, because I certainly do not believe in any form of amnesty whatsoever.
WND: Because of your leadership on the immigration/border issue some perceive you as a one-issue candidate. How do you overcome that perception?
TANCREDO: I explain it this way. I guess if you want to think of me that way, that’s OK, because at least I have an issue. Some would think that separates me from the rest of this crowd. But beyond that the issue itself has so many component parts it’s hard to think of as a single issue. If affects our schools. It affects our medical system. It affects our prisons. It affects our environment, the issues of the ecology. I’m always amazed people in the Sierra Club aren’t raising heck constantly because of the damage done to our environment on that southern border with millions of people coming across.
And then what happens in terms of the quality of life when we go to a nation of half a billion people here by the mid-century, all, by the way, immigration-related. The porous borders, what does that mean for national security? How can you not talk about immigration and porous borders and border security if you want to discuss the issue of national security? And then is the issue of the culture itself, whether or not it’s under attack, which I believe it to be. I believe there is a thing called the cult of multiculturalism is my name for it. They don’t meet secretly and have a little handshake, but these are people who believe that there are no differences in cultures, that all of them are relative and that we should avoid at all costs discussing, advocating the value of Western civilization, and we should encourage diversity to the point where diversity is in and of itself the only virtue this country can have. Well of course that’s an oxymoronic thought. Diversity can’t be the only virtue of a country, the only characteristic of a country. It can’t be because the very nature of it is divisive.
So I am saying that these things combined create for us one of the most significant and serious problems we face in the nation, certainly from the domestic policy standpoint, and even to a certain point the foreign policy, because I do believe we are in a clash of civilizations that we will not win [unless we] understand who we are and the value of Western civilization, which is being undermined by this cult of multiculturalism.
TANCREDO: We are, as I’ve said and I believe, the last best hope of Western civilization. Are we going to rely on Europe to save Western civilization? The birth rates alone for Europeans would indicate they’re not even going to be around long enough to do that. If you look at the demographics, just the demographics alone, you recognize we’re talking about something here that is very scary. Do you realize 1.2 birth rate for Greece, that’s not anywhere near replacement, and you can plot out a point in time in the relatively near future there will be no more Greeks. Greece is not the only country. Every country in Europe has a birth rate lower than replacement, except for one portion of the population, Muslims. They have a huge birth rate, and there are already 20 million Muslims in Europe. I’m telling you the cult of multiculturalism has already affected Europe in a way that I don’t think we could rely on it to withstand this clash of civilizations.
WND: Your statement to WND that Miami has become a Third World country. That set off a national firestorm. Do you stand by that remark and if so, do you think it harms your effort to win in Florida?
TANCREDO: I certainly do. Well, it’s an interesting thing. They took a poll, I read it somewhere, I think on the Miami Herald website, they did a poll, and a majority of people agreed with me – in Miami. There was a pretty significant minority very, very outraged by what I said. But most folks who at least responded to the poll, said, you know, he’s right. These things are, the things I say, I know are controversial, but the question you have to ask, controversial or not, is are they correct or not? Are they true or not? Is Miami becoming a city that is no longer really connected to the United States linguistically, culturally. There’s a great line in a Time magazine article I read by the guy who fancies himself to be the leader of the Cuban exile community, and he’s a professor at the University of Florida, if I remember correctly, and he said, you know, he said I love the fact there’s absolutely no pressure here to be an American. Those are his comments. Yes, I think it’s like a Third World country, and I would say it again.
WND: Regarding the North American Union, you told WND once it’s “not something that is just written about by right-wing fringe kooks, it is something the president of the United States, the president of Mexico and I think the prime minister of Canada buys into.” What specific actions would you take as president to stop that progression?
TANCREDO: First of all I would tell the Department of Commerce to disband the office for the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP, that’s really what the federal government blueprint is contained in, the blueprint for this sort of economic union they want to create. I would certainly discourage the creation of this superhighway, if you will, especially if it is designed to move people and goods from Mexico through the United States up to Canada without the border being a significant impediment. There are certainly things the federal government could do but dumping the SPP is the first.
WND: Grass-roots Americans recently took action that apparently did influence the Senate to defeat the immigration proposal that was pending. If Americans hold such similar views on security and immigration, what is holding back your campaign from garnering more support?
TANCREDO: For one thing I think it’s the result of the fact there are some superstars in the race. Name recognition and money together sort of suck up a lot of the oxygen in the room. We’re talking of course Giuliani, Romney, and there was for awhile McCain. I think that star is fading. But it’s being replaced to a certain extent with the hype around Fred Thompson, so you have these big names, well-known, lots of money, it’s difficult for anybody in that second tier. If you look almost everyone stays exactly [the same]. There’s no one, there’s not a single person in that second tier that has advanced anywhere. They all end up in single digits until after the Iowa straw poll. I think that will be the first thing that changes the dynamics.
If I do well enough in the Iowa straw poll then we will, believe me, the polls will change, the money will come in at a larger rate. You know what, somebody did an analysis, a news report, and our campaign had the highest percentage of small donors of any of the campaigns out there. Seventy-six percent of our contributors, 76 percent, are contributors of less than $100. We’ve raised over $3 million bucks. I am so proud of that. That’s a constituency I don’t have to buy. That’s the whole point. They’re wonderful. They’re there. God bless them. They send in a few bucks. In order to keep that going you have to give them hope that your candidacy is viable. And in order to have a viable candidacy you have to do well in the Iowa straw poll. That’s the first shot out of the box. That’s Aug. 11. So that’s where we’re going to put a lot of emphasis and see what happens.
WND: Would you support an amendment to the Constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman?
TANCREDO: Yes. I already have signed onto that. One man and one woman. I don’t know if people realize you have to say that. One man and one woman, because there are some peculiar ideas about what marriage may be running around out there. One man. One woman.
WND: Please share with us your perspective on abortion, Roe v. Wade and when the Constitution’s protections for life should apply.
TANCREDO: Roe v. Wade was constructed by liberal jurists. Truth-loving jurists will admit that there is no constitutional basis for such a ruling. I hope that we can find the vehicle that will challenge that once again at the Supreme Court level. Should I be president of the United States I can guarantee you the appointments I make to all courts will be … you know people always say, you don’t want a litmus test for your nominees. Well, I do. There will be a litmus test for any nominee I make, especially to a judgeship, district court level or the Supreme Court. The fact is that life is, when you think about it, if you cannot protect the most innocent among us, what is the value of government? It has the highest call, I think, on our moral principles.
WND: What is your belief about the terrorist threats U.S. citizens are facing within our own borders?
TANCREDO: I believe the threat is real. I believe that unless you can think of a deterrent the threat will become a reality. At the present time, you have to deal with this reality. I know what I’m going to tell you is controversial, but again if somebody can show me an alternative to what I’m going to tell you, then I’m happy to listen. But right now, there is no deterrent to the commission of that crime – that act of terror. There is no negative consequence to the perpetrator. His death is not a consequence, from his or her position, point of view. What possibly can deter them, if it is not some threat to take some action that would threaten [what] their belief system tells them. What I mean by that is this: People who are committed to conducting an act of terror on the United States, and I mean something huge, nuclear devices going off in this country, if they’re driven by religious principles, if their modus operandi, their purpose, their raison d’etre, is to do what they believe their god is telling them, how do you deal with that without reacting to it from a standpoint of a religious response?
When I say a religious response, what I’m saying to you is doing what I said earlier when I talked about threatening the holy sites as a deterrent. Now that was a very controversial statement and everybody went ballistic about it, but again, if that isn’t a deterrent, fine. I’m more than willing to listen to anyone who tells me what a deterrent will be. Because you’d better find one. That’s my point, you better find a deterrent, because if you don’t have one, I guarantee you, you will have the event.
So I’m more than willing to listen, to have anybody tell me, Tom that won’t work because of X, Y or Z, but here’s what will be a deterrent. I’m willing to hear it. So far, nobody’s come up with anything, period. There’s nothing. Nobody has suggested a deterrent. What we do is try and stop them before they do it. Well, thank God we have been able to do so. But do you want to bet your life, your children’s lives on the fact that we always will be able to do so, we always will be one step ahead of them? I’m not willing to bet mine on that, and so I’ve got to figure out, and any president has to figure out, what is the deterrent.
WND: How would you like to direct the national discussion during the campaign?
TANCREDO: What I would like for this campaign to focus on is the effect of a radical, multiculturalist agenda on our society and on our ability to survive in a clash of civilizations, which I do believe we are in. That is what I would love this presidential campaign to focus on, because I believe it’s the most serious issue of all. And the last best hope for Western civilization, I believe we are. If I could just get that point across and make that the centerpiece of the debate I will have won regardless of who wins the presidency.