A lot of Iowa voters are expected to cast ballots for Tom Tancredo at the Ames straw poll this week. Until recently a vote for Tancredo would have been understood as a vote against indifference to illegal immigration and for the idea of deportation. But the general and instant rejection of the proposed immigration “reform” bill undercut Tancredo’s candidacy as all of the leading GOPers came out against the bill and managed to do so without sounding nativist in the least degree. Suddenly you could be for strong borders and coherent regularization without being for Tancredo, and his “protest” candidacy sputtered, and then began to bomb, burdened as well by Tancredo’s own debate performances. Ron Paul became the marginal candidate with the biggest band.
Desperate for attention, Tancredo returned to a subject he once dallied with –the wisdom of bombing Mecca and Medina in the aftermath of an attack on the U.S. When Tancredo suggested this destructive approach two years ago, he quickly backtracked and told me and others that he was answering a hypothetical.
The desperation for attention that seems to guide Tancredo drove him back to the fringes of American political life a couple of days ago:
“If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” he said in Iowa last week. “Because that’s the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they otherwise might do.”
Tancredo’s position is endorsed by no one else on the American political stage and for good reason: We are not at war with Islam. Our enemies want us to be at war with Islam because that is how they see the battle, and they wish us to embrace their disfigured vision of the conflict. They want every Muslim to believe that America is on a crusade to destroy Islam. They want the peoples of Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan and Indonesia as well as of every other Muslin on the globe to believe America hates Islam and is bent on destroying it. Tancredo has given our enemies a huge gift, one that increases the dangers to all of our soldiers, and which insults every Muslim serving in the uniform of the United States, but denouncing him diminishes that propaganda bonanza, and I hope every Republican candidate does so and soon.
A vote for Tancredo –even a straw vote at Ames– is a vote for religious war and increasing the risks to our troops and the pressures on our allies.