Colorado Representative/presidential candidate Tom Tancredo recently returned from the second leg of his jaunt through Iowa’s Pizza Ranches and nursing homes (officially dubbed the “Save America Tour”), and for once, an issue other than his stance on immigration seemed to take center stage.
That issue? Abortion.
The brouhaha began when Sam Brownback, another snowball’s-chance-in-hell candidate sent a recorded message to Iowa voters, imploring them to “Say no to Tom Tancredo and his Planned Parenthood friend.”
Apparently, that "friend" is a fellow far-right nutjob named John Tanton, who donated some money to the Tancredo campaign. In his zeal for “population control,” Tanton (whom the Southern Poverty Law Center calls “the founding father of America's modern anti-immigration movement” and a key architect of English-only legislation throughout the U.S.) also helped to launch a Planned Parenthood clinic in Michigan back in the 1960s.
Now, abortion is to Brownback what immigration is to Tancredo. Brownback puts the “fun” back into “fundamentalism” by holding public campaign events at so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” and opposing abortion rights even for rape victims. Brownback insisted that Tancredo give up the tainted Tanton money.
The Tanc refused.
Relinquishing any campaign cash isn’t a luxury Tancredo can afford at this point. Instead, he enlisted the help of Phyllis Schafly, the anti-feminist fossil most famous for opposing the Equal Rights Amendment for women and championing vacuuming, dishes and wholesome dinners. The octogenarian Schafly went to bat for Tancredo on Iowa’s talk radio shows, burnishing his 30-year tenure as a defender of fetal tissue everywhere.
Then, as quickly as the scuffle kicked up, it disappeared. The news made barely a blip even in Midwestern newspapers, quickly overshadowed by pork bellies and August soybean futures. Tancredo was free to retreat to more comfortable territory — bashing Mexicans and bombing Mecca.
If the Tancredo-Brownback skirmish weren’t so wrong on every level, it would be downright funny. It’s like the two losers picked last for the kickball team suddenly taking it out on each other. Despite his feverish campaigning through Iowa, Tancredo’s efforts have produced little traction. The latest polls reveal Tancredo and Brownback tied with 2 percent support, respectively, among likely Republican caucus-goers.
A recent unscientific survey, conducted at a local watering hole just down the block from Tancredo’s Ames, Iowa headquarters, garnered similar results. A show of hands revealed that, if given the choice of Colorado imports, this group of already caucus-weary Iowans would take a six-pack of New Belgium microbrews over Tom Tancredo.