This is the third installment of the weeklong examination of Presidential hopefuls. For the purpose of review - all of the aspirants to be examined this week have, in my view, met the bare minimum requirement: a willingness to defend Taiwan from future attack. Monday's post was on Rudolph Giuliani; yesterday's was on Senator George Allen. Today, I present the best of the likely candidates for the Presidency: Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Representative Tancredo was elected by the voters of Colorado's 6th District in 1998. As such, he was actually required to cast a vote on Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Communist China. Tancredo both voted and spoke against it. Rather than the end of his anti-Communist record, it was only the beginning; like Senator Allen, Tancredo is a member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus (the House side - FAPA).
This alone would be enough to give Tancredo a record superior to that of both Allen and Giuliani, but Tancredo has gone out of his way to make clear he is an anti-Communist leader, not just an anti-Communist vote. He has sponsored legislation calling for the 2008 Olympic Games to be moved (China Support Network, second article). He has made a point of publicly showing his support for Taiwan, from meeting former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui (FAPA) to sending an open letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig ripping the latter's snubbing of the island democracy (fifth item). Finally, he has also reached out to the Chinese dissident community, both in public events (Epoch Times) and in various cooperative efforts (yours truly can attest to that personally). He is also one of the few active anti-Communists who make the connection between the Communist Chinese regime and its Korean colony (ditto). From the anti-Communist perspective, Tancredo is head-and-shoulders above all other probable candidates for President; he is as close to perfect as they come.
Tancredo's problems come from how he is perceived by those outside the movement. He is best known not for his anti-Communism, but for his restrictionist views on illegal immigration. Barring the unforeseen, no one can win the Republican nomination in 2008 without some form of approval from the restrictionists, but Tancredo has been out in front for so long he has acquired the political damage other, more quiet restrictionists have avoided.
The biggest problem to arise from this is the race card, which at least some of his opponents would try to use against him. However, his close ties to the Chinese exile dissident community can at worst mitigate that ploy, and at best make it look as silly as it really is.
Tancredo's other problem is the Republican establishment, which simply does not like him.
In both cases, Allen gains at Tancredo's expense: he, too, is a restrictionist, but a more recent and "smoother" one, and the GOP establishment is very happy with the Virginia Senator. However, the establishment does not control the party as it once did, especially with the massive disconnect on the illegal immigration issue. Tancredo could still overcome his weaknesses, especially if the pro-life/anti-abortion community were to decide Allen is too problematic (his early record does not make them happy; Tancredo does not have this problem).
If Tancredo were to win the nomination, he is almost certain to be vastly underestimated in the general election. He is a decent fellow with firm principles; that can be confused for nastiness from those who disagree on those principles. However, such confusion is usually sorted out in a presidential campaign.
In other words, if Tancredo can get past the primaries, he has a very good chance of winning, and if he does, the anti-Communists will have hit the jackpot.
Tancredo is the best of the would-be candidates in the field at present; the last two names I consider are not viewed as candidates, but I think their unique situations would make them compelling if they decided to run, and both are strong anti-Communists.
To find out who they are, watch this space tomorrow and Friday!