DENVER — On Thursday, I wrote that Mitt Romney’s comments about President Obama winning reelection because he gave “gifts” to his base offered those looking to take the baton from Romney and to lead the GOP going forward an opportunity to turn the page.
After losing a presidential election that Republicans thought was theirs to win, it’s time the party’s new generation of leaders has a Sister Souljah moment with its own base, with the more stridently ideological people within that base who alienate the voting blocs — Latinos, women, young voters — the GOP will need if it plans to stick around into the 21st century.
One of those people is Tom Tancredo.
The Tom Tancredo who led the Republican effort to squash President George W. Bush’s bid for comprehensive immigration reform in 2006.
The Tom Tancredo who announced his last-minute gubernatorial campaign in 2010 wearing a “Border Patrol” ballcap.
The Tom Tancredo who, on Friday, sent an email to his political action committee’s email list lamenting Tuesday’s election results but doubling down on almost everything that got the GOP beat.
Romney’s persistent belief that about half the country is sponging off the government?
“It makes me fear for my country that so many chose to live in a nation of dependents rather than vote to give rise again to what made America great — a country of hard-working individuals proud of the work they do, the things they build and the care they give to their loved ones,” Tancredo wrote.
Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, the two Republican senates candidates who threw away two otherwise certain GOP wins by, well, speaking their mind about rape?
“They both lost, which is a real shame,” Tancredo writes, “because these men would have made exceptional U.S. Senators.”
Oh, and after Republicans saw Obama win Hispanic voters by nearly three-to-one nationwide, Tancredo, true to form, is sounding the alarm about the more pragmatic members of his party’s recognition that embracing comprehensive immigration reform is becoming a political imperative.
Tancredo tells supporters that his allies in the House need help.
“They are all that stands between a $20 trillion debt and amnesty for 20 million illegals,” Tancredo writes.
“We can’t let those who actually believe the answer is comprehensive immigration reform…aka massive amnesty…take us back down that path again.We must stop them cold as we did before — because we know that will be the end of the line for America.”
Tancredo no longer has a vote in Congress, but he has a nationwide email list of supporters.
The next generation of GOP leaders, recognizing the need to adopt a more inclusive message and platform, has widely dismissed Romney’s “gifts” comments.
And while Tancredo and Karl Rove, also explaining away the GOP’s 2012 failures as the result of the Obama campaign’s “cheating” in the trenches, seem emblematic of the old guard of the party, they represent what Republicans like Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and even Colorado’s Cory Gardner are up against — an obstinate conservative base still demanding the brand of ideological extremism that’s costing the GOP elections and, ultimately, threatening the party’s survival.
Until more moderate fiscal conservatives feel they can win Republican primaries against more extreme candidates, they’ll remain on the sidelines.
Which is just where the Democratic Party wants them.