Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tom Tancredo Visits Dartmouth

The steady stream of candidates to campus continued on Monday, with Congressman Tom Tancredo holding a Town Hall meeting at the Rockefeller Center. Here's an article in The Dartmouth covering the main points of his remarks. Most of the evening was a discussion of his views on immigration. Since I'm not a fan of establishing a guest worker program, which I consider an institutionalized second-class citizenship, I tend to agree with him more than the other candidates. On the efficacy of building fences and on whether we should be doing more to enable legal immigration, he's more of a hardliner than I am.

Overall, I had the same reaction to him as I had to Congressman Ron Paul when he visited. As a Republican, there are many things about his views that resonate with me. But my question is this. In a nutshell, "If those are your beliefs ..., then why are you not taking on a leadership role in Congress to make sure they are reflected in the law of the land?" If you fancy yourself an authentic conservative, and if you believe that the people will support you in your views, then build a governing coalition around that among your colleagues in Congress. If you cannot do that, then why would we think that you have the ability to lead from the Oval Office?

There was a frank discussion about what it has been like to serve in Congress in recent years, and he had no particularly kind words for how the institution functioned while the Republicans were in the majority. At one point, he likened Congress to "Chinese water torture on your principles." He said that the way arms were twisted by the Republican leadership to pass the Medicare drug bill was a low point for him as a Republican in Congress.

Mine, too.


LizardWizard said...

Building a governing coalition out of the Republicans is easy. Building a governing coalition with principles out of the Republicans is not easy.

For that matter, building a governing coalition with principles out of American politicians is not easy.

If we want to elect a president with integrity, we're going to have to pick one of the less prominent congresscritters, if not a complete outsider. The prominent congresscritters are prominent because they're unprincipled enough to twist arms and not complain when their own is twisted. And we're going to have to get used to hearing about vetoes frequently.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Samwick,

I wrote the following for a somewhat more polemical site. Hopufully the factual content will be of value.

Peter Schaeffer

The idea that fences don’t work is contrafactual. Indeed, fences have an excellent track record around the world. Don’t believe me? Check out one of the fences Europe is building (Melilla border fence) to keep out illegals. Saudi Arabia is building several fences to protect it from jihadis and illegals. The Kurds are building a barrier to protect themselves from the endemic violence of the rest of Iraq. Thailand is building a “security fence” along its border with Malaysia. A few other countries building fences include India, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, the UAE, and Kuwait. See the The good fences epidemic for an article on the subject.

The Israeli fence (it is not a wall) has been a spectular success so far reducing suicide bombings inside Israel by at least 90%. If the Israeli fence can stop suicide terrorists, I am pretty sure than an American fence can stop illegal aliens.

Check out “What America can learn from Israel's West Bank security barrier” ( by Shmuel Rosner. A useful quote

“The country that builds the fence buys a sense of security, but the people prevented from getting to work, or shopping, or marrying someone on the other side will not be thankful for it. And the reason is pretty obvious: Fences work.”

It’s funny that many people mention the Great Wall of China. The wall was a great success for centuries. Hopefully, by 2207 Mexico will have stopped trying to export its population and will have accepted its responsibility for its own people.