by David Safier
Tom Tancredo admits, the tea party is split on immigration and SB1070. The more pro-immigration, libertarian wing of the TP-ers want to shut the hell up about immigration, since they know it's a wedge issue in the TP ranks. The Tancredo wing wants to shout their anti-immigrant rhetoric from the rooftops.
Tancredo is not pleased with Dick Armey.
. . . the national Tea Party Patriots, which is affiliated with Richard Armey's Washington, D.C.-based Freedom Works organization, has been vocal and systematic in excluding immigration-related concerns from its "Contract from America." Touted as a grass-roots poll of tea-party members, the poll from its inception has barred any attempt to add immigration concerns to the poll's menu of issues.
Tancredo is also not fond of the libertarian strain of the right wing, and he names names:
[A] group of tea-party leaders who have fought the inclusion of immigration in the tea-party agenda are open-borders libertarians who support amnesty. They are folks found at Freedom Works, the Club for Growth and the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
And he issues a warning.
Local tea-party activists from California to Florida and from Idaho to Massachusetts now see the immigration issue the same way 71 percent of Arizona citizens see it – as a matter of national security, public safety and fiscal necessity. They want their legislators to enact Arizona-style laws in their own states, and they join 88 percent of Americans in saying they want more border security.
Self-proclaimed tea-party leaders in Washington, D.C., who want to deny or obstruct this new tea-party consensus do so at their peril.
I hope Democrats are aware of this split in the right wing ranks over immigration. Tancredo could have included Arizona's own Goldwater Institute in the list of conservative groups whose libertarian tendencies have kept them tight-lipped about somewhat pro-immigration stance, for fear of alienating other right wingers. (In the case of G.I., of course, the greatest fear is alienating their donor base and jeopardizing their cushy 6 figure salaries.)