Crazy for You

And so, he adds, is talking about it now: "I don't want to be fighting this for the next two years."

In the early Seventies, back when Tancredo was designated 1-Y, a psychiatric history was enough to bump Thomas Eagleton off the Democratic ticket as George McGovern's vice-presidential candidate. So Tancredo didn't talk about it when he ran for the Colorado General Assembly--when he was lumped in with the "House Crazies," no one knew how accurate the term was--or when he was appointed as regional head of Ronald Reagan's education department, or when he was made director of the Independence Institute.

He'd started talking about it with friends, though, and after Ralph labeled him a draft dodger, he talked about it with supporters. And he talked about it with the Denver District Attorney's Office--which has investigated whether charges of criminal impersonation can be filed against the person who faxed the documents to the station. Tancredo has his suspects: They're losers.

Yes, Tancredo can be kooky, and opinionated, and ornery. He's already declared his independence from Washington by skipping an invitation to visit the White House and meet Bill Clinton. Tancredo doesn't like him--he's said so--and so he didn't go. He and his wife went out to dinner instead. And he knows he'll take some knocks in his district, where his predecessor, Dan Shaefer, was not one to rock the boat. In fact, the federal renewable-energy facility in Golden just named a building after Shaefer, who made sure the program's funding wasn't cut. "They won't be naming any building after me," promises Tancredo.

He's heading back to Washington this week, where he'll continue to speak his mind. But first he wants to talk about his mind.

"That I can talk about it--it's incredible," Tancredo says. "But if I could have gone to Vietnam instead of suffering this depression, these attacks, I'd trade it in a heartbeat."

He's not blowing smoke. He swears.

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