Hail to the Chef

In a Denver Post article published today, Representative Tom Tancredo's decision to consider a presidential bid (symbolized by his plan to form an exploratory committee) was described as a "quixotic quest," and that's a nice way of putting it. Granted, Tancredo, whose announcement about the committee was overshadowed everywhere but here by a similar declaration from Illinois Senator Barack Obama, isn't pretending that his candidacy is anything other than a "long shot" -- a phrase he used when speaking with Channel 4. Still, it's a shot he seems determined to take, and that should please those folks who've been urging him to take aim for several years.

For proof, check out Westword's profile of Tancredo, published in 2003. Back then, a group known as the California Commission for Immigration Reform was selling "Tancredo for President" bumper stickers for two dollars apiece on its website; the page remains active today, although it doesn't seem to have been updated in quite some time. Tancredo described his amusement over the stickers with a very telling quote. "It's not a realistic thing," he said, "but it's a conversation starter. After people ask, 'Who the hell is Tom Tancredo?' you can tell them what's going on with immigration."

Of course, certain people outside Colorado knew all about Tancredo at the time. He frequently received invitations to speak from immigration reform groups around the country, and according to him, he was often introduced at events with a variation on the following: "If your dinner came late, or if it's cold, you can blame this guy. When he came in, we lost half the waitstaff and all the kitchen help."

If Tancredo formally joins the race for the Republican nomination for president, restaurant workers may react differently -- by, for instance, putting "extra" ingredients into his meals. Hiring a food taster would probably be a good idea. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts