To paraphrase Dick Cheney, Representative Tom Tancredo's quizzical presidential campaign is in its last throes. But it's going out with a bang -- literally -- with a commercial running in Iowa that makes Lyndon Johnson's infamous 1964 mushroom-cloud spot look subtle.
The ad, which you can view below, begins with Tancredo offering an endorsement of the message that follows: "Hi, I'm Tom Tancredo, and I approve this message because someone needs to say it." An instant later, the screen fills with overtly scary, often overexposed images of a hooded man placing a bomb in a book bag and heading to a mall. Meanwhile, a narrator who bears a striking aural resemblance to Boris Karloff in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas declares: "There are consequences to open borders beyond the twenty million aliens who've come to take our jobs. Islamic terrorists now freely roam U.S. soil." Next, he adds, "Jihadists who froth with hate here to do as they have in London and Spain and Russia," with the locations in question punctuated by shots of a blasted bus, a destroyed train and a lifeless, bloodied young boy. Then it's back to the mall, and after the voice intones, "The price we pay for spineless politicians who refuse to defend our borders against those who come to kill," we see the figure set down the book bag just prior to a fade to black and the sound of an explosion. The final graphic reads: "Tancredo... before it's too late."
Over the top? Oh, man -- but it's also very much in keeping with Tancredo's true-believer style, which is analyzed in Westword's 2003 profile. During his early days as a Colorado state representative, Tancredo was known as one of the "House crazies." Iowans who see his latest commercial may well revive the nickname. -- Michael Roberts