The NY Times Op-Ed page has a little feature today they're calling "What I'd Be Talking About If I Were Still Running." They're short pieces--a couple of hundred words at best--which means they're generally filled with platitudes and hit on notes observant people have heard before. Biden is still hawkish on Afghanistan, Brownback is still convinced that the family is in crisis and that the answer is to control womens' autonomy. Both Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson hit the subprime crisis notes--different strategies, but similar concerns. Tommy Thompson (he ran?) managed to complain that no one knows the Republicans care about health care (they do?) with a call for a flat tax, while Duncan Hunter sounded like an isolationist.

Of all of them, Chris Dodd talked about the issue that might actually get addressed under a new president (assuming that president is named Obama or Clinton)--the need to rebuild our infrastructure, and how deficit spending could help jump start the economy if we spend the money on the right things. I'd have been more than happy if the NY Times had given his section more space and dumped any of the above pieces.

And then there's Tom Tancredo. I can't say I've missed Tommy since he dropped out of the race, and I won't miss him once he leaves Congress this November, especially if the Democrats can snatch away an open seat. But he is consistent--he's writing about immigration, with all the verve his pointy little head can muster. For instance, did you know that both Obama and Clinton are pandering to people who want to make national borders disappear because they are "archaic and racist"?

I'll give Tancredo this much credit--he at least acknowledges in this piece, which he hasn't done in the past to my knowledge, that the borders include more than the southern one where mostly brown people come across. He notes that our borders include international airports and that lots of people come in on temporary visas. He doesn't mention any numbers, but a study from a couple of years ago concluded that 40% of the people who are here in the US illegally came in on work visas and simply overstayed, but those sorts of details don't get you donations from groups like the Minutemen and other xenophobes, which is probably why Tancredo hasn't talked about it much.

But it's his last paragraph that gets me, that makes me remember why I watched the early Republican debates, back when Duncan Hunter and Tancredo were vying to be the white Alan Keyes.

We continue to put out the welcome mat for the homegrown citizen-terrorists in Britain and other visa-waiver countries, all in the name of expedited commerce. Lenin reputedly said the capitalists would sell the rope for their own hanging. He must have had our hotel and restaurant industry in mind.

The hotel and restaurant industry is in cahoots with the terrorists. You heard it. Thanks, Tommy. You made my morning.

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