Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo has said in the past that it would be "delusional" to think he could win the presidency, but he has nonetheless announced his intention to explore a run. He believes that his candidacy will force the Republican field to pay attention to his signature issue: securing the border. But the Republican candidates are, presumably, already aware that many members of their party are riled about the failure to enforce our immigration laws, and experience suggests that "cause candidates" do little to advance their causes. Conservatives should not be looking for single-issue champions, but for a competitive candidate who can champion our whole platform. [The Week on National Review / Digital, February 12, 2007 (Subscriber link)]How are the mighty fallen. Compare this conventional politico-groupie claptrap with William F. Buckley's attitude, back in the days when he and National Review were conservative. This is from a review of Buckley's 1966 book, The Unmaking Of A Mayor, about his 1965 mayoral race against the pseudo-Republican John V. Lindsay.
When it became clear that Lindsay would be the nominee of both the Republican and Liberal Parties, and furthermore, thanks to incumbent Robert Wagner's scandal ridden term, that Lindsay would likely win, Buckley began to write pieces asserting that it was important that someone who actually represented Republican views enter the race, simply to guarantee that there would be an honest debate on the issues. When leaders of the recently formed Conservative Party approached Buckley and asked him to take on the race, he agreed, on the understanding that he would not campaign full time and would continue to fulfill his obligations to the several jobs he held. He made his reasons for running clear in his announcement speech:
The two-party system presupposes an adversary relationship between the two parties. That there is no such relationship in New York Mr. Lindsay makes especially clear when he proposes as running mates members of the Liberal and Democratic Parties. Mr. Lindsay's Republican Party is a sort of personal accessory, unbound to the national party's candidates, unconcerned with the views of the Republican leadership in Congress, indifferent to the historic role of the Republican Party as standing in opposition to those trends of our time that are championed by the collectivist elements of the Democratic Party. Mr. Lindsay, described by The New York Times as being "as liberal as a man can be," qualifies for the support of the Liberal Party and the Republican Party only if one supposes that there are no substantial differences between the Republican Party and the Liberal Party. That there should be is my contention.It was clearly understood by all concerned that he would basically play the role of a gadfly in the race. Indeed, any doubts that he reckoned how little chance he had of being elected were cleared up at his first press conference, when to the consternation of staff and Party officials he gave the following answers to questions:
Q: Do you think you have any chance of winning?Buckley did not, of course, win. But he did better than anyone expected and he did succeed for the first time in surfacing blue-collar conservatives, who were critical to subsequent GOP Presidential victories. He brilliantly demonstrated the value of "cause candidates".
Q: How many votes do you expect to get, conservatively speaking?
WFB: Conservatively speaking, one. [Review of The Unmaking of a Mayor (1966), BrothersJudd.com, July 14, 2000]
Those were the days. And they still are the days, thanks to "cause candidates" like Tom Tancredo. The National Review editors have just forgotten - senility must be contagious. Remind them.