SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Representative Tom Tancredo (R-Col.), a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, explains his formula for victory in the current conflict in the Middle East:
“If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That’s the most negative I can think of.”
Tancredo could do well to invest in a map. He would discover that the Holy Sites of the Hejaz are located in Saudi Arabia, which is not only one of the Bush Administration’s closest allies in the region, but also one to which the Administration now proposes—with Tancredo’s evident support—to sell $20 billion in sophisticated weaponry.
Tancredo’s challenged intellect is a constant source of amusement to some, and worry to others. But if we have to pick among the Republican field today the candidate who appeals, quite consciously, to the basest, most racist and most ignorant of the electorate—who can doubt just which candidate that is?
Alexis de Tocqueville, writing in Democracy in America, some ways into the chapter superscribed “On Parliamentary Eloquence in the United States” (vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 21)(a resource he found altogether lacking), renders this indispensable advice to Rep. Tancredo:
To keep silent is the most useful service that a mediocre talker can render to the public.
There are of course no shortage of legislators on both sides of the aisle who could benefit from this, but Tancredo is a special case.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Estimated number of calories a person consumes during Thanksgiving dinner:
The earth had become twice as dusty during the past century.
A man sued Pennsylvania state police who detained him for 29 days when they mistook his homemade soap for cocaine.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”