What motivates political figures to embrace extreme rhetoric? This summer, Jerry Falwell explained that extreme rhetoric leads to publicity, which in turn leads to money: “There’s a connection between outrageous remarks, and this huge sanctuary we see here today,” he told NPR.
When Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), the leading anti-immigrant member of the House, was called out by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (and many others) for his remark at a right-wing conference that Miami is like a “third-world country,” he didn’t back down, and now he is returning to Florida to speak to the Key Biscayne Rotary Club on the topic of assimilation. According to his spokesman, he’s going back to Florida in order to cause discord:
[Tancredo spokesman Carlos] Espinosa said Tancredo wasn’t worried about whatever reception he will get in the Miami area. “Not at all. I think the vast majority of people agree with him on this stuff,” Espinosa said.
Meanwhile, any protests or controversy will only draw more attention to the event, he said. “It’s always entertaining. It’ll add to the flair of Miami,” Espinosa said. “I really do hope we get some protesters. Otherwise, what else are we going for?“
More controversy, more press, higher profile – and who knows, a presidential bid?
A scene from CPAC 2006.