The headline from the NY Daily News is "Tea Party convention's racial brouhaha: Obama won because Jim Crow-era law not on books - Tancredo." Here is what the report has to say:
The opening speaker at the first National Tea Party Convention called President Obama a "committed Socialist ideologue" who was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote."
. . . "People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House," he said.
Tancredo, a failed 2008 presidential candidate, made his reputation as a rabid foe of illegal immigrants. The literacy tests he pined for were once used in the South to keep blacks from voting.
The spin on this is ridiculous. Tancredo is complaining about a portion of the electorate that is ignorant of America. Given his background and choice of words, one can assume that he was refering to illegal immigrants, though his language was broad enough to encompass even legal immigrants. That said, green card holders can't vote, and there was, when last I checked, a civics and language test involved in naturalization process. At any rate, what is clear is nothing in what Tancredo said could be construed as "pining" for a return of Jim Crow - a set of laws prevelant in the Democrat controlled Southern states at the turn of the twentieth century. Jim Crow was not about insuring an electorate with some knowledge of our history, system of government and language, it was about excluding a class of voters.
That said, the suggestion that immigrants, legal or otherwise, swung the election to Obama is just unsupported Obermanesque bomb throwing. Nothing I have read lends credence to Tancredo's claim. The guy's heart may be in the right place as to stopping the scourge of illegal immigration, but he is way over the top in expressing it and he seems far afield in blaiming Obama's election on it. Tancredo may not be a racist, but he is an idiot and the Tea Party Convention made a mistrake having him as the opening speaker.
Taken to its logical end, Tancredo's point is that the American electorate is stupid. That is a theme which, as Krauthammer notes in a recent article, is a bedrock belief of the far left. And just as the far left is wrong on that, so is Tancredo. The voters may be politically ignorant, but don't conflate that with stupidity. As we are being shown time and again of late, most voters can only be fooled once.