Memo to the presidential candidates: Fear-based political advertising works. Voters remember the ads, the media and bloggers will talk endlessly about them, and the in-your-face message really brings in the campaign contributions.

Facing a long-shot campaign for the Republican nomination, Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo is selling fear. Voters should pay attention to his message, and reject it completely.

Last week, Tancredo launched a television ad, appearing in Iowa and New Hampshire, crudely attempting to link illegal immigration to the war on terrorism (view it at here).

The 30-second spot shows a hooded figure apparently placing a bomb in an American shopping mall. In ominous tones the narrator warns: “There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs. Islamic terrorists now freely roam U.S. soil – jihadists who froth with hate here to do as they have in London, Spain, Russia.”

Coupled with images of destroyed train cars and wounded children, the message is clear: Immigrants are terrorists; terrorists are evil; hate all immigrants.

From the start, Tancredo has been a one-issue candidate. His campaign admitted this week that he does not expect to win, but does hope to steer the national debate on illegal immigration.

This may be one of the reasons for Tancredo’s almost non-existent poll numbers. Immigration is a serious issue, and one that deserves serious debate and action. Making illegal immigrants scapegoats in the war on terrorism is not a serious or productive approach to either issue. (MORE)


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