Tom Tancredo’s Literacy Test: The Controversy That Wasn’t (Video)

By
Friday, February 05, 2010 at 7:43 pm

NASHVILLE — The closest thing to a controversy at the National Tea Party Convention has been the opening speech by former congressman Tom Tancredo, in which he complained that “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.” That remark led to the expected backlash, with plenty of people pointing out the history of literacy tests. And as Tancredo walked around the small convention area today, he talked into recorder after camera after notebook.

“I don’t want anybody to be refused the right to vote if, maybe, they have to mark [the ballot] with an X,” said Tancredo in a short interview with John Avlon of the Daily Beast. “I do think they should have to know something about how the government works.” He suggested using the citizenship test that immigrants take — maybe, he said, voters could take it “verbally.”

How did Tea Party organizers respond to the questions? Judson Phillips basically agreed with Tom Tancredo and called it a “fantastic speech.”

Follow David Weigel on Twitter


Comments

16 Comments

dayswithdave
Comment posted February 5, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

The Teabaggers would most likely fail that test. Go for it.


chrisjay
Comment posted February 5, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

By “literacy test” does Tancredo mean the “literacy tests” used to prevent blacks from votingin the South before the Civil Rights Act?


spatula
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 1:08 am

Wouldn't a literacy test exclude a large percentage of voters in red states?

I'm all for it.


hello01589
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 9:06 am

Welcome to our website: http://www.wowhotsale.com
The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the nike,jordan,prada,adidas, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the decorations. All the products are free shipping, and the the price is competitive, and also can accept paypal payment.,after the payment, can ship within short time.

free shipping
competitive price
any size available
We do wholesale and retail! All are extremely CHEAP, please visit: http://www.wowhotsale.com
jbmkrsbfh


GiGi
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 9:11 am

Tancredo's speech was outstanding. He received several standing ovations. The libs just don't get it -


Charles42
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

He is advocating that all voters take the same civics test that immigrants must take AND PASS to become citizens….what's anti-immigrant about that? Liberals need to get a life.


Pug
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

Here's your literacy test question from the old Jim Crow days Charles:

If Congress passes a bill and the president doesn't want to sign it, how many days does he have to return it to Congress for reconsideration?

I don't think you could anser that question, Charles.

If immigrants have already passed the test, I guess it's just the native born who need to be tested. That should get quite a few right-wing morons off the rolls.


sue
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

How many of those teabaggers could pass a civics test? I'd bet not many.


vabelle
Comment posted February 6, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

I actually did take that test, when I was naturalised, and it was one of the easiest, most basic, things, ever. But it did include a question about the branches of the Govt — how many of them and what they were. That's a question to which our erst-while VP, Dick (Dead-Eye) Cheney, didn't seem to know the answer. Ie, he would not have passed the naturalisation test. So, I have an amendment to Tancredo's requirement: all the people running for elective office ought to take that test, before they require their voters to do so. After all, they're aiming to be the *leaders*.


southerngirl59
Comment posted February 7, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

He was talking about Black people when he mentioned the literacy tests because he knows Blacks helped put Obama in the white house (and other races) and the history of literacy test dates back to making Black people take a literacy test (they knew most wouldn't pass) before they could vote during the Civil Rights era. I think all of them should be made to take a “Black History” test before they can run for office or vote.


Rambam
Comment posted February 10, 2010 @ 8:10 am

Mr. Tancredo's responsibilities include voting on matters that relate to other countries. By his reasoning, he should also be required to take a literacy test (in writing, preferably, but orally if that is not feasible) on his knowledge of the country or countries involved and the bilateral issues.


Rambam
Comment posted February 10, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

Mr. Tancredo's responsibilities include voting on matters that relate to other countries. By his reasoning, he should also be required to take a literacy test (in writing, preferably, but orally if that is not feasible) on his knowledge of the country or countries involved and the bilateral issues.


The NAACP Is Right | KPCC
Pingback posted July 15, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

[...] was roundly cheered, and afterward, lauded by Tea Party Nation organizer Judson Phillips, for giving “a fantastic [...]


The NAACP Is Right | WNYC
Pingback posted July 15, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

[...] was roundly cheered, and afterward, lauded by Tea Party Nation organizer Judson Phillips, for giving “a fantastic [...]


The NAACP Is Right | KALW
Pingback posted July 15, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

[...] was roundly cheered, and afterward, lauded by Tea Party Nation organizer Judson Phillips, for giving “a fantastic [...]


The Greenroom » Weigel/JournoList: Another reply to Conor Friedersdorf
Pingback posted July 22, 2010 @ 10:57 pm

[...] “saw as many glum and unresponsive faces in the crowd as people standing up to cheer.” Weigel’s approach to the Tancredo speech was to suggest it was not considered contoversial. Similarly, Weigel’s [...]


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.