Columnists, Jon Caldara, Politics

Caldara: Invincible Tom Tancredo & Peter Boyles human after all

Invincible people don’t get sick.

So, when they do it shakes us to the core.

A couple of true Colorado invincibles turn out to be human after all. And I hate it.

Whether you agree with longtime talk show host Peter Boyles or uncontrollable politico Tom Tancredo, you must admit both are fearless champions for their causes and are fixtures in Colorado politics.

And both are now fearlessly facing some health issues.

Tancredo is battling cancer and Boyles, who has been yacking on Denver airwaves since the early 1970s, recently suffered a stroke. And in perfect Boyles fashion, he did it on air.

Anything for ratings. He has decided to step back from the microphone, truly marking an end of an era.

No one always agreed with Boyles on the issues, including himself. His stances have changed over time, but one theme always stayed constant — thumbing his nose against the establishment. Usually that means taking on the political establishment in both major parties and the local mainstream media.

For a long time in Denver, he and fellow talker Mike Rosen were the only powerful counterweights to the two daily newspapers and four TV news stations. They frightened wayward politicians to act better. They changed Colorado politics.

I’ve been doing talk radio as a side gig since 1988, and that wouldn’t have happened if not for Pete.

I was on the RTD Board of Directors in 1997 and fighting their wasteful, crony-laden boondoggle light-rail tax-increase. Every social engineer, politician and business group were pushing it. The media, as usual, wouldn’t challenge the numbers or logic behind it.

Boyles gave me a nearly daily platform on his morning show to chip away at the con job. As attention grew, the tax vote went down in flames. After which I got some mic time of my own.

Why was I on the RTD board in the first place? A big part of the blame goes to Tom Tancredo.

I was volunteering at Independence Institute where Tom was president in 1994. One day I got a phone call from Tom and their transportation guru, Dennis Polhill.

They told me they want me to run for an open seat on RTD. I told Tom I was flattered he thought of me first, to which he said in classic Tom style, “Oh no, you’re the sixth guy we’ve called.”

When Tom was running for U.S. President (he was Trump before Trump, but without the money and insane narcissism) I’d get calls from friends around the country saying that Tom seemed so mean. I laughed at that because personally Tom is a pussycat and constantly irreverent.

As an aside, when I said Pat Buchanan seemed so mean and grumpy, people who knew him laughed at me for the same reason. Funny how the media successfully builds false narratives.

Folks think Tom’s greatest desire is ending illegal immigration. But Tom cares most for kids.

Educational choice is his true passion. Before serving in the Colorado state house (as one of the famed “House Crazies”) he served kids as a teacher himself and saw the broken system from the inside. Later he tried to improve it during his years in the Department of Education under Reagan, his hero.

For me Tom’s bravery showed most when he spoke openly about his struggles with depression, and his use of medication to help fight it.

He broke Politics 101, if you’re running for public office, you never cop to depression no less medication.

And as a Republican?

Unheard of.

Like Peter Boyles’ openness about his successful battle over addiction, Tom inspired who knows how many people to get the help they needed.

And like Pete, Tom played a role in my career. When he won his U.S. congressional seat and left Independence Institute, its founder (and my mentor) John Andrews asked me to take his place.

If not for these three guys I’d be flipping burgers now.

Tom and Pete, stay invincible.

Jon Caldara is president of thee Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.

CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.

Comments are closed.