Allen West: The Potty Mouth That Roared
02/15/2012 - 23:22
Douglas Bloomfield

Allen West was on his best behavior – for Allen West – at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting in Washington.  He gave "an unusually tame speech" for a man "known for flinging red meat by the bucket," said the Washington Post.  His biggest applause line came from a member of the CPAC audience who shouted, "Allen West for President."

West is a tea party favorite with a well-earned reputation as a rabble-rouser and provocateur. The Freshman Republican represents Florida's 22d district, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, including Boca Raton, and has a sizeable Jewish population, but after the lines were redrawn he decided to run instead in the new 18th north of his present district.

He is not actually a resident of his present district and may not be in the newly adopted one, something a potential primary opponent hinted he might try to exploit.

The nonpartisan Rothenberg Report said:  "West is, by any standard, a loose cannon who uses absurdly over-the-top language against his political opponents," adding, it is not out of line to call West a "loud, dangerous, extreme, radical."

One of his most vitriolic attacks was leveled at Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents the adjacent district (where West actually lives) and is chair of the Democratic National Committee. 

He called her "vile, unprofessional and despicable," "a coward," "characterless" and not a Lady" and demanded she "shut the heck up," Politico and others reported.

That wasn't unusual.  He has called Democrats “vile,” “vicious” and “socialist”; compared President Barack Obama to a “third-world dictator,” referred to the U.S. government as a “tyranny” and tosses around Nazi comparisons.

The Hill, the Capitol Hill newspaper, said:

One of the most divisive figures in the Republican Party, West has built a firebrand reputation for lobbing stinging and personal attacks at his rivals, even comparing Democrats to Nazis.

When West said, "If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democratic Party," the National Jewish Democratic Council condemned him for "invoking the Holocaust to make a political point."

He is a retired army lieutenant colonel who won a Bronze Star in Iraq but decided to retire after an investigation into his conduct during the interrogation of a detainee. 

He is the first black Republican congressman from Florida since 1876 and one of only two African American Republicans in the 112th Congress.

With West out of the 22d, former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner is stepping in. The new district is slightly more Democratic but the Brooklyn-born Republican, who previously represented parts of the area in the state legislature, has at least one thing going for him. "The fact that he is Jewish is also an asset," Rothenberg said.  If elected, Hasner would double the number of Jewish Republicans in Congress; currently there is only one, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA).

The Palm Beach Post reported that West may have a primary opponent.  Retiring Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder said he is considering running, noting that West is “relocating” and not from the district.

Congressional lines in Florida have not been finalized and may not be before mid-June because of legal challenges.

Comments

Jeff Dunetz,

I've seen the speech DWS gave on the floor of the House where she called out Allen West. She called him out for his hypocrisy on a substantive issue. Here is exactly what she said:

“The gentleman from Florida who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable from a member from South Florida.”

Not exactly an Earth-shaking personal attack. It is actually a very astute and accurate political critique. His reply was egregiously unprofessional and insulting; conduct certainly unbecoming of an elected official, someone who is by definition a leader in the community.

Jeff, this man -- who has repeatedly compared Democrats to Nazis and "slave-masters on the plantation" -- represents me in Congress. As I have said in my previous comments, I have never felt so insulted in my life as to be represented by someone so disgusting. He not only is a disgrace to himself and his party, but he is a disgrace to the institution of Congress. He is a disgrace to the very concept of representative democracy, in which members debate issues and form compromises with which to govern the country. If he had things his way, people who disagree with him would "get the hell out of America." This idea is literally diametrically opposed to the form of government enshrined in our Constitution.

As for Allen West's service to his country. He is, literally, lucky that he wasn't court martialed for violating the U.S. Military Code. The code exists for a reason. He broke the code. Again, you are using partisan politics to explain away yet another Republican who is comfortable breaking the law when the law doesn't suit him.

So, yes. Yes indeed. You WERE listening to a different speech, because you have the mindset that Republicans can do no wrong. And that is factually intellectually dishonest. Your full-throated support of this man is equally as grotesque as his original comments. You and he should both be ashamed at your behavior.

OK Doug...where you THERE? What kind of insider are you? I was at CPAC covering the event as a credentialed reporter, you must have heard a different speech than I did. Also, you published Alan West's responses to DWS but not what the Congresswoman said to get that response. Finally you told half the story about why he retired, and how he put himself on the line to protect his people.

But once again, The all-progressive---all the time Jewish Week's Bias is showing.

By the way, John Swetland, Allen West's support for Jews doesn't even cross the party lines much less the Atlantic Ocean. He is a total fraud who is willing to say anything to get the Jewish conservative vote. That HARDLY means that he is a staunch supporter of Israel or Jewry. I suggest that YOU drop your Neocon glasses and look at the fact that he called Jewish Democrats Nazis and then refused to apologize. How much more insensitive to the Jewish experience can one possibly be than to use offensive language on purpose and then refuse to acknowledge the hurt you caused?

I'll tell you who REALLY supports the Jewish people... and that is President Obama. Every single Middle Class Jewish family has received a payroll tax break from President Obama. Every single Middle Class Jewish working person who is now unemployed can thank President Obama for fighting for extended unemployment benefits. Every single college-age Jewish man and woman in America can now be claimed as a dependent so they can stay on their parents' health care for several more years, rather than being without insurance entirely. President Obama killed Osama bin Laden and Anwar Al-Awlaki, two men responsible for killing, or plotting to kill, American Jews.

The conservatives are clearly thinking about every issue through a political lens, instead of a factual lens. It is ENOUGH. I am thrilled that I get the chance to vote for President Obama for a second term. And I couldn't be happier that I get to do so directly from the 22nd congressional district of Florida, one that currently is represented by the most abrasive, combative, unfair, and insulting member of Congress that I have ever seen in my life. 2012 can't come fast enough, so we can elect more strong public servants (i.e. Democrats) to the House and Senate, and begin to resolve this country's systemic problems. Problems that Allen West and the conservatives refuse to even discuss in a fact-based way.

I will not be voting for Obama nor will my Jewish family whom despise what he has done towards Isreal!

I am a Jewish Democrat who lives in Allen West's district.

He absolutely refused to apologize for comparing Democrats to Nazis even though the vast majority of Jews are Democrats. I spoke with his Chief of Staff and he also refused to even acknowledge the great discomfort that Congressman West has caused me by comparing the political party that I support to the people who slaughtered many members of my own family in the Holocaust.

This man is a disgrace to very concept of representative government and, G-d willing, he will never win another election in his life.

Douglas...OK I get it, you're a New York Liberal. Your ilk has ruined MY State for decades. Keep rolling the upstate money down to the cesspool... Anyways, I get your slant on Allen West due to your political absurdity. However, have you researched Mr West's total support, love and admiration for the State of Israel and Jews all over the world? I can safely state that there is not a more staunch supporter of Israel on the Hill. Jews NEED defenders of their Homeland such as West in these trying times. I hope that you drop your Liberal eyeglasses and wear your Jewish ones, your people have a HUGE asset in DC, he should be recognized for being so.

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