One of the benefits of the profound ignorance of a large swaithe of the American people lies in their inability to recognize irony. So, when a first term member of congress who is probably looking at being a one term member of Congress pulls something out not from the Karl Rove playbook but the Joe McCarthy playbook, people will miss it. Our political discourse has skipped self-satire and gone straight to slapstick. As Gibbs rule number 7 puts it, "when you lie, be specific." Allan West, Congressman from Mesron and Florida, is now trying to win a redistricted, largely Democratic district by railing against the Democratic Progressive Caucus as "Communists' announcing that he's "heard that 80 member of congress are communists." You see, the American Communist party, the old Gus Hall powerhouse, has said that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is reasonably close to endorsing their goals. (In the spirit of full disclosure, this website endorsed Gus Hall for President in 2008. Mr Hall died in 2000)I'm not sure what those could be, since the Communist Party of the USA was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics which...no longer exists. Well, the language is degraded by more than West's blathering, but come on. Read something written by somebody not John Birch or J. Edgar Hoover that explains what Communism is as opposed to what you think it is...a vague threat to take your guns, your government health care, your government pension and your government roads, schools, infrastructure and pollute your precious body fluids while letting your children run wild having abortions and contraception and stuff. Dude, Democrats are to Communists in much the way that the Republicans are to the Freemen of Montana.
West also babbled that Barrack Obama is afraid to debate him. Really? Loudmouthed first termer thinks that the President of the United States should get on a stage in South Florida and debate him? Seriously, if the President has a few spare minutes to waste on West, he should devote it to shooting some hoops with his secret service detail or giving Bo a bath with the girls. Total lunacy... Seriously, the man is a deranged, meglomaniacal dweeb and needs to be kept in government cusody to protect himself and his loved ones from his next over the top appearance or action.
Now, as I listened to the video (let's hold the musing on that trope for another time), I got the sense that a good number of Mr. West's constituents were laughing at him. It's possible that this is gem came out not so much as a Michelle Bachmann unsolicited bit of insanity as a response to poking the bear. West is not exactly known for reasoned discourse, a sense of balance or proportion and measured response to provocation.
Now, the guy could have been court martialed for war crimes instead of being given a slap on the wrist and allowed to retire -- should have been court martialled for war crimes, since he fired a pistol at a prisoner of war in order to make him provide information -- and has disgraced the nation ever since. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in Army; he was in a command position in combat; and he ended up relieved of command and given the opportunity to retire -- which he took. I think West is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of an incredible magnitude and should be treated with respect for his service, compassion for his condition while being protected from himself and his demons. Well, Gulf I gave us Timothy McVie; Gulf 2 is giving us Allan West, Republican congressman from Florida.
This is where the Republican leadership needs to step up, get West under control or expect a far rougher response than the sort given so far. This is pretty funny, actually. "Chellie is a Democrat, a farmer and a Lutheran but no, she is not a Communist," said Willy Ritch, spokesman for Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), also a vice chair of the caucus."
(Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, and as a one-time student of Luther and the Protestant Reformation, I should point out that Luther had some commie-pinko-tendencies prior to the Peasants Revolt. The whole concept of grace in the Pauline-Augustinian-Luther tradition has a pretty strong egalitarian twist to it. But in general, in Wisconsin, yeah equating Lutheran Deomocrats to Communists is like equating Allen West to Allen A' Dale, which I guess would make Boehner Robin Hood and Cantor Little John.)
As that great American political commentator Bugs Bunny would put it, "What a maroon!"