There's a lot of competition when it comes to deciding who's the most odious Republican on Capitol Hill: Michele Bachmann, Joe Walsh, Steve King ... it can be hard to decide. But I think you can make an excellent case for freshman Rep. Allen West, whose penchant for unhinged, inflammatory remarks is almost unmatched. I could spend all day recounting his greatest hits, but instead, I spent just half a day weeding through them to bring you some of my favorites:
If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.
I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.
So I'm here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.
Take your message of equality of achievement… you can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.And, of course, West's recent topper, in which I think he really outdid himself:
I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party.The hunk of lunatic driftwood known as Allen West washed up on the Florida coast thanks to 2010's red tide. Guys like that—extremists who would never otherwise get elected but who wash in thanks to wave elections—are always in big danger the next time voters go to the polls. Once voters gain some more exposure to their rhetoric and beliefs, their hold on office becomes very tenuous. This happened in a number of cases in 1996, after the most outrageous of Newt Gingrich's 1994 revolutionaries were exposed for their true colors.
And it's already happening to West. Thanks to redistricting, new seats opened up in Florida's congressional map, giving West the chance to flee from his the redrawn version of current district, which Barack Obama won by 14 points in 2008, to the new 18th, which Obama won by just three percent. West knew he had to seek friendlier confines if he were to have any hope of returning to Congress.
But don't imagine that West's new digs are too friendly—not at all. The revised 18th, which stretches along Florida's Atlantic coast from just north of Palm Beach up to Fort Pierce (taking in Jupiter and Port St. Lucie) is a pretty socially liberal place that doesn't see eye-to-eye with West on a lot of issues, and definitely isn't too keen on his style.
What's more, Democrats have landed a strong recruit to take on West: Patrick Murphy, an executive at an environmental cleanup firm who had been running against West in the 22nd but stayed in hot pursuit when West trekked north to the 18th. Murphy could have remained in the 22nd—as I noted, a much friendlier district for Democrats—but he chose to take on the tougher fight and do the world a huge favor by endeavoring to rid of us Allen West.
That alone would be enough to earn my support (and my thanks), but we're fortunate that Murphy is a progressive, too. Before we endorse any candidates, we send them our Orange to Blue questionnaire. It's not a strict litmus test, but the questions we ask help us identify candidates we feel stand with us on issues of importance to the Daily Kos community. Sometimes the responses we get hem and haw a bit, but Murphy's were clear as a bell—unambiguous "yeses" to every question—and I can't tell you how much I love that. (You can see them all below the fold.) And in addition, if you check out his website, you'll see Murphy is equally clear in his support for marriage equality and reproductive freedom.
Make no mistake, though: Allen West remains a huge tea party favorite, and he's a fundraising machine, with a monster $3.3 million on hand. Murphy's proven to be a strong fundraiser himself, and an unanswered internal poll showed the race tied at 45 apiece, but he's going to need a lot of help to get over that final hump and beat West. As much as progressives loathe West, conservatives love him, and they don't want to see him lose any more than we want to see him win. Let's make sure we're the ones who come out on top on election day.
1. Do you support:
a) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200, Subtitle B, including § 223(b)(1)(A), as introduced in the House, 111th Congress)?
b) The Medicare You Can Buy Into Act (H.R. 4789, 111th Congress), which would allow all citizens or permanent residents to buy into Medicare?
2. Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:
a) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship — one that does not include overly punitive fines or a touchback requirement — for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;
b) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of temporary worker programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to workforce shortages; and
c) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps on the total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act?
3. Do you oppose each of the following changes to Social Security and Medicare:
a) Raising the retirement age;
b) Eliminating or reducing the cost of living adjustment;
c) Directly reducing benefits;
d) Means-testing recipients; and
e) Privatization, so-called "personal accounts," and vouchers?
YES. OPPOSITION TO ALL FIVE.
4. Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560, 111th Congress), including the provision known as "card check"?
5. Do you pledge to vote against any efforts to extend the temporary tax cuts for income over $250,000 (Public Law 111-312)?
6. If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog Coalition?
7. If elected to the Senate, do you pledge to restore majority rule to the Senate and work/vote to end the filibuster?