As of this writing, Rep. Allen West of Florida's 22nd District has been in office just shy of seven weeks. He was famous before he arrived. He gave Rep. Ron Klein a righteous stomping in the November elections, and before West took his first breath as a congressman, an anarchic campaign was already a'bellowing from the depths of the web for a West presidential run in 2012. (West has lately said that he's too inexperienced.)
Since West gave the closing remarks at CPAC three weeks ago, however, he has ascended from mere fame into the lofty reaches of celebrity. Here's how.
CPAC: Allen West spoke at CPAC of the "three pillars of conservatism." Those are: "effective and efficient constitutional government," "peace through strength," and "never abandon our values." The first two "pillars" are obvious enough; the third West articulated by explaining why the Constitution was intended only for Christians and how gay marriage is bad for the economy. (Note: It is not a "traditional value" to worry about the economic impact of matrimonial sodomy. A congressman who worries about such things is not only a radical but something of a kinkypants.) West stole the show, and even Ron Paul's most rabid fanboys left the convention saying West was the best.
The Gingrich Bump: Last week, Newt Gingrich implied that West would be near the very top of his list of possible veeps, should the former speaker of the House seek and obtain the Republican nomination for president. If he's smart, he'll do it. Putting West on the ticket would go a long way toward guaranteeing that Gingrich, or whoever, wins Florida come 2012. And imagine what West'd do to Joe Biden in a debate. Terrifying.
The Gingrich Bump, Part II: As soon as news of Gingrich's statement hit the interwebs, rank-and-file Republicans swooped to the keyboards to protest. They weren't protesting Gingrich's endorsement but Gingrich's presumption. A typical comment from Daily Caller: "HA!!!!! So Newt would consider West huh. Is he joking? Newt would be lucky if West considered 'him' for his chief of staff!!!!" The sentiment was repeated again and again, on website after website.
Ramping Up the War on
Terror Islam: (Hey -- that's West's phrase, not mine. If you don't like it, take it up with the Colonel.) Allen West is rightly well-known for his singularly strident speeches in which he inevitably makes a point of explaining that America's enemy isn't al Qaeda, radical Islam, or even radicalism in general (oh, how I wish we had a politician willing to say that) but ordinary, garden-variety Islam -- the kind practiced by your next-door neighbor or Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Which distresses some people. American Muslims, say. One such fellow is Nezar Hamze, who showed up at one of West's town hall meetings in Pompano Beach last week to confront the congressman on his repeated attacks of Islam. The ensuing confrontation made it to YouTube and has caused the Westians to voice their lustiest Westiphilian cries to date. Even though West rose to fame via YouTube and even though this particular video is only days old, it is already his third-most popular, fast approaching half a million views.
Ramping Up the War on
Terror Islam, Part II: At New Times, we felt the full weight of Allen West's growing fanbase when we gave Nezar Hamze an opportunity to publish his thoughts on his Westian adventure. His post has received more than 200 comments -- more than any blog post on this website in months. Most of them call for Hamze's head.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Sexy Posed Shot in WashPo: If you take a look in this week's WashPo magazine, you'll find a big, beautiful spread of Allen West, along with a couple of hundred of his own words explaining his approach to governance. "You never want to question what's right," he says, and we know he means it -- Allen West is a man to whom right and wrong are never questions, always facts. You've never seen anyone so presidential as the Allen West in the WashPo photo. He looks big enough and strong enough to rip the legs from a wild boar. His eyes are solemn yet flinty, full of sly smarts. He is poised as a puma in repose, and his suit is crisp and expensive. His Army helmet bag, which he holds between his legs, is worn, lived in, and loved. Between the smart threads and the soldier gear, Allen West looks ready to go anywhere.
Follow The Juice on Twitter: @TheJuiceBPB.