Allen West has been getting a lot of bad press lately -- news outlets across the country, including this one, latched onto his declaration that "there are 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party."
He's since moved past that assertion and onto the (slightly) more reasonable discussion of the socialist, communist, and Marxist beliefs of "progressive" members of Congress, which he says he was talking about all along.
He was on Mark Levin's conservative talk radio show Friday night to talk about it, because it's tough to go on a show in which someone might actually challenge you on your facts. It's way easier to put a call in to a belligerent Republican with a microphone and get fellated for your steadfast and loyal defense of bullshit.
("Damn, you're good," Levin said, "You do your research, you're studied, you've read.")
Though Levin and West hit on a lot of topics in the closing minutes of his show, my ears perked up when they started talking about the media. It was a selfish interest -- Levin once personally called me a "fool" and former Pulp blogger Matt Hendley a "little creep," "moron," and "idiot," so I was excited to see what they came up with. Levin was pretty spot-on those other times.
Levin said that West "is being targeted by the leftists in that district" and that "Palm Beach papers are pathetic," a "joke," and "not really papers." West agreed with these sentiments and went onto explain how lazy and biased the fourth estate really is:
"Incredibly enough, the media, in their search to try to condemn me or attack me or bring up some type of sensational story, didn't do their due diligence, didn't do their research," West said. "So now they have egg on their face because they're not arguing the point that I brought up. They're just arguing the fact that they just don't like that I brought it up. Well, you know, tough on them."
Didn't do our research? Didn't do our due diligence? Well, gentlemen, here's a big, steaming pile of due diligence for the both of you -- 2,586 words' worth, far more than should be necessary to correct basic statements being made by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. If it doesn't jibe with the lies you tell to scare your supporters, well, you know, tough on you.
Here are five of the lies your congressman told over the weekend:
1. The statement that started this whole thing was reasonable.
The lie: When asked what caused this most recent of shitstorms, West unleashed several lies at once. The first was, "The question was asked of me, did I think that there were Marxist socialists in Congress. And, you know I ended up bringing up the issue of the Congressional Progressive Caucus."
The truth: The way West tells it, the whole thing doesn't sound so bad -- a constituent asks about socialism in Congress, West points to the Progressive Caucus as being an "issue." But West was actually asked a far more specific question: "What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or neo-Castro socialists?"
And he had a far more specific answer: "That's a good question," West said. "I believe there are 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party."
That's most certainly not the same thing. Yes, he mentioned the Progressive Caucus afterward, but it was in response to a separate question. Plus, he didn't say, "The 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus support some socialist policies"; he said members of Congress were actually members of the Communist Party.
All in all, though, it's a relatively innocent spin. The point, as West has said, is that progressives support socialist principles. But this assertion led into another lie, and it's a completely unambiguous one:
2. Progressive is a code word for communist.
The lie: "Back at the turn of the century, you know, communists decided to change their names to progressives," West said. "But still, the basic principles that they operate under are still the same."
The truth: He's just pilfering conspiracies from nutjob websites like commieblaster.com. The turn of the 20th Century did see the country's first Progressive Party established -- but it wasn't by communists or "Marxist socialists" or whatever random string of buzzwords West is using for them today.
It was founded in 1912 by Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican who was so American that they carved his face in a stinking mountain next to three guys who ended up on our money.
And, mountain or not, West's most certainly heard of Teddy Roosevelt -- last year, he posted a video of himself to show off how he took up airtime on Fox News reading a quote from the guy:
This isn't one of those things where it's subjective and Republicans just see things differently from
Democrats communists -- it's wrong, and West, a former history teacher, knows it's a direct deception playing to conspiracy theorists. And it certainly stands in striking contrast to his He-Man quoting of T.R. on the telly.