For a guy who acts like he carries his testicles around in a wheelbarrow, Allen West is sure going to great lengths to avoid confrontation on the campaign trail.
In addition to refusing to debate primary opponent Bob Crowder, West is ducking the editorial board of the Palm Beach Post, whom he called "self-appointed elitists." He called them this in an op-ed -- in their newspaper.
"I declined the invitation because I do not answer to self-appointed elitists so blinded by ideology they are incapable of an intellectually honest discussion," West wrote on Tuesday. "Furthermore, I am not going to provide an opportunity to play 'gotcha' games where they misconstrue my words to advance their own political agenda."
If West is actually tired of "gotcha" games, he isn't doing himself any favors -- and there's plenty of evidence he knows exactly what he's doing anyway: Congressmen don't accuse the president of enslaving people without meaning to, just like they don't imply that the stupid lower class only supports Democrats because they were tricked into it with food stamps.
But Tuesday's letter to the editor, aside from being a belligerent, uninformative rehash of tired stump-speech bullet points, reveals deeper details of West's relationship with the media: He has managed to make himself famous, with political blogs hanging on his every inflammatory word, without ever actually cooperating with anybody.
"We've had Rep. West in before, and we're happy to meet with him and talk with him. We reach out to him regularly," said Post Deputy Editor Jac Wilder VerSteeg. "Sometimes he responds; sometimes he doesn't."
He doesn't respond because he doesn't have to: West has cultivated a narrative in which he says ridiculous things -- like that there are communists in Congress or that he's a "modern-day Harriet Tubman" -- and then gets to blame the media for pointing out that he said them. Between his congressional Facebook page, campaign Facebook page, and Twitter account, he can get any message that he wants out to more than 220,000 followers with the press of a button. And if anybody questions him, well, they're just part of the liberal media conspiracy.
So, rather than speaking with reporters, editors, and his political opponents, West has retreated into his own public relations shell: He won't even shake his primary opponent's hand, for starters. And, because journalists, with their "notebooks" and "recordings of things he actually said with his mouth," are all out to get him, he won't speak with them anymore, instead writing 666-word diatribes for the Washington Times in which he waxes pseudo-philosophically about the Declaration of Independence and then pimps it on his Facebook.
It's also unclear what he wants from the Post. West has no problem going to be coddled on Mark Levin's radio show, but when it comes time to face a group of folks who won't let him lie through his teeth, he's outraged at the state of journalism. He'll go on the radio and call the Post a rag but then gets indignant when they for some reason don't have room to run his screeds:
Given that the Palm Beach Post has refused to publish several of my recent opeds, I was somewhat surprised to be offered a chance to respond to their recent editorial echoing my primary opponent's calls for a debate.See how he pulled that off? He won't comment for stories or show up for meetings, but for some reason it's so offensive that they won't publish his comments 500 words at a time, without the benefit of follow-up questions. He can call the newspaper names and still get space to call Crowder an idiot. It's a great deal -- the only reason not to take it would be to look, you know, honest.
Instead of demanding a debate, my primary opponent would be better served by studying up on the issues and getting in touch with people he wants to represent.
The truth is, for all the claims West makes about "intellectually honest discussion," West has shown no willingness to discuss issues with anyone who isn't bending over to let him get his talking points in -- the deal is, either agree with him or be part of the progressive agenda. What could be more intellectually honest than that?