He leads with the controversy -- the "assertion regarding so-called 'communists' in the Congressional Progressive Caucus." First of all, they're only "so-called" because West so-called them that. Then, though, we get to the interesting part: "I am pleased it has inspired so much passionate debate," he writes, "for that was precisely the point."
Welp, it's settled. West has officially declared the strategy behind his strong influence on the national political discussion, the strategy that was apparent to anyone paying attention but not actually outlined by the man himself. Allen West is a troll.
(Quick break for those of you who think the word troll refers only to those grody creatures who live under bridges: It's also a term on the interwebs for commenters who post deliberately inflammatory comments. They are grody creatures who live under the bridges, if you will, of words.)
With this one sentence, West has poked a big, stupid hole in one of his most effective fundraising techniques -- say something ridiculous, then declaring "I'm under attack!!!!!
" when people point out that it was ridiculous. West loves to make it sound like the media fascination with him is just dirty, whorish, liberal reporters sitting around a campfire plotting how to take down a Genuine Muscle-Clad .45-Caliber Patriot. It's not. Journalists don't say West acts stupid because they hate him. Journalists say West acts stupid because West acts stupid.
However he tries to frame it, there is absolutely no denying that West said, "I believe there are 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party
that are members of the Communist Party." He even went so far as to release a video of the statement, in which he very clearly enunciates every single word directly into a microphone. His attempts to clarify what he meant have been shamefully dishonest
, but until now, it was at least plausible that he saw the outrage over the ridiculousness of his statements as an unprovoked attack on freedom or something. Maybe he has poor reading comprehension. Maybe he's delusional.
He's a calculating, manipulative cartoon character of a legislator. But that cartoon character is a big old moneymaker: He's raised more than $8 million this cycle, and the majority of it is from outside of Florida
-- the West machine is dependent on getting national headlines because the West machine is dependent on national money. And he now admits, in the newspaper, that he does it on purpose.
But let's move on to some more of this lovely column.
"My colleagues in the Congressional Progressive Caucus have taken umbrage with my equation of their ideals with those of communists," he writes. "Why? Why shouldn't we have this discussion? What part of their agenda are they trying to hide?"
Ohmygawsh. OK, let's start with "my equation of their ideals with those of communists." That's not what he did. When a constituent asked how many "card-carrying Marxists" he thought were in office, he said there were around 80 members of the Communist Party
. He's since moved past that and onto simply lying about not only the origins of American progressivism but also of the term progressive
itself. I've already tried to clear some of the brush off of those fabrications in a post about conservative radio blowhard Mark Levin
, who did an interview with West that was friendlier than a soccer mom after four drinks. It's not surprising West calls Levin an "esteemed scholar" every chance he gets, including in the column.
Now, the "Why? Why shouldn't we have this discussion?"
We can't have this discussion because West won't have this discussion
. He has repeatedly refused to make a single honest statement about any proposal from the left (or middle), electing instead to engage in ad hominem attacks and saying things like Republicans believe in the founding fathers and Democrats believe in Marx and Alinsky. We can't have this discussion because anytime someone tries to bring moderation to the table, West whips out a canard like the 16th Amendment is socialist
. He'll defend the Constitution, sure, but only the parts that don't hurt rich people.
If you're still not convinced, just look at the next sentence in the column -- "What part of their agenda are they trying to hide?" If you think West actually wants to have an honest ideological discussion, then you have to admit that part of an honest ideological discussion is accusing your opponent of having a secret communist agenda. And that... well, that's not how to have an honest discussion.
And then, to help affirm his assertion that he's just Trying to Help, he says, "But this is not a discussion about labels." Of course it is, Allen. You said yourself that you used "members of the Communist Party" -- a very specific label indeed -- to start a "passionate debate."
West has always been about labels, whether it's promising to bring down "this liberal, progressive, socialist agenda, this left-wing, vile, vicious, despicable machine that's out there," or calling DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz "the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives," or calling Obama a "low-level socialist agitator" with "Marxist demagogic rhetoric" backed up by a "third-world dictator-like arrogance." West loves labels, because labels are what get people mad, and people who are mad send money.
And, as any troll worth his river slime knows, it's way easier to get somebody mad than to convince them that you're right.