Allen West Says He'd Consider Raising Taxes: What's Going On? (Video) (Updated)

Update, 1:17 p.m.: Added comment from Patrick Murphy, his Democratic opponent in the District 18 race.

Allen West's unpredictability quotient is through the roof these days. The whole "communists in Congress" thing was off-the-wall, but it was at least in line with the rest of his statements. Ditto when he lied about it on Mark Levin's show.

So when an amendment was debated in the House last week that would protect the constitutional rights of Americans accused of terrorism, the most logical thing for West to do would have been to yell and scream in favor of it -- he waves copies of the Constitution around at events. It seemed to fit perfectly.
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Instead though, he argued against it, saying indefinite detention -- even in cases of U.S. citizens arrested on American soil -- was a necessary component of the war on terror. It revealed that the Constitution is really number two on West's priorities, behind the military chaining terror suspects to telephone poles.

And now he's gone and said raising taxes doesn't seem like such a crazy idea.

ThinkProgress got itself a video of West at a town hall event yesterday in which he still touted budget-cutting but said it wasn't the only option.

"Once we get to a point where we have right-sized the federal government, where we have eliminated a lot of that waste, fraud, and abuse," he said, "then it certainly comes to the American people to talk about raising taxes as a means to make sure we keep our debt and our deficit at a manageable level."

Ohmygawsh. Is this the same guy who accused Obama of "leveling tax weapons of mass destruction on all taxpayers"? The same guy who is circulating a petition in favor of the flat tax? The same guy who said the flat tax could serve as a "bridging mechanism" to a "fair tax," the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, and the repeal of the 16th Amendment?

I don't even know what to believe anymore.

West's statements yesterday were perfectly reasonable -- the numbers he cited for his three budget-cutting proposals might be a little off, but he said taxes were a realistic possibility once more waste was trimmed.

"When you have a debt at 102 percent [of GDP], I'm not going to come to you and ask you to raise your taxes," West said. "I'm going to our work, look at where we can cut back, to get ourselves back... responsibly."

That doesn't sound so crazy -- and that's definitely not his style.

Update: Patrick Murphy says it's worse than all that. He was the subject of a "TAXMAGEDDON" ad from West last month, and his campaign just sent out a release with the headline "Allen West Voices Support for Middle-Class Tax Raises," which doesn't seem totally truthful, but his point is broader than that:

"Allen West declared in April that a 'Taxmageddon' would result if he loses re-election, but now he supports placing a higher tax burden on middle-class Floridians who need relief the most," Murphy says in the release.  "No matter when West figures out his position on raising taxes, his record of voting for tax breaks for large corporations, millionaires, and Big Oil makes it clear that he doesn't have the pocketbooks of his constituents in mind."

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