Not An Easy Makeover For Florida’s Rep. Allen WestOctober 30th, 2012 12:00 am Carl Hiaasen
After less than two years in Congress, Rep. Allen West has raised $15 million to get himself re-elected.
That’s a mountain of money, but you’d need every dime if your job was to make West look like a calm, responsible person.
His whackjob ranting hasn’t hurt him among the Tea Party faithful, but it threatens the prospects of the 51-year-old Republican since he switched to a new district that includes Martin and St. Lucie counties and part of Palm Beach.
The task for West’s campaign managers is daunting because he has said so many phenomenally offensive and factually indefensible things. Every time the man opens his mouth, there’s a moment of high drama.
Please, Al, just stick to the script. We’re begging you.
Back in July, appearing as he does with hungry regularity on Fox News, West likened Social Security disability benefits to “a form of modern, 21st-century slavery.”
In one coldhearted breath, the retired Army colonel managed to insult 828,000 fellow veterans under the age of 66 who report receiving disability funds from Social Security. These include both active-duty and retired military.
West’s lame effort to mop up his mess occurred the following night (again on Fox), and featured his now-standard attack on the liberal media for twisting his words.
The recurring migraine for West’s handlers is that his words don’t require any twisting. They just spill out of his head that way, usually in front of a television camera, allowing them to be painfully replayed over and over.
It’s been a goldmine for West’s young Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, whose most effective campaign ads are a running montage of West’s indelible soundbites.
A favorite is his 2011 speech to a conservative women’s group in which he declared that those who support Planned Parenthood “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness.”
What in the world was West babbling about? Are there mandatory spay clinics for guys?
Who knows what he meant, but it was weirdly fascinating to watch.
He actually went on — and some of this you don’t see in the commercial — to urge his audience “to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient … because if you don’t, then the debt will continue to grow … deficits will continue to grow.”