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Allen West Calls DNC Chair “Vile” and Obama Supporters “a Threat to the Gene Pool”


Congressman Allen West of Florida speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

CREDIT: Flickr / Gage Skidmore

On Monday, in his column for the ultra-conservative blog Red County, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) told readers: “when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.” West’s rambling post touches on a number of important issues, but he uses much of it to argue against the established economic consensus that failing to raise the debt ceiling would have disastrous economic consequences. He also compares the Libyan rebels to the Taliban, and falsely claims that “47% of wage earning households in America do not pay federal income taxes.”

Unfortunately, this wasn’t even the first time that West made headlines this week. Speaking on the House floor on Tuesday, West expressed his support for the far right “Cut, Cap and Balance” legislation that passed later that night. After West had left the room, fellow Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, admonished  him, saying: “incredulously, the gentleman from Florida who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries,” adding that it was “unbelievable from a member from South Florida.”

After learning of Wasserman Schultz’s comments, West went ballistic. He emailed Wasserman Schultz (CCing the House Majority Leader, Majority Whip, and Minority Leader) calling her, among other things, “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.” A copy of the email, titled “Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz,” was obtained by Politico. It reads as follows:

From: Z112 West, Allen
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 04:48 PM
To: Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Cc: McCarthy, Kevin; Blyth, Jonathan; Pelosi, Nancy; Cantor, Eric
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz

Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!

Steadfast and Loyal

Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)

Regardless of whether he lost his temper, misunderstood Wasserman Shultz, or just was trying to score political points, West’s email was obscene, especially considering how relatively innocuous Wasserman Shultz’s comments were. To call the Democratic National Committee Chair “vile,” “not a Lady,” “despicable,” and “a coward” is childish at best. To do so in an email while carbon copying senior officials is supremely passive-aggressive and indicates West’s immaturity.

These are far from the first incidents in which West has voiced his curious opinions in a provocative manner. After being elected last fall, West said that he hoped that the new congress would prioritize investigating the “infiltration of the Sharia practice into all of our operating systems in our country as well as across Western civilization.” He has also said that anti-war congressmen should “get shot at a few times,” and that the government “should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled [WikiLeaks].”

West, who was discharged from the Army for abusing an Iraqi, has also previously claimed that he has a higher security clearance than President Obama (a statement which PolitiFact Florida declared to be a “pants on fire falsehood”) and that he can’t possibly be racist against Muslims because has helped bring “the light of freedom into the Islamic world.” He has also built a large support base from the so-called Tea Party base, some of whom are calling for himto run for President in 2012.

If he does choose to enter the race, I’m guessing Wasserman Shultz won’t be his choice for Vice President.

Update: Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded to West’s comments on MSNBC:

"I was unfazed by his email. It’s not surprising that, given the pressure Republicans are facing. They’re ending Medicare as we know it. Congressman West represents thousands of senior citizens, which is what I was pointing out. They would face significant increased costs due to the Republicans Medicare plan and the CCB bill. So it’s not really surprising that he would crack under the pressure of having to defend that.

"As a constituent of mine – he actually lives in my district… I think it’s important for him to understand that, when we’re in debate on the House floor, members are going to go back and forth. If he feels that concerned and gets that churned up over having to defend his position then he probably should reconsider his position….

"Republicans like him are under a tremendous amount of pressure. They have about the worst position you could have when it comes to making sure that we protect seniors and ensure that their costs don’t go up. What they’re doing, which is championing the protecting millionaires and billionaires tax breaks…

"There’s a little bit of heat that was applied in debate on the House floor yesterday and he doesn’t appear to be able to deal with it. He should reconsider his really unacceptable position, particularly when you represent thousands of South Florida seniors like we do so that maybe next time he won’t react so defensively."

Jeffrey Boxer is an intern with Campus Progress.

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