Allen West: 80 House Democrats Communists

In case you needed more evidence that Allen West is a batshit crazy, he's spreading rumors that 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party.

In case you needed more evidence that Allen West is a batshit crazy, he’s spreading rumors that 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party.

Politico (“Allen West: 80 commies in the House“):

Rep. Allen West channeled Joe McCarthy in saying that he’s “heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are Communist Party member a town hall event in Florida, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The Florida Republican, and tea party favorite, was speaking at the Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday but didn’t go as far as to say names he’d heard or from whom.

Palm Beach Post (“Allen West hears cheers, jeers at town-hall meetings in Palm City, Jensen Beach“):

 U.S. Rep. Allen West told about 90 largely supportive Palm City voters Tuesday that locally prioritized federal projects — such as the St. Lucie Inlet dredging — aren’t going to matter if Washington officials don’t address a mounting deficit.

Later Tuesday evening, a Jensen Beach crowd of 100 with more than 15 protesters greeted the congressman with mixed support, cheers and jeers.

The conservative tea party icon also got in shots at Democrats and President Obama, who spoke Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University. West said Obama was “scared” to have a discussion with him. He later said “he’s heard” up to 80 U.S. House Democrats are Communist Party members, but wouldn’t name names.

His Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, summed it up pretty well:

“The bottom line is, Allen West is trying to make it in the press with comments that don’t even make sense,” Murphy said. “He’s trying to make headlines, get a rise out of people and not get anything done.”

West has made a pretty good career out of being thrown out of the Army as a borderline war criminal. Alas, he’s showing the same degree of good judgment as a Congressman as he did as an Army officer.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Yes, but he has Palin’s endorsement for VP!!!!!!!!

  2. DC Loser says:

    Alas, he’s showing the same degree of good judgment as a Congressman as he did as an Army officer.

    That means he’s eminently qualified to be the Republican VP candidate, just like the last one.

  3. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    It’s true that Rep. West on many issues is marching to the beat of a deranged drummer, but on this particular point, Chief, although West technically and semantically is not correct, it would be naive so easily to dismiss his major premise.

    Whereas the socialists and the communists in the House would not be so dumb as to be card-carrying members of the CPUSA, there’s little doubt that many dozens of House Democrats fall into the socialist camp and probably more than a few are all the way out there on the communist notch of the spectrum.

    Bernie Sanders is not the only socialist in Congress and many of them don’t have the juice not to make use of the Democrat Party label and its vast resources.

    Have you read or listened to, for example, the comments of Reps. McDermott, Waxman, Pelosi, Israel, Clyburn, Rush, Dingell, Conyers and the Sanchezes? If those folks are not socialists then Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are not socialists. The aforementioned group of Democrat socialists in the House merely is the tip of the iceberg. There are many others. Not by the cards they carry, but by virtue of their actions, words and philosophies.

  4. Bleev K says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Obviously you have no clue what socialism or communism are, so I think you should just shut up.

  5. legion says:

    @Ron Beasley: And Herman Cain’s! Don’t forget the Cain Train!

  6. legion says:

    although West technically and semantically is not correct, it would be naive so easily to dismiss his major premise.

    Shorter Tsar Nick: “Even I have to admit this guy is full of crap, but let me rant on my preferred line of crap regardless…”

  7. legion says:

    I suppose I should post something about the actual subject… The only thing stupider and more pathetic than West is the crowd of tools supporting him. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about this criminal without triggering the curse-filters…

  8. Rob in CT says:

    West: “LOOK AT ME! ME! ME! ME! LOOK! LOOK!”

  9. Nikki says:

    Yes, please give West the VP nod. The last 10% of African-American voters haven’t yet found a good reason to vote Obama.

  10. Mark says:

    I have a genuine question about the photo of West – is it common to see a former service member wearing medals while not in uniform? I’m obviously not a service member but I’ve never seen it before. It looks odd to me.

  11. West has apparently decided to go the McCarthy route, waving around a mythical list of phantom communists that, if true, he has a duty to produce, but which he never will because he’s pulling it completely out of his ass.

    I’d pull out the appropriate “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” quote, but it’s patently obvious West does have no sense of shame.

  12. anjin-san says:

    is it common to see a former service member wearing medals while not in uniform?

    It was common in the Soviet Union. Here, not so much.

  13. @anjin-san:

    Looking around online, service members aren’t even allowed to wear their medals out of uniform at all. Veterans and retirees, like West, are permitted to, although this is normally done for parades or events requiring formal wear.

    West, in the photo, does not appear to be in either a parade or a tuxedo.

  14. labman57 says:

    Disinformation 101: conservative pundits and politicians take turns making crap up and then proceed to cite each other (“There are stories out there that blah, blah, blah occurred/was said/etc.”) as justification for propagating the fallacious stories.

    This is what happens when your primary sources of “factual” information are right wing blogs and the local supermarket rags. Anyone can tell anyone anything about anything — it doesn’t make it necessarily true.

    And yet this is the clown that Palin and Cain think would be the ideal choice for Romney’s running mate …

    So in an effort to garner support from moderates and independents, the Republican nominee should choose someone whose claim to fame is a steady stream of irrational, inflammatory hyperbole that would put Bachmann, Gingrich, and Santorum to shame.

  15. Scott says:

    He was referring to the Progressive Caucus. In 2009, the Democrat Socialists of America had a document on their website in which they listed every member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the 111th Congress as being a member. The document was widely circulated on conservative blogs, so the DSA scrubbed it from it’s site. But it still lives.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/35733956/DSA-Members-American-Socialist-Voter-Democratic-Socialists-of-America-10-1-09

    While describing them as “communists” was inaccurate – had he used the word socialist instead nobody could quibble. As Norm Thomas, who ran for president 6 times as a Socialist said, “”The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under
    the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist
    program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

    If today’s Democrat Party were in Europe, they’d proudly call themselves socialists. But in the U.S. the term socialist still contains a stigma so they could not get elected as socialists. So they govern as socialists but call themselves progressives to avoid the taint.

  16. @labman57:

    Do you find that randomly emphasizing words in things you say frequently

    makes

    them more credible than they would be on their own?

  17. matt says:

    @Scott: If todya’s Democratic Party was in Europe they’d be called conservatives..

  18. Hey Norm says:

    Romney/West ’12

  19. mantis says:

    @Scott:

    In 2009, the Democrat Socialists of America had a document on their website

    Does that make it factual? No, it does not.

    While describing them as “communists” was inaccurate – had he used the word socialist instead nobody could quibble.

    Yes they would. Because it’s bullshit.

    If today’s Democrat Party were in Europe

    There is no “Democrat Party” in the United States, dittohead.

  20. James Joyner says:

    @matt:

    If today’s Democratic Party was in Europe they’d be called conservatives..

    While I wouldn’t go that far–several prominent Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, are genuine progressives–it’s essentially true at the presidential level.

  21. CSK says:

    Allen, I think Mitt just scratched your name off the short list.

  22. matt says:

    @James Joyner: Haha Pelosi a genuine progressive? Wow that’s some hilarity you have there…

    You’re confusing progressive with corporate authoritarian.

  23. matt says:

    I don’t really want to de-evolve this into the true Scottman’s fallacy but progressive blogs have been targeting Pelosi for many years now. Even going so far as to supporting Cindy Sheehan.

  24. al-Ameda says:

    it would be nice if Allen West actually knew what a Communist is.

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    “Have you read or listened to, for example, the comments of Reps. McDermott, Waxman, Pelosi, Israel, Clyburn, Rush, Dingell, Conyers and the Sanchezes? If those folks are not socialists then Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are not socialists.”

    That statement is a perfect example of how far gone today’s Republican Party is. Go ahead, show us the equivalence between Castro and McDermott or Pelosi?

  26. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m materially in agreement with those who think that Rep. West is engaging in hyperbole. However, for those who reject his claim on definitional grounds, could you present a straightforward 25-words-or-less definition of communism? Not a link to Wikipedia or another web site but a simple definition.

    As to socialism since anybody but the most ardent anarcho-capitalist is a socialist today the word has pretty much lost all power. I’m a socialist; James is a socialist; most of the people who comment or post here are socialists.

  27. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: Both Socialism and Communism advocate state ownership of the means of production. That idea is passe even in most of Europe these days. What we have is a mixed economy with a substantial amount of government involvement, especially in sectors like health care.

  28. Dave Schuler says:

    @James Joyner:

    Exactly, James. It’s a matter of degree. All modern economies are mixed with some degree of capitalism and some degree of socialism. I don’t think you can maintain a modern society without some degree of socialism.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    Look, guys, I don’t think that the 1950’s were all that great the first time around, so can we maybe decide not to re-enact something that everyone realized later was a really stupid idea within the 1950s, namely the whole “Red Scare”?

    And Tsar, if you actually HAD any experience of what happened, you wouldn’t be so quick to think that anonymous and wild accusations were a good idea.

  30. @Tsar Nicholas II:

    While not agreeing with Tsar’s comment here, I don’t think it was the sort that deserved to be voted down.

  31. george says:

    I think this is a warm-up. His next statement will be that they’re all secretly Martians preparing to invade the earth. Which is about as accurate, unless he’s working with some private definition of communist or socialist, rather than the dictionary one …

  32. James Joyner says:

    @Dave Schuler: Fully concur. If West had said that a third of House Democrats are functionally Communist, I’d have rolled my eyes and thought it not worth mentioning. Saying they’re members of the Communist Party, though, has some pretty specific connotations.

  33. Hoyticus says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Aren’t you allowed to be a communist or socialist in a free country as long as you are a law abiding citizen? Anyway, both ideologies aren’t functional long term so there isn’t that much to worry about. Also, I always learned that socialism was the state owning the factors of production and that communism was workers owning the factors of production. So far I can’t recall any specific politicians endorsing those positions in recent memory.

  34. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I’d guess people are taking advantage of being able to click the thumbs down without hiding the comment. I’d pretty much only used the ratings to try and unhide comments I felt weren’t that bad even though I disagreed with them, but now I am free to click the thumbs down and join in the piling on.

  35. mattb says:

    @Dave Schuler & @James Joyner:

    However, for those who reject his claim on definitional grounds, could you present a straightforward 25-words-or-less definition of communism?

    If we’re talking about it as a political philosophy, I’d have to add that a true “communist” (versus a socialist) would be working towards the abolishment of all economic class distinctions, current modes of central governance, and the elimination of abstract currency.

  36. @David M:

    now I am free to click the thumbs down and join in the piling on

    It would be sad if the primary change resulting from the removal of the comment hiding was that people felt free to downvote comments for nakedly partisan reasons.

  37. matt says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Well I imagine they considered Tsar’s post to be unhelpful.

  38. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The thumbs down for claiming the Democrats are socialists or communists isn’t because it’s partisan, it’s because it’s unhelpful nonsense. I’d give the same thumbs down to an equally idiotic claim about the GOP. (fascists, white supremacists, etc)

  39. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    It would be sad if the primary change resulting from the removal of the comment hiding was that people felt free to downvote comments for nakedly partisan reasons.

    Look, I’m all against the rating system. But if we have to have it voting down stuff like this:

    Whereas the socialists and the communists in the House would not be so dumb as to be card-carrying members of the CPUSA, there’s little doubt that many dozens of House Democrats fall into the socialist camp and probably more than a few are all the way out there on the communist notch of the spectrum.

    as the BS it is, is right within the proper use of the system. As others have already mentioned, the first half of that sentence uses a definition of socialism that Marx would not recognize in the least and the second is not defensible under any definition I’m aware of unless you count “anybody I disagree with” as proper definition.

    “Socialist” seems to have become the right’s “neoliberal”

    If today’s Democrat Party were in Europe, they’d proudly call themselves socialists.

    Newsflash from Europe: Nope. As a group they would largely be center-right.

  40. @Ebenezer Arvigenius:

    the first half of that sentence uses a definition of socialism that Marx would not recognize

    What defintion of socialist is that? Tsar never defined what he means by the term.

  41. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    I’d guess the same that Dave was aiming at; someone using the coercive power of the state for redistributive purposes to fulfil a supposed higher good. Admittedly that leaves next to no non-socialists in modern societies :D.

  42. @Ebenezer Arvigenius:

    I’d guess

    And that’s the problem, you’re putting your thoughts in Tsar’s mouth and then downvoting him for it.

    Tsar’s statement wasn’t offensive or aggresive; it was just wrong. Which I don’t think should be out of bounds for the discussion here.

  43. David M says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Simply being wrong is one thing, but I don’t have patience for any more “socialism!!!111!!!!” nonsense after the last 3 years.

  44. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    And that’s the problem, you’re putting your thoughts in Tsar’s mouth and then downvoting him for it.

    Tsar’s statement wasn’t offensive or aggresive; it was just wrong. Which I don’t think should be out of bounds for the discussion here.

    I have no idea what you are trying to tell me.

    I am not downvoting him for my thoughts, I’m downvoting him for the fact that a) even the most charitable interpretation of that part of his thoughts is still questionable and b) the rest is still dead wrong even then.

    And if you want to argue that votes should only be used as a replacement report-button be my guest but that is not how a) it is named (helpful/unhelpful) b) actually used or c) understood my the majority of users..

  45. dennis says:

    @Mark:

    Yes, federal law enforcement and members of Congress may display earned military decorations on the dress uniform or suit jacket.

  46. @Ebenezer Arvigenius:

    I think the most charitable interpretation would be he thinks that some contigent of the Democrats in congress would be in favor nationalizing some of our industries if they thought that it would be politically feasible to do so. In the case of some industries (healthcare) he’s probably right. In the case of others he’s wrong, but I don’t see how it’s any different then, say, speculating that Republicans would ban contraception if they thought they could get away with it.

  47. @dennis:

    They may, yes. They may wear talking fish ties too. It’s still rather gauche to do so outside a very small number of situations.

  48. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    I don’t see how it’s any different then, say, speculating that Republicans would ban contraception if they thought they could get away with it.

    He may speculate all he likes but even this would not make those hypothetical democrats Marxian socialists unless they intended to change the political system of the US to a dictatorship of the proletariat and to transfer all health care assets to the working class by force and without compensation.

    Even the most rabid democrat in congress would, at the most, curtail business opportunities (create a state-run, free NHS as unbeatable competition to the existing providers), not seize the current provider’s assets without compensation and give them to the unwashed masses.

    The forced risk-pools of Obamacare are actually more “socialist” than an NHS but still not even remotely an abolishment of private property.

  49. al-Ameda says:

    As of this post, Tsar Nich’s post (#3) – shows 2 thumbs-up and 43 thumbs-down. Now, I take that to mean that most people disagree with his item, not to mean that his post should be taken down. And, in keeping with how OTB is run, it hasn’t been taken down.

    I take those “ratings” for what they are – a snapshot of how a post is perceived by those who care to scroll through these postings.

  50. Mark says:

    @dennis: Thanks Dennis.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    When someone writes something so spectacularly stupid that echoes the foolishness of Allen West, being voted down is the least that deserves and is hardly unfair…

    Yes, federal law enforcement and members of Congress may display earned military decorations on the dress uniform or suit jacket.

    West is a disgrace to any uniform he wears, whether it is in the military or in Congress…

  52. Communist theory suggest that government will eventually become irrelevant and dissolve when the people and workers rise up. Considering Conservatives are always clamoring for “less government,” THEY are more ideologically closer to Communists than Democrats…after all, they ARE in “Red States.” 😉

    “The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”

  53. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    but on this particular point, Chief, although West technically and semantically is not correct, it would be naive so easily to dismiss his major premise.

    Whereas the socialists and the communists in the House would not be so dumb as to be card-carrying members of the CPUSA, there’s little doubt that many dozens of House Democrats fall into the socialist camp and probably more than a few are all the way out there on the communist notch of the spectrum.

    The Counsellor weighs in

  54. Gulliver says:

    West has made a pretty good career out of being thrown out of the Army as a borderline war criminal.

    Joyner, you’re full of shit… talk about gross exaggeration and acting like an arm-chair jury. If you can’t spend enough time researching your subjects because you’ve got better things to do, then please refrain from offering nonsense commentary.