Wild, Wild West

The unsuccessful G.O.P. primary opponent of Tea Party “hero” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has endorsed the Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy.  Martin County Sheriff Bob Crowder, a thirty year Republican, lost in Florida’s primary earlier this year to the redistricted West. In a statement from Murphy’s campaign. Crowder decried West, saying “I’m embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the [Republican] party.”

Former Alaska Governor and failed 2008 Vice President nominee Sarah Palin had earlier this year floated freshman West’s name for a 2012 Vice Presidential slot.

Allen West

Gaffe-prone Rep. West is running hard to retain his seat, soliciting campaign funds nationwide.  While dwarfed in fundraising by fellow Tea Party doyenne Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), West was expected to coast to an easy victory on Election Day. The latest polls show the district’s seat is hardly a shoo-in for Allen West.

Between complaining to House Speaker John Boehner (R) claiming that Democratic congresswomen were picking on him, tagging Congressional Democrats as “Communists,” to blaming President Obama for how much it cost to fill his macho guy chic Hummer SUV, the bombastic freshman congressman has often suffered from chronic political “hoof in mouth” disease.

Forgetting the adage that “people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” West ran a flurry of attack ads comparing his going to Iraq with a Murphy drunk and disorderly arrest in 2003. Opponents parried with reports of West’s Internal Revenue Service tax  and homeowner’s association liens (since cleared).

As a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, West has undesirable excess baggage of his own. In Iraq, he was relieved for cause for discharging his service pistol into a clearing barrel next to an alleged insurgent he was interrogating, a violation of the Geneva Conventions.  Subsequently, he was fined $5,000 at an Article 15 hearing, and quickly retired. These actions were hardly considered as examples of a successful military career.

Following an abortive stint as a public high school teacher after retirement from the Army, West mused that he was ready to go back to a combat zone in Afghanistan. Given the events which pushed a disgraced West into retirement, the Army personnel command must have been filled with laughter, even before consulting the finer points of West’s radioactive  service record.

West’s steady stream of extremist conservative positions on issues may well have endeared him to the Tea Party fringes of his party, and veterans who never made it past gefreiter in the distant past, but voters in Florida’s 18th Congressional district might well have had enough of Allen West’s clown act. West probably thinks a misogynist gives back rubs.

The tea in West’s lopsided cup has gone unpalatably cold.