Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Allen West: Regressing to the days of red-baiting

AS THE REPUBLICAN militiamen push back into the Middle Ages, one of the party's s most outrageous members seems to have paused for a briefing in the 1950s. Rep. Allen West, of Florida, a Tea Party icon known for insufferable rants, told a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) gathering that there are 80 Communists in Congress. Even the late red-baiter, Joe McCarthy, didn't muster that many back in the 50s . When West's words hit the fan, he blamed the media reports for misquoting him even though videofilm revealed that he wasn't misquoted at all. It gets worse. He said the communists were really the liberal Congressional Progressive Caucus (Democrats) , as if that explained everything.

West, a retired colonel who drew the brass's wrath when he fired a shot just over a prisoner's head to persuade him to answer questions, enjoys attention. And he usually gets it. In fact, two right-wing pols - Sarah Palin and Herman Cain - have already recommended that Mitt Romney choose West as his running mate. That would be worth the price of admission!

I haven't heard anything so stupid since conservative Sen. Frank Lausche, an alleged Democrat, was hurling unnamed communists at us during his unsuccessful primary election campaign in 1968 against Jack Gilligan. There was Lausche in a speech to a Democratic club in Delaware, Oh, warning that communists were on the loose in the Federal government. When I asked him afterward to name one, he brusquely waved me off and declared he would say no more about it and bolted toward the door. Unfortunately it was a Saturday night and there wasn't much else for me to report from Central Ohio. Never did find out who, if anybody, Lausche had in mind.


JLM said...

My late father told me that we were related to Mr. Lausche but I can't recall particularly how, so, my apologies, familiarly vague they may be.

David Hess said...

Demagoguery, alas, remains the last bastion of benighted politicians, just as truth often remains the first victim. The saddest thing about this is that so many voters are prone to believe the phony claims and lies.