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“”If you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background.
Col. Allen West (born 1961) is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the former Republican Representative from Florida's 22nd district. He is also a batshit crazy Teabagger who is most often invoked by 'baggers to handwave any accusations of racism in the movement, which, according to West, is an invention of the liberal media. He was elected in the 'bagger wave of 2010, being the first black Congressman from Florida since the 19th century (which proves 'baggers are definitely not racist). He was defeated in his 2012 reelection bid.
Military service and sketchy background
West served in the first Gulf War as well as Dubya's War in Iraq. His decorations include the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal. West was touted as a war hero during his campaign for an incident that occurred in the second Iraq War.
In 2003, West's unit picked up an Iraqi detainee. West restrained the detainee and fired a bullet near his head, causing the detainee to give up "essential" information that led to the arrest of another Iraqi insurgent involved in a bomb plot. Glenn Beck did a show memorializing West's excellent service to the nation, calling him "a man of integrity." Though he forgot to play some clips of Jack Bauer interrogations this time around. Nevertheless, West is remembered as one of the great heroes of the Iraq War and an example of a true American, a role model for us all.
For those not living in an alternate universe
Beck failed to mention the rest of the story. West allowed four of his troops to beat the detainee senseless. The "tip" the detainee gave West did lead to the arrest of another Iraqi (supposedly) involved in a bomb plot...except no evidence was found that the second detainee was guilty of anything at all. West was found in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, relieved of his post, and fined $5,000. He subsequently retired.
West has ties with a gang called the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. He has given speeches at events organized by affiliates of the "club" and used "club" members as personal guards on one occasion. Many of the "club's" former members have been convicted of violent crimes, attempted murder, and racketeering. West also has a paper trail of unpaid debts and an IRS lien has been placed on him.
West's 2010 campaign attracted the attention of wingnuts and the morbidly curious across the nation. He received the Sarah Palin stamp of approval early in the campaign season, greatly helping his chances in the primary. West no doubt relied on the crazification factor of his district's voters to bullshit his way through the 2010 campaign, as his checkered past came back to bite him in the ass multiple times:
- The most infamous moment of West's campaign came when a reporter asked him about the IRS lien placed on him. He responded by saying that the IRS document was "faked" and that he would provide documentation to prove this. After he failed to produce said documentation, he was asked again about the lien. West then invented a new logical fallacy to bullshit his way out of this called the "appeal to security clearance," or the "West argument," by claiming that he had an even higher security clearing than the president, so shut up. Christine O'Donnell is also a proponent of the West argument, claiming she knew about a secret Chinese plot because of her security clearance.
- In July, West selected some wingnut local talk radio host named Joyce Kaufman as his chief of staff. She made some controversial statements at a 'bagger rally, endorsing Second Amendment remedies:
“”I don't care how this gets painted in the mainstream media. I don't care if this shows up on YouTube. Because I am convinced that the most important thing the Founding Fathers gave me to insure me my First Amendment rights was that they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don't work, bullets will.
- Kaufman also endorsed hanging illegal immigrants charged with crimes and got really pissed off when an automated phone recording told her to press 2 for Spanish.
- During the run-up to the election in October, West's biker buddies harassed a Democratic staffer. West brushed this off, saying the harasser was only a Vietnam vet and not a biker thug.
Apparently, these "gaffes" weren't a liability to West's first campaign, as he took out incumbent Ron Klein by a fairly wide margin. Shortly after the election, Kaufman resigned due to butthurt over the "liberal media's' "attacks" on her and the "electronic lynching" she was receiving on the internets. West accused the media of racism and sexism in their "attack" on Kaufman, defending her as a "brilliant political mind."
So far, West's political achievements consist of being a keynote speaker at CPAC 2011. After he lost his seat in the 2012 general election to newcomer Patrick Murphy, he had a simple explanation. It wasn't that he ever came off as a crazy person due to his previous track record, of course: he was cheated out of it. Judging by the length of time it took him to finally concede, he may actually believe it. Furthermore, other terminally strange members of the House (including the likes of Paul Broun and Louie Gohmert) endorsed him for Speaker despite the fact that he no longer held a seat.
Adventures in sports medicine
He apparently blames football injuries on the separation of church and state, instead of the more obvious cause of actually playing football.
- Security Clearance Factcheck
- Struggle for Iraq, NY Times
- Media Matters on Beck episode
- NBC report
- Allen West Financial Troubles
- O'Donnell's appeal to security clearance
- Joyce Kaufman Second Amendment rant
- Kaufman endorses hanging
- Transcripts of NBC report I, II
- Allen West: I've 'Heard' 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members, Huffington Post
- West on Kaufman
- Allen West Thinks He Was Cheated, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Allen West finally concedes, Daily Kos
- Wingnuts Vote for Allen West as Speaker, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- Allen West Blames Football Injuries On Church-State Separation, Right Wing Watch