In what is likely a sign that he’s expected to do big things in the coming years, far-right Republican Congressman Allen West has been chosen to give the keynote address at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). CPAC is an annual event at which Republican heavyweights flex their political muscles before a room of their powerful peers.
In many ways, West, the first African-American Republican to represent the state of Florida since the Reconstruction, appears to be styling himself as a nemesis of President Obama. Though both are men of color, the similarities end there. West rode into office on the support of the Tea Party, earning an endorsement from Sarah Palin along the way. A retired Army colonel, he was discharged from the armed forces after admitting to abducting an Iraqi police officer and then firing his gun near the cop’s head to scare him in order to extract information. It was basically a human-rights violation, but West wears it on his sleeve as a badge of honor.
On President Obama, West says, “I can’t stand the guy. I absolutely can’t stand him.” And last month he also insulted Minnesota’s Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, by saying Ellison “really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.”
In essence, West is a bigot with an axe to grind, and he’s gunning for Barack Obama. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if he wasn’t so adored by his fellow conservatives. West won his seat last November with about 54 percent of the vote, and he’s accepted with rock-star welcomes everywhere he’s spoken since.
It’s unlikely West will seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but it’s certainly not out of the question come 2016 and 2020. Sadly, he’s just getting started.
Image: US Congress