Rep. Allen West (R-Florida), one of two Black Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, elicited a few raised eyebrows and some laughs last week when he jumped up during a Republican conference meeting to whip support for Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling bill and said, “I’m ready to drive the car.” He was responding to a clip shown to the group from the movie The Town, in which one character told another that he needed a driver to take him to go hurt some people, no questions asked. Now, it seems, West may have driven his political career off of a cliff. He is one of four lawmakers being targeted by Tea Party organizations working to punish members for voting yes on the Boehner proposal.
“I am warning Mr. West and all other [Cap, Cut and Balance] pledge-takers that there are massive political consequences when ‘defecting’ on principled issues at this moment in history,” Tom Trento, director of the Tea Party Founding Fathers, told The Daily Caller. “I love Allen West. He is my congressman and my friend. I have helped him in the past and I will help him in the future unless his compromised moment of weakness after getting beat up by the established politicians becomes the norm. In that case, the statesman Allen West, who energized a nation, would have been consumed by the ‘curse’ of the Beltway and become nothing more than another politician.”
West, who never hesitates to speak his mind, said the Tea Party is being schizophrenic.
“I think what we have to ask ourselves is, if you’re telling me I need to vote no against the Boehner plan, then what am I voting for?” he said in an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “If the folks who one minute they’re saying that I’m their ‘Tea Party hero’ and what, three or four days later I’m a ‘Tea Party defector’—that kind of schizophrenia I’m not going to get involved in.”
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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