Partisan liberal Democrats should have good reason to fear the candidacy of LTC Allen West. Not only is LTC West a legitimate threat to make Ron Klein a one term congressman in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, LTC West also has the potential to become an effective national spokesman for the Republican Party by virtue of his commanding persona coupled with his impressive background and credentials- provided that his insurgent campaign is ultimately successful.
FL-22 is Clay Shaw’s old district, running up and down the Atlantic oceanfront in Palm Beach and Broward Counties from Jupiter all the way down to Fort Lauderdale. Shaw was a 13-term incumbent in 2006, but he became one of the seemingly endless number of losses endured by Republicans in the 2006 whitewash of Republicans across the country, losing the seat to Klein by 3 percent. FL-22 is a bona fide “swing” district- it is by no means a safe Democratic district, which will force Klein to vigorously defend his seat.
Surely due in no small part to his military background, LTC West is a fearless individual blessed with outstanding oratorical skills. I was on hand to witness his brief remarks at a recent Palm Beach County Republican event, and it was clear that his motivational style of oratory and energetic persona easily garnered the most enthusiasm and applause from the crowd. He brings instant gravitas on foreign affairs and the Global War on Terror based on his 20 plus years of highly decorated and honorable military service. Rest assured, there is no squishiness on his part regarding any of issues pertaining to the threat of terrorism and the need to protect the homeland.
Perhaps even more impressively, West is also unafraid to confront liberals when they blatantly play the race card against Republicans. Recently, Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama told his supporters that Republicans would use his race to foment fear against his candidacy, to which West issued the following response:
“My advice to Senator Obama is to run as a Man and Leader, and the American people will evaluate you as such, not as a victim. This is a Presidential race, based solely on a capacity to lead the United States of America. It is not about skin tone…however, perhaps we should come to expect these immature statements.
It also seems rather humorous that the Presidential candidate who was supposed to be such a “uniter” and transcend race is the one talking about it the most. If Senator Obama was confident in his abilities and character, he would not need to create a crutch for failure. Senator Obama has just tipped his hand, any criticism of him and his policies will be directly attributed to racism. I congratulate Senator Obama for taking race relations in America back some 30 years.”
Ouch. Refreshingly honest, and bereft of the typical platitudes we’ve come to expect from aspiring Congressmen who are hyper-concerned about their election prospects and are worried about offending their future colleagues. When future events demand an unequivocal response from our elected representatives, it’s a good bet that LTC West will be there to provide it without reservation.
Recently, LTC West received an additional “honor” – he was named World’s Worst Person by the undisputed king of hyperbolic, misleading news commentary himself, Keith Olberman. Consider this distinction a civilian badge of honor of the highest order, LTC West!
What are his prospects for unseating the incumbent Democrat? Based on the current buzz in the district and the local media, I see this race as a legitimate toss-up. South Florida Democrats are crowing that Republican held seats in FL-21 and FL-25 are in definitely in play for them this election. That observation may be true, but FL-22 could just as easily become one of their own unanticipated casualties.