"Why Allen West Lost: 16 Of His Worst Moments In Congress"
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), one of the most controversial Tea Party freshmen in Congress, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday night.
Despite moving to a new, more-Republican district (Florida’s 18th congressional district), West was edged by challenger Patrick Murphy (D) by 2,500 votes.
During his two-year tenure in Congress, West earned a reputation as not only one of the House’s most brash members, but also its top Islamophobe.
Here are 16 of the most contentious moments of his congressional career:
1. Progressives are “communists”: At a town hall meeting in April, West said that 80 House Democrats were “members of the Communist Party.” He later clarified that the 80 Democrats he was speaking about were those in the Progressive Caucus.
2. Opposed early voting as an “entitlement”: In an interview with ThinkProgress, West objected to early voting in Florida because “people see it as an entitlement.” He ultimately lost his seat, in part, because of high Democratic early voting turnout.
3. Said Obama’s campaign slogan had a “Marxist-Socialist” meaning: West found hidden meaning in Obama’s “Forward” slogan. “They want to bring out an old Soviet Union, Marxist-Socialist theme for their campaign called “Forward”.”
4. Obama’s DREAM initiative was a voter fraud conspiracy: Appearing on Fox News, West saw a more nefarious effort beneath Obama’s deferred action immigration policy. “Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote?” he asked.
5. Food stamps “enslave the American people”: West lamented the rise in available food stamps for Americans. “That’s not how you empower the American people,” West said. “That’s how you enslave the American people.”
6. Social Security enslaves the American people: Appearing on Fox News, West criticized Social Security disability benefits. “Once again we are creating the sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st century slavery.”
7. Obama wants to enslave people: West argued at a campaign event that Obama “does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave.”
8. Said Barney Frank should be in a “pink jumpsuit”: West criticized openly gay Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA) congressional tenure earlier this year. “[He's] a guy who for all practical purposes should be in a pink jumpsuit for what he did.”
9. Called undocumented immigration an “invasion”: In a newspaper interview, West likened undocumented immigrants to an enemy force. “You have to repel invasions,” West said.
10. Told congresswoman, “You are not a lady”: West blasted nearby congresswoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) after a dispute, scolding her in a letter, “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!”
11. Called for censoring news outlets: After Wikileaks released thousands of pages of documents, West argued that “we also should be censoring American news agencies” who reported on the cables.
12. Obama supporters are a “threat to the gene pool: West wrote on a conservative website, “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.”
13. Religious coexistence “would give away our country”: West blasted “Coexist” bumper stickers at a March 2011 town hall, saying people who have them represent “something that would give away our country, would give away who we are.”
14. Said Nazi leader would be “very proud” of Democrats: In December 2011, West told reporters that “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”
15. Criticized rise of feminism: West told a conservative conference that liberal women “have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.”
16. Told liberals to “get the hell out of the United States”: At a Republican dinner, West had harsh words for his Democratic counterparts. “Take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”