Monday, January 22, 2018
Opinion

West channels his inner Joe McCarthy

Do you suspect it's possible that Rep. Allen West, R-Tailgunner Joe, has retained the expert services of Ozzie Guillen to hone his well-crafted image as a dolt?

If West keeps this up, it's only a matter of time before the congressman accuses the College of Cardinals of having ties to Havana because of the red zucchettos the cardinals wear.

Better not to encourage him.

The Grand Inquisitor of the tea party was holding forth at a town hall meeting in Jensen Beach this week when one of the pitchfork attendees asked him to estimate how many fellow members of Congress are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists, as opposed to domestic Socialists.

West could have answered, "Sir, one of the downsides of holding public office is having silly twits like you as a constituent."

Instead, the Cotton Mather of Fort Lauderdale responded with absolute certainty: "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party."

Who knew?

West was channeling his inner Joe McCarthy: "I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members of or certainly loyal to the Communist Party."

What the J. Edgar Hoover of the subtropics really was referring to was that cabal of plotting Fifth Columnists in Congress known as (avert your eyes!) the 76 members of the Progressive Caucus.

Clearly, these people make Angela Davis look like Margaret Thatcher, espousing such radical un-American beliefs as social and economic justice, universal health care, an end to discrimination, a fairer tax structure and trade polices that increase U.S. exports. Cue The Internationale.

Yep, with those sorts of anarchistic beliefs, one can easily see the dark hand of Che Guevara at work.

The membership list, of course, includes the usual names of the Democratic Party's staunchest liberals. Sure, there's Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich and Jesse Jackson Jr. and John Conyers. Liberal? Absolutely. Members of the Hammer & Sickle Fan Club? Hardly.

By West's twisted reasoning, Florida U.S. Reps. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville and Frederica Wilson of Miami are commies, commies, commies. So is Georgia's John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement. Lewis shed his blood fighting to open doors for the likes of Allen West, who has now returned the favor by accusing a venerated House colleague of, at least, being disloyal.

And it's all because these folks believe in equality? Less guns and more education? Fairer taxes? Oh the Material Dialectic of it all.

Both West and McCarthy are world-class panderers. Both displayed indifference to the ramifications of accusing fellow Americans of being unpatriotic because they held opposing views. Both couldn't prove their charges. And most notably, both could lay claim to being boorish, unpleasant people.

The besotted McCarthy's phony crusade against communists ruined careers and destroyed lives. For a time McCarthy ran roughshod over the Constitution, until Edward R. Murrow and a couple of others eventually stood up and confronted the bully from Wisconsin to end his rhetorical reign of terror.

Accusing elected officials who have sworn an oath of office to protect and defend the nation of sedition is no less an insult as it would be for West's detractors to imply he was a Nazi.

Allen West is no Hitler. He's just dense. There's a big difference.

McCarthy was ultimately brought down during the Army-McCarthy Hearings in June 1954 when attorney Joseph Welch, who had his fill of the character assassinations, confronted the senator and asked: "You've done enough. Have you no decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

A variation of the same question might be asked of the General Halftrack of the tea party.

Congressman? You've done enough. Have you no sense of history, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of history?

Comments
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18