Memo to Rep. Allen West: It’s 2012, not 1950

No doubt this will be old news to many of you, nevertheless, from Politico (emphasis added):

[…] In avideo clip of the event posted Wednesday, West was responding a question from a constituent asking “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?

That’s a fair question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” West says in the video.

Is there a Marxist Party that issues cards? I don’t really feel like looking it up. Anyway, the Communist Party response? Also from Politico:

“I just think it’s an absurd way to cast a shadow over his colleagues. It’s kind of a sad ploy,” Libero Della Piana, a vice-chairman of the national Communist Party, said of the Florida Republican’s charge that about 80 House Democrats were members of the radical party.

“It’s just guilt by association taken to an extreme,” he told POLITICO. He also said there are no members of Congress who are members of the Communist Party – not even avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

So who was he referring to, then? The Congressional Progressive Caucus, and their reaction:

Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison react to Allen West claims:

“Allen West is denigrating the millions of Americans who voted to elect Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) members, and he is ignoring the oath they took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution—just like he did. Calling fellow Members of Congress ‘communists’ is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don’t advance policies to benefit people’s lives.

“We hope the people of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District will note that he repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests. When people like Rep. West have no ideals or principles, they rely on personal attacks. The CPC is proud to stand up for economic equality and civil and human rights for all Americans. Congress is having, and will continue to have, an ongoing debate about job creation, home foreclosuresand the issues that concern working families. But we will not engage in base and childish conversations that lower the high level of discourse Americans rightly expect from their representatives.”

Really, though, people take this seriously. The questioner took this seriously and Representative Allen West called it a “fair question.” It goes without saying that Progressives are not the same as communists, let alone qualified to actually be a part of the Communist Party, even though their obviously to the “left” of West. Which strikes me as a kind of worrying ignorance – an ignorance that should be shared by people on the right. I imagine that West would be much more effective in combatting opposing ideologies if he actually, you know, knew anything of substance about those strains of political thinking.


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