Sunday, January 30, 2011

Allen West Tackles 2012, SOTU And Olbermann

Congressman Allen West (R) FL-22
In an interview Saturday evening on ‘Conservative Republican Forum’, with hosts Steven Rosenblum and Daria DiGiovanni, Republican Congressman Allen West (FL-22) was asked if he was thinking at all of running for President or Vice-President in 2012. His response was, “Well of course not.” He went on to say, “It’s so important that we as conservatives avoid the cult of personality style of leadership. But we really do elevate people based upon merit and talent. And, you know, I have to prove myself as an American statesman, as a political leader, and not just someone that is able to, you know give some good speeches. I have to be able to get up there and create legislation and get legislation pushed through and make myself a game changer on the House floor.”

Congressman West went further saying “What I am concerned about as far as on the Republican side is that we don’t continue with the entitlement mentality when it comes to elevating people to the next levels of leadership. We’ve got to break this paradigm. We cannot continue to have the model of Bob Dole against Bill Clinton or John McCain against Barack Obama. We’ve got to do something totally different.”

When asked about the current uprising in Egypt in terms of its unfolding from a historical perspective, West proceeded to give an in depth analysis -- first recounting the 2009 uprising by the Iranian youth where students rose up against the autocratic regime while the Obama administration turned their backs on them. He then recounted the 1979 student uprising against the Shah of Iran, reminding the listeners how Jimmy Carter's failure to support the Shah's bid to stay in power- while granting him sanctuary in the U.S.- led to the American Embassy hostage crisis, and ultimately to the tenuous situation that exists with the Iranian regime today.

West’s concern -- that the chaotic situation we see in Egypt today could leave a vacuum that the Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal political group in Egypt, with ties to CAIR, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah – is well-founded. If they succeed in taking control of Egypt, it could have detrimental and even catastrophic affects for Israel, the U.S. and the entire world, especially if it led to the closing of the Suez Canal (which would be an economic and strategic disaster). It could also lead to further uprisings and destabilization in Yemen, Jordan and throughout the Middle East.

The Congressman reminded listeners that, “the radical Islamic movement is looking for chaotic situations they can take advantage of”, citing the example of the Soviet Union’s retreat from Afghanistan, causing that country to collapse into a civil war until the Taliban came to power, promising civility and order. Next thing you know, they instituted the 7th Century, radical Shariah Law and played host to Al-Qaeda.

When a listener in the chat room asked why Israel is so important, Congressman West clearly articulated the critical strategic and historical importance of our strongest Middle East ally and the only democracy in the region.

Asked about members of the opposing parties sitting together at the State of the Union Address, in what the media termed “Date Night”, (which he declined to participate in) the Congressman simply stated, “Americans don't care where we sit, they care where we stand”.

On the subject of the State of the Union speech itself, Congressman West said President Obama is, “a Commander-in-Chief, a president, that is trapped between two worlds, and he’s trying to occupy both of them. The first world is the reality of what happened on the 2nd of November last year with the mid-term elections. And there are many points in that state of the union speech where the President sounded just as conservative as I am. But then he also has to operate in the world where he must appease and placate his liberal-progressive base. And so there are many in times in that speech -- within paragraphs even -- where he contradicted himself.”

With respect to the Tea Party, Congressman West referred to it as a “constitutional-conservative, grassroots movement”, observing that the “American people have awakened -- and that threatens both political party establishments.” He encouraged the American people to “continue to put pressure on the elected officials that they send to Washington, DC, or to their states, to their counties and to their local municipalities, to make sure that what happened in Bell, California does not happen anywhere else”.

West of course was one of the first “tea party” candidates, propelled to victory largely with the support of grassroots groups like the Broward and Fort Lauderdale Tea Parties, the South Florida 912Any Street and DC Works for Us.

Congressman West did reveal that he is not sleeping in his congressional office, but instead has found a little basement apartment. He says you need a place to get away and decompress. He also says he has suggested possibly creating a “congressional barracks”.

On a lighter note, West was asked about the firing of his “friend” Keith Olbermann from his show on MSNBC (when he was asked about this at his first town hall meeting West’s answer was to do a little dance). West’s facetious reply was “I will miss Keith Olbermann, because I think I made The Worst Person In The World 5 or 6 times and I had my eyes set on at least making it to number 10, definitely by the summer, so I guess Rachel Maddow or Laurence O’Donnell will step up and take his place.”

You can listen to the entire 40-minute interview with freshman Congressman Allen West on ‘Conservative Republican Forum’.

Steven Rosenblum is the host of 'Conservative Republican Forum' on BlogTalkRadio and a 2010 Republican nominee for Florida State House.