Allen West is one of the Republican party's most important national assets. He is deeply conservative, highly articulate, very intelligent, intellectually honest and a darling of the Tea Party movement. That he is also black gives extra weight to his highly critical commentary on the racial politics of the left. He is, by every account, a rising star in the Republican Party with national prominence. For all of these reasons, Rep. West is at the very top of the DNC's hit list of seats to challenge in 2012.
I know the world Allen West grew up in. He was a twenty year soldier - and their is no greater melting pot than the U.S. Army. It is a true meritocracy. It is an environment where the color of one's skin is meaningless. I can well imagine that LTC West was as horrified as I by the reality of the racial politics of the left when he was forced out of the service and into the civilian world. For those who don't know, LTC West's career ended in Iraq when he received intelligence that he and members of his unit were being targeted for assassination by several Iraqis. He captured one of the plotters and fired off his weapon to induce the detainee to discuss the plot. That ended the LTC's career. When asked if he would have done it again if the same scenario presented itself, West was unapologetic, stating, "[i]f it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can." That is a soldier.
At any rate, Rep. West is a treasure of a Republican Party desperately in need of men and women like him. And yet, it appears that the Florida Republican Party, led by a Romney supporter, Will Weatherford, is going to sacrifice Rep. West as part of the redistricting process:
One of Governor Mitt Romney’s spokesmen was Florida Representative Will Weatherford, and during the course of his remarks in the “Spin Room”, he shed a very dim light on the ongoing redistricting process in the Florida Legislature. Over the past several weeks, many Republicans have voiced their disappointment towards the Republican legislature after the release of the preliminary redistricting maps. Much of the ire concerns the proposed boundaries of Congressman Allen West’s 22nd Congressional District that would be redrawn to include far more registered Democrats.
West’s congressional district inexplicably sheds the most Republican electoral support, in comparison to all other incumbent Republican and Democrat Congressman. A few weeks back we quoted an unnamed legislator saying that, “Allen West was screwed”, a statement which was originally made about made five months before the proposed maps were made public, leading insiders to believe that the fix was in against Allen West. But in light of Weatherford’s comment, it is increasingly clear that this is a fait accompli. (Read more- Allen West is Screwed)
According to Weatherford, those preliminary maps will not change- at the most, any additional changes would be minimal, and those changes would not make any appreciable difference from the preliminary maps. In addition, Weatherford stated that a deal was struck between him, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, and Senator Don Gaetz to finalize these maps and push them through as soon as possible. Weatherford also said that the proposed maps are in legal compliance with both the Voting Rights Act and Amendment 6.
So based on Weatherford’s comments, the 22nd Congressional District is now very much in play for the Democrat Party, and West is at an even larger disadvantage than he was previously- it will be a very difficult and expensive seat for Republicans to defend.
The only reasonable explanation for this is that the Florida Republican hierarchy has cut a deal with Democrats as part of the redistricting process. As the Shark Tank opined here:
So why would the “most conservative legislature” in Florida’s history look the other way as West’s congressional district lines are re-drawn? Is the fix really in to knock Allen West out of Congress? About five months ago, a very high ranking member of the Florida legislature gave me a very disturbing prediction regarding redistricting- “Allen West is screwed.” Take note that comment was made five months ago, long before the proposed maps were made public.
So are the poobahs in the Florida legislature really gunning to oust Allen West? Was a backroom deal made with the Democrat members of the legislature to put West’s seat into play in order to protect the other congressional seats that would favor any future runs for Congress by existing members of the Florida Legislature? The deals were struck, and the maps drawn behind closed doors.
It wouldn’t surprise us if this were the case. There is no love lost between the Florida legislature and Congressman Allen West, who has proven to be the anti-Republican establishment congressman. Back in the 2008 election cycle when West unsuccessfully ran for Congress, Republicans in the legislature did not support West. Former indicted Republican Party of Florida Boss Jim Greer and Governor Charlie Crist stayed out of the race until the very end, even after West’s Republican primary race was over.
Crist endorsed West four days prior to the general election, and Greer showed his support by writing West a personal check of $500 several weeks before the general election. This was also the case during the 2010 election cycle as state legislators sat on their hands, much like they did with Senator Marco Rubio. The Rubio saga is well documented, as the backdoor dirty deals and threats weighed heavy on the Rubio for Senate campaign against Crist.
In 2010, Will Weatherford, who is the current State House Redistricting Chairman, also supported Crist over Rubio before Crist left the GOP and ran as an Independent.
You may ask yourself why would the Florida GOP legislature not protect one of the most respected and beloved congressman in Washington D.C.? Could the reasons be as simple as sheer arrogance and self-political preservation by the Tallahassee elites?
There is rot at the heart of the Republican Party that I never knew existed until the start of the 2012 campaign season. What the Republican's are doing in Florida to Allen West is simply unforgivable. Weatherford and the Florida Republican Party needs to be condemned in no uncertain terms for this act.