One tries to give Florida Congressman Allen West the benefit of the doubt. Surely, you think, the Republican freshman says some outrageous things simply to appease some of his more fervent supporters.
For example, in a message West sent Monday to his supporters, he closed with, "I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool."
Seems a bit harsh but that's politics. And for West, that was fairly mild.
So weren't we surprised when West turned into a threatening bully after Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a passing remark about him during the floor debate about the GOP plan called "cut, cap and balance."
Wasserman Schultz spoke for 2 minutes, 28 seconds. At about 36 seconds she said:
". . .President Obama has vowed to veto this bill which ends the Medicare guarantee and incredulously the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase the cost for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable from a member from South Florida."
Those 20 seconds sent West over the edge.
Almost immediately after her remarks, West fired off an email to Wasserman Schultz with copies to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Yup, it was bit like a kid complaining to his mom and dad that his sister was mean to him.
Here's what West wrote:
"Subject - Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz."
Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!
I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.
You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!"
Wow. Really? Most of Wasserman Schultz's remarks were boilerplate Democratic opposition to the plan. Both Democrats and Republicans are vigorously arguing their positions.
One note - while West is questioning calling Wasserman Schultz a "coward" for failing to "say it to my face," West apparently sees no irony in the fact the he sent her an email.
No one needs to feel sorry for Wasserman Schultz. She plays hardball and gives as good as she gets. But West's response to her 20-second remark is so out of proportion that it is troubling.
Here's the video of her remarks:
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