Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists
April 11th, 2012
10:31 PM ET
11 years ago

Florida Rep labels congressional Democrats as Communists

(CNN) – Florida Rep. Allen West's controversial comments have once again landed him in the headlines – this time with the sort of accusation not seen in Congress since the 1950s.

At a town hall meeting with constituents in Jensen Beach, West was asked how many members of Congress are "card-carrying Marxists."

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According to CNN affiliate WPEC, West responded, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party."

West's campaign manager, Tim Edison, pointed reporters to West's next comments, when he says the members in question belong to the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

"This group advocates for state control over industries, redistribution of wealth, reduced individual economic freedom and the destruction of free markets," Edison added in a statement. "These members of Congress advocate the type of policies that have put Europe on the brink of economic and fiscal collapse, and are driving the United States in the same direction. It is interesting that amid the swirl of feigned outrage and media misreporting of the Congressman’s remarks, all the attention is focused on the semantics, but no one is disputing the Progressive Caucus’s support for policies central to socialist and even Marxist systems."

The Congressional Progressive Caucus responded to West's comments with a statement calling the comment and others like it "personal attacks."

"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," the statement, by caucus co chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, read.

A spokesman for the Communist Party USA said Wednesday that the remarks are "not the epithet it once was."

"We think it's ridiculous statement and totally untrue. It's clear he's trying to give the impression that there are people with a secret agenda in the Congress," party vice chair Libero Della Piana said.

"We don't take offense at it. Really it wasn't a statement about us at all," he added, but rather a myth about Democrats.

Last summer, West wrote an email to Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz describing her as "the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives." Last February, he described a fellow member of Congress who is Muslim as "someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."

West was suggested as a possible GOP vice presidential nominee last week by the party's most recent nominee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The first term congressman said on CNN's "Newsroom" that he is open to the possibility.

"(My family) has always stepped up to the plate to serve our country, and if it's the right thing, then I will do so. But I really doubt that would ever happen," he said.

But, he has said, Romney has yet to call.

Also see:

Romney on Santorum: 'This has been a good day for me'

Louisiana governor endorses Romney

Crossroads GPS to drop $1.7 million against Obama

Filed under: Allen West • Florida
soundoff (907 Responses)
  1. Ramana7

    There is a huge difference between "democratic socialism" and "marxist socialism/communism."

    I wonder if those on the right realize that the early Church in the bible was socialist in the marxist sense? They shared property, money, food, housing and other resources openly (Peter killed a couple that faked it!)

    I wonder if they realize the vast difference between Marx' theory and the experiments of putting it into practice?

    And what is at the heart of Marxist theory? I'm no expert, but it seems to me the base line of it was to create equality in society, along with freedom. We may decry socialism or communism for various reasons and perhaps how it's been applied and practiced, however, all should recognize this basic starting intention. Are we really against even this? Equality for all? Freedom to find your nitch and be productive?

    So perhaps democratic socialist have this aim in mind, to make things fair, safe, healthy and give people freedom to be what they dream to be. Gee, sounds like the American dream to me.

    So, what's most troubling about this name calling that's gone on for three years now about communist, etc. is that it starts from an ignorant stance to begin with. Ignorant of what socialism, communism, marxism, and social democracy is and isn't, lumping them together which is completely absurd, demonizing things without recognizing the facts of history.

    April 12, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  2. Joe A

    Typical of McCarthy disciple West; anyone who disagrees with him on anything should be dragged before a brand-spanking new House un-American Activities Committee so he can smear them like his idol Tailgunner Joe.

    April 12, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Socialism not getting the "bites" anymore? Oh well. Only in the under belly of American politics can a contender for United States Congress use his filthy mouth to spew hatred and still be considered a "contender".

    I'd call on Mittens and family to "refudiate" Allen West, but considering this man West is now being heralded as VP material, refudiation by Romney is probably not going to happen anytime soon.

    April 12, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  4. fryuujin

    and this guy proves my point that the public is caulk full of dolts. how could anyone for this dolt. must be the same dolts that voted for Bush TWICE

    April 12, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  5. Paul1st

    As a matter of political philosophy, almost all Democrats is Congress are further to the left on the political spectrum than West and so they are closer to Communism than West. West is further to the right than almost all Democrats in Congress and so he is closer to Fascism. This doesn't make the Democrats Communists nor does it make West a Fascist. The extreme hyperbole in West's comments are meant to inflame the political debate and to be divisive, two things that result in a lack of honest discourse, compromise and civility. All of this is detrimental to a healthy Republic. Should we now conclude that West is Anti-American? Let's not and allow him the right to freedom of speech.

    April 12, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  6. And in other news

    Oh well, a rightwing extremist of color. No difference to other right wingers and TPartiers. Just business as usual, slander, libel, unfounded accusations, smearing opponents, fear mongering, and in the end : republican desperation. Because these fools have nothing to offer.
    But of course it's newsworthy and requires an apology when a democrat says that Ann Romney never worked a day in her life (other than as mother and spouse of a multi millionaire.. Then the repukes get all up in arms.
    One of their's smears an entire group of democratically elected, that's ok.

    LH: lying hypocrites !!!

    April 12, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Logic N LA

    Typical- when you have no real knowledge, call names. This is not just putting labels on people, this is boarderline slander.
    Isn't it interesting that you don't hear member of the progressive side of Congress call conservatives facist, nazis, dictators, or other names associated with conservative means of government. The common man may use those terms, but you never hear it from one of their colleagues. Maybe because the term conservative is derogatory enough. It certainly has begun to repulse me recently.

    April 12, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  8. deb0155

    Finally, somone has the guts to call the Democrats in Congress what they really are! We can all sit here and say how bad this sounds, but what will be worse is the fact when all Americans are under complete government control which is what the current administration in Washington wants. Our way of life as we know it here in the United States is slowly being ripped away from us. We have a President who certainly does not like our Constitution and our Democratic legislators are imposing socialist and communist agendas upon the American people. Again, I say, if people don't like our Constitution and have a problem with this country – they can move to Cuba and let us all know how that is working for them because that is what this country – the United States – is turning into – complete government control. Remember, the more government gives you – the more it owns you!

    April 12, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  9. gedankemeiste

    It seems to me that the "welfare state" approach is a slippery slope when executed at from the federal level because on that scale the process appears to trap people into dependence on the govt. This has led in turn to many politicians thinking they have to continuously ratchet up the govt assistance to those who are dependent, largely so they can be re-elected. The aim should be to help people to get trained to work for themselves but the current system does not do this. The current system resembles a socialist approach even if the originators did not consider this possibility. If the "dependence state" is not turned around by getting people to work for themselves then our economy is doomed to stagnation at best.

    April 12, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Ramana7

    It takes a very head up the rear end kind of world view to sustain this ignorant communist name calling that has gone on since Obama took office.

    For those who do not know: The 'dark' capitalism that came out of Russia is basically dead anyway. The remaining European countries that have "socialist" governments are democratic socialists. This is a completely different approach than your dad's communism which he fought.

    The democratic socialist countries are our allies, were our allies against communism and fascism. Remain our allies. The aim of their governments is to instill equality and freedom in society. They function economically by means of capitalism.

    Let's make it simple: democratic socialists are like the sheep in the parable of the sheep and the goats. They try to give a drink of water to the one who has none, they try to feed the one who is hungry, they try to care for and heal the sick. This is the kind of "Socialist" that Obama is. For this, he and his party have been maliciously labeled a communist.

    Who is being malicious? Those who support the rich few. Those who would say to the man without water, "Get a job! It's not my job to water you!" In short, the goats.

    April 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Tex71

    Being a black conservative makes as much sense as being a Jewish Nazi.

    April 12, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Jw

    He is correct, there is a significant number of members of the Senate and House who are interested in total control over the American populace. After each Congressional term, there are innumerable laws having been passed that give the 'government' more and more control over our every day lives.

    April 12, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. Tom In Millstadt

    Communists in Congress? Name them, prove it or shut up.

    April 12, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Brice Kibler

    Rep Allen West's communist remarks are like yelling fire in a movie theatre. He is repulsive and disgraceful, representative of what's wrong with our elected officials

    April 12, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. TM

    This is the same clown who claimed that he held a HIGHER security clearance than the President. West is a disgrace.

    April 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. mark trought

    now here goes another caveman in the form of allen west. why are there so many cave men and women in the GOP?

    April 12, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. gg

    republican leaning companies invest there money and hire more people in communist china than they do in usa,apple.walmart would go out of buisness if it wasn,t for communist china

    April 12, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. Anonymous010

    Sure, West, there are communists in the Democratic Party just like there are facists in the Republican Party. News flash: not everyone who disagrees with you is a 'bad guy'. In fact, the disagreements are supposed to be one of America's strengths – it keeps our political bearing from becoming too extreme one way or the other. Of course, that assumes we have politicians who don't act like spoiled, petty children who call each other names and refuse to compromise with each other on key issues. So, congratulations, guys – you've turned one of America's greatest strengths into a crippling weakness. Hope you're proud of yourselves. If I had my way, you'd all be recalled and banned from serving in public office ever again.

    April 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  19. Nic_Driver

    Wow, the GOP never ceases to amaze me. Why they refuse to learn from history and consistently use histrionics is evidence of a hidden agenda. I suppose it's not really hidden anymore, they’ve shown they are anti-middle class and working American but pro big business and the wealthy. The general election should reflect that and hopefully, eventually, the GOP will move back to the center and once again be a viable alternative to the Democratic party.

    April 12, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  20. Communists for Christ

    Joesph McCarthy isn't dead, he is just resting. More ideological nonsense from the party of nonsense the GOP

    April 12, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  21. realitybites

    Disgusting pig of a man. Much like those that actually vote for him. Amazing.

    April 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  22. Nic_Driver

    gendankemeiste – Are you sure it's the "welfare state" approach and not a consequence of unregulated capitalism?

    April 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Marshall

    Representative West is truly a disgusting creature. One can only hope that his looney comments will lead to self destruction.

    April 12, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  24. ntu

    Senator Joe is calling from the grave

    April 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. mordrud

    Is this supposed to be a surprise? so what? move on... nothing more to see here....

    April 12, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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