Allen West is one of Congress's, um, special people. The freshman tea partier and former Army colonel has criticized President Obama for traveling to Afghanistan in the middle of the night because it wasn't life-threatening enough. He has claimed that Muslim congressman Keith Ellison "represent[s] the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established." He has warned that those "Coexist" bumper stickers will lead to the downfall of America. During his 2010 campaign for Congress, he told his followers to "make [Democratic congressman Ron Klein] scared to come out of his house." He was fined by the military for intimidating an Iraqi policeman he suspected of terrorist ties by firing a gun next to his head and threatening to kill him. You would think that, as fond as he is of doling out baseless accusations and physical threats, West could handle a little criticism from a Democratic colleague.
But he can't, apparently! Yesterday, West sent this e-mail, regarding fellow Florida representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to party leaders and Wasserman Schultz herself (emphasis ours):
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!
Steadfast and Loyal
Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)
Wow. What did Wasserman Schultz do to invite such an irate personal attack on a colleague? Did she question his manhood? Did she disparage his religion? Did she fire a gun next to his head? Did she call him a stupid-looking four-eyed square-head or say something mean about his mom? Nope. She criticized his position on Medicare.
Wasserman Schultz ... provoked his tirade with remarks after he left the House floor today, in which she responded -- without naming him -- to the Tea Party freshman's support for "Cut, Cap, and Balance" legislation to raise the debt ceiling.
"The gentleman from Florida. who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a Member from South Florida," Wasserman Schultz said, saying the legislation "slashes Medicaid and critical investments essential to winning the future in favor of protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires, and companies who ship American jobs overseas."
That's it. Common partisan rhetoric that members of Congress use against each other every single day. That's what set off West. He can call Obama a "low-level socialist agitator" who shows "third-world dictator-like arrogance," but should a woman criticize his political positions, he turns into Christian Bale after someone walks through his set.
Allen West tirade: Wasserman Schultz 'vile...despicable...not a Lady' [Ben Smith/Politico]