Friday, April 16, 2010

“Colonel and Candidate” Allen West Makes Waves

NOTE: The excerpts in the post below are from Jay Nordlinger’s National Review essay, “Colonel and Candidate”, which appears in the latest issue. (We haven’t gotten our snail mail copy, so I used the digital version. This is probably still behind the subscription firewall for the moment but since the magazine is a weekly it won’t be there long; non-subscribers can see as soon as the next issue appears.


Mr. Nordlinger says Republicans are “excited” about Col. West’s candidacy for Congress (for Florida’s 22nd District), and they have good reason to be.

…he’s a true-blue Reaganite: a free marketeer, a hard-liner in foreign policy, an unapologetic social conservative. And he is not short on charisma. A video of one of his speeches “went viral” — attracted millions of viewers — and he was a star at CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — in February. In this new technological age, congressional candidates can have national followings. West has one.
Take a bow here, all you translators who had a hand in the viral spread of Col. West’s speech via our Rosetta Stone project. Practically speaking, will these many translations have an effect on Lt. Colonel West’s candidacy in Florida? No. However, his words have great impact and they inspire people everywhere who love liberty. The spreading of the word went much farther than Mr. Nordlinger could know. Nor could he have known of Col West’s gracious acknowledgement of each and every effort to send his words around the world. Viral, indeed!

Mr Nordlinger continues:

West was the Republican nominee in 2008, with very little money and very little national support. A highly snarky article in The New Republic, “Recruiting Scandal,” presented him as a great embarrassment to the GOP. The embarrassment finished strongly: with 45 percent of the vote in a big Democratic, and terrible Republican, year. He thinks that, with some money and the support of the national party, he just might have won in ‘08.

He has plenty of money and plenty of support this year. Fundraising has come easily, and the party has made him a priority.
Here’s the link to that ‘snarky’ essay in The New Republic from the previous campaign. Hint: they sure don’t like Republicans. Read a snip from the hit piece back then:
- - - - - - - - -
An egghead who reads medieval Muslim history and the anti-socialist French thinker Frederic Bastiat in his spare time, West was on track for a generalship when his unit was assigned in August 2003 to interrogate an Iraqi policeman who had supposedly turned Benedict Arnold. The policeman refused to cooperate, so West dragged him outside, pushed his head into the sand, and fired a gun next to his face to get him to sing. “I’d do it again if I had to,” West tells me over tea and a doughnut in Plantation, Florida. “It wasn’t torture. Seeing Rosie O’Donnell naked would be torture.”
Gosh, I never knew West read Bastiat! My favorite French thinker, “anti-socialist” or otherwise (he learned from England's lesson with the corn laws). Bastiat thought government was a necessary evil and was only not harmful when it wasn’t interfering in its citizens’ God-given rights. Unlike many Europeans of his time (he died young, in 1849), Bastiat thought the very idea of ‘rights conferred by the state’ was pernicious and could only lead to bad consequences. How right he was.

Well, whoda thunk that liking Bastiat makes you an “egghead”? One of the main problems for our congress creatures today is that so few of them have any acquaintance with Bastiat’s ideas, nor are they interested. Think of Obama as the anti-Bastiat. In fact, the majority of them are lawyers and such folk are too accustomed to work as being “billable hours” and spending other people’s money with abandon — e.g., charging you a hefty sum for xeroxing a page and sending it to you.

We need more representatives who’ve done their economic homework, or who have run businesses, or who have been leaders in other fields — outside of academia, the media, Wall Street, and political lobbying — you know, real jobs, the kind that are disappearing in this latest great destruction of our country’s wealth. I include military service within the category of “real jobs”.

Congress creatures have large, generally overpaid staffs, but how many actually have non-academic economists on their payroll in an advisory capacity?

It is exciting to realize that any Congressional district anywhere in this country is actually fielding a politician who thinks…I suppose that is the definition of “egghead”? Because you read Bastiat you’re an egghead? Sheesh.

As for the supposed “torture” of the Iraqi in order to protect his men, go read the snark at The New Republic link mentioned by Mr. Nordlinger. Lt. Colonel West voluntarily knowingly gave up his “track” to becoming a general when he intimidated that Iraqi, thus breaking our wimpy, p.c. “rules of engagement”, the very same rules that are also ruining our attempts in Afghanistan.

It takes great courage to go against the system and voluntarily surrender what you love in order to protect the people under you. As John Boyd said, for each officer who reaches West’s rank, there is a decision to be made: are you going to “be” somebody or are you going to “do” what is necessary? The former are groomed for the top tiers of leadership in The Building (as Boyd called the Pentagon). The latter, like West, take action and thereby surrender career for a greater good. So who’s the hero?

In a speech in April 2008, Defense Secretary Gates referred to Boyd, whom he obviously admires. He was speaking to Air War College students at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base.

… “If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself.”
The blogger extracting from Gates’ address notes how remarkable his willingness to publicly admire Boyd is:

For a defense secretary to quote a maverick colonel who left the Air Force as a pariah was a bold and risky step. But like the fighter pilot he quoted, he turned into the fight by describing Boyd as “brilliant” in his abilities “to overcome bureaucratic resistance and institutional hostility.” The secretary referred to Boyd as “a historical exemplar,” tracing his impact on our military from 30-year-old captain through to his continued intellectual contributions after retiring in 1975. And he praised Boyd for more than his intellect. He championed his character, quoting the colonel, who said, “One day you will take a fork in the road. … If you go [one] way, you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go [the other] way and you can do something — something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself.
In Nordlinger’s essay, there is some background on West’s younger life in black Atlanta. He mentions something telling:

“Race is not a factor now,” says West. “People are looking for three things more than anything else: honor, integrity, and character. Dr. King spoke about the content of character rather than the color of skin. And we see right now that the Left is trying to use race as a means to suppress honest criticism of government.” He means, of course, that tea partiers and other Obama critics are broadly painted as racist.

The colonel and candidate was born in 1961, raised in the same neighborhood as King. West’s elementary school, Our Lady of Lourdes, was across the street from the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He was steeped in all things King — and he counts him as a personal hero today.

Obviously, West is either a black Georgia Catholic or he was educated in that milieu at Our Lady of Lourdes School. It is the same milieu in which Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was raised a generation earlier(in Savannah rather than Atlanta). I am personally familiar with black Catholicism in Georgia. They are a minority within a minority. At one time they were all conservatives, but whether or not that is still true I don’t know since I’ve lost touch with the people there. The same was true of Augusta, Georgia. At one time, Catholicism was a refuge for Georgia blacks. The nuns truly believed in equality. Perhaps as convents shrank and people drifted away from Catholic education that has changed? I don’t know. However, at one point to be a black Catholic Georgian was to be a conservative. None of the government crutches, thank you.

Nordlinger asks him if he ever had a “liberal phase”. Certainly that is common enough for people of his generation — though I would maintain less so for Catholic-educated black Georgians who knew their history and the price of slavery to the man, especially the government man:

I saw social-welfare policies failing — just look at Detroit, just look at any other urban center — and a new kind of plantation. They once enslaved the body, and now they were enslaving the mind and the will.” He decries programs that lessen incentive and responsibility and “group you into a collective.”

I’ve given you some of his views here, and only a hint of the breadth of his reading. The rest of the essay is well worth your while, even if you have to wait for it to appear next week. I’ll close with a final quote, a real zinger that goes to the heart of the matter regarding Obama:

“I struggle to find something to admire in him. I believe that his policies and vision are antithetical to who we are as a country. I think the two preeminent things he should be doing are protecting the fiscal security and protecting the physical security of the nation. And I think he’s failing at both.” West believes that the administration is making “more and more people dependent on government,” either as recipients of government checks or as government employees. And he is alarmed by what he sees as a refusal to face facts about the Islamist enemy: a refusal to speak of “Muslim extremism,” for example, or even of “terrorism.”

“There are two things that could lose us our country if we’re not careful,” says West. One is the relinquishment of individual responsibility; the other is political correctness.

Somewhere Colonel John Boyd and Claude Frédéric Bastiat are smiling down on Allen West. And so am I, dear reader, so am I…


Note to Mr. Nordlinger: My edition of spell check didn’t like your last name and suggested “Mudslinger” instead. I suspect a liberal bias in this Microsoft product… ;-] It didn’t like “Reaganite” either. Wanted to replace it with “reignite”. Hmmm…makes you wonder what they’d do with Margaret Thatcher.

14 comments:

Juniper in the Desert said...

Lt Col(Rtd)Allen West is totally different to the 2 last incumbents( I include here the alien obamanation).

HE HAS GOT A BRAIN AND KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!

I love him!

Holger Awakens said...

Lt. Colonel West is indeed awesome - he has the same quality that has drawn millions to Sarah Palin - straight talk, straight truth, and conservative values.

What better start scaring the crap out of the Leftists at the moment is the number of Vets who are now running for political office in this country - the vast majority are Conservatives and believe me, the Country is going to trust one of our military vets LONG before they'll trust one of these lawyer politicians that are screwing us again and again and again.

Fortunately, these vets running for Congress haven't been wallowed in D.C. for years like a McCain or a Graham and have lost their values.

Dymphna said...

Holger A--

Sarah Palin is a good politician. She is savvy and charismatic.

Col West is intellectually deep and battle-field tested.

Some of the unfortunate lacunae in Gov Palin's education do not exist in Col West's background. For example, I wonder what economic training she's had?

Col West will eventually make a good statesman. He can gain the respect of people that Gov Palin will not be able to attract.

I like her very much, but I wouldn't vote for a national ticket that had her on it. She needs more training and experience.

Fortunately, she has enough time to get that experience so that she can build a broader base of appeal than merely populism, which is her drawing card at the moment.

I'm very interested to see what she does with her "fallow time" and who she chooses for her very necessary education.

Dymphna said...

Oh, btw, I agree with you about the Vets' phenomenon. At least two are running in our district. I don't know enough about them yet to comment, but they're running against a freshman Congressman who won by riding O's coat tails(by a big 700+ votes) and has robo-voted every single money-sucking piece of legislation proposed.

You'd think that with his razor-thin margin of victory he'd be voting from the middle but that's not the case. The only thing I can figure is that he knows he has one chance to set up the socialist system and when he's booted out it will continue on without him.

Another destructive Yale lawyer. God deliver the U.S. from Ivy League lawyers. They are a plague on the body politic.

Anonymous said...

Dymphna, I find Sarah Palin a simpleton that is doing nothing more but ramble platitudes. She is also fairly left wing related to the purpose of the government and I agree with what Lawrence Auster wrote of her. She believes that the government is there to fix things, exemplified by her help the disabilities children idea. Also, she is fairly politically correct about the things that affect her. So no, she is a horrible candidate and is the type of 'conservative' that I'd vote for so that I vote against the Democrats.

Now, military jobs aren't real jobs. It's not like the military produces something - they're jobs that we need, but they're an expense, not an asset, just like the social engineers. It's just that we don't need the latter at all. If the military is a real job, why shouldn't we all join the military? It would lead to better living standards.

Holger Awakens said...

vanilla,

What the military "produces" is freedom. What price would you put on that commodity? When you look at your personal liberties evaporating away into thin air, it's my guess that you'd break out every last Mastercard and Visa you own to buy some of that military produced freedom you apparently don't seem appreciative of at the moment.

Holger Awakens said...

Dymphna,

Thanks for your comments - I think that Sarah Palin's popularity actually stems from the CONTENT of her message - from the first day of her being sprung onto the national stage her speeches have resonated with the core values of most conservatives in this land. I, personally, got the immediate impression from her that she truly believes in those values and unlike most conservative politicians wasn't afraid to state them and feel the wrath of the Left.

As for her experience, I'm guessing that some people had the same criticism of Reagan when he ran. I'm actually a bit tired of "experienced politicians" - the only experience I'm interested in of our politicans at this point is their experience in dismantling a BEAST of a federal government.

Dymphna said...

rebelliousvanilla--

I don't know what your experience of the American military education for officers is but I can assure you it is better than the average person's. They mostly have post-graduate degrees and maintain an ongoing education.

Leading men into battle, handling the logistics of warfare, staying on top of the technology involved requires an educated intelligence.

It also requires an ability to change course instantly as the situation itself changes and to think strategically in real time. Above all it requires courage and fortitude.

If this isn't a real job, then I don't understand the meaning of the word.

Men and women who choose to make a career in the military are in constant training, upgrading their skills or developing new ones.

Dymphna said...

Holger A--

Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. She doesn't have his ability-- as yet -- to attract from the middle.

Reagan spent decades in politics and in training before he ever ran for office as governor in California. His knowledge of economics was thorough. His grip on the need for small government was good, though he didn't execute his promise in that regard while in office. He actually added a cabinet member! Sheesh.

What I've read of Gov Palin's speeches seem to be long on rhetoric but short on actual policies re shrinking the federal behemoth.

As I said, she's simply not seasoned enough. The breadth and depth of her skills and knowledge aren't sufficient currently. With enough time, that could change.

The main thing she will have against her is the MSM's anti-Sarah drumbeat. They were/are in the toilet for Obama; willing to overlook his gaffes. She will not get the same break from them, and right now the squishy middle of the electorate wouldn't be willing to commit to her.

The best thing she can do at the moment is what Ronald Reagan did for years: stump for other politicians. The focus needs to come off her and onto the conservative platform...we'll have to see if she's that generous. Reagan was.

Zenster said...

Juniper in the Desert: HE HAS GOT A BRAIN AND KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!

And that makes Colonel West more qualified to lead this country than America's entire Democratic party, which is down to firing on its last lonely collective neuron.

Holger Awakens: What better start scaring the crap out of the Leftists at the moment is the number of Vets who are now running for political office in this country - the vast majority are Conservatives and believe me, the Country is going to trust one of our military vets LONG before they'll trust one of these lawyer politicians that are screwing us again and again and again.

You have hit upon what may represent one of the only alternatives to "strong man" leadership as a solution to reversing America's deep slide into Political Correctness. Having a sufficient number of military veterans in elected office might help avoid any resort to dictatorship, even if only benevolent, or temporary suspension of the Constitution as a means of resolving the current infiltration of America by Muslims and illegal immigrants.

The alternate is a far less suitable type of "strong horse" leadership so prevalent in the MME (Muslim Middle East), and responsible for so many of its political and economic problems.

Worth repeating:

... these lawyer politicians that are screwing us again and again and again. [emphasis added]

Electing lawyers as politicians represents a conflict of interest so tremendous as to surpass all reckoning. Allowing lawyers to write and pass laws is the legal equivalent of letting heroin junkies grow their own opium poppies.

If there is one thing that should disqualify a candidate for elected office, it should be having a law degree.

Engineer-Poet said...

Blast it, RebelliousVanilla, if you were willing to come to the USA I'd marry you in a New York minute (defined as the interval between the traffic light turning green and the first horn honking to tell the car in front to MOVE, DAMMIT!).

Anonymous said...

Hogler, protection against violence of other countries isn't something that people need in the sense that if violence wouldn't exist, you wouldn't need it or get it. I'm a person who would like her country to spend more than 2.8% of GDP on military, but I don't see this as creating wealth. The military is an expense not an asset, just like the police, for example. I agree with you about the need to get rid of career politicians - so support Peter Schiff. :P Now, there is a big difference in between Reagan and Palin.

Dymphna, I didn't mean that the military doesn't create real jobs in the sense that the people that work in the military are worthless. I'm sure that it's tough since I have friends in the military, what I classify as a real job though is something that produces a good or service that people want and that brings a return. The military isn't an asset, it's an expense(one that we need). This is what I meant by saying that military jobs aren't real jobs - they don't produce anything. Also, the labour theory of value is long abolished. Now, I find Colonel West a way better person to be president than Sarah Palin. Same about Rand Paul or Peter Schiff. Heck, even Ron Paul would be better, even if his foreign policy is downright horrid on some points.

Engineer Poet, do you usually propose to teenage girls over the Internet? lol. How do they usually react? And how do you know that I don't weigh 300lbs(and no, men don't fall in love with women because of how smart they are)? So far the only person that can say that I don't is costin, to a degree. :P

Gary Rumain said...

Holger A,

What the military "produces" is freedom.

Historically, its also known to have taken it away.

EscapeVelocity said...

I like her very much, but I wouldn't vote for a national ticket that had her on it. She needs more training and experience. --- Dymphna

Shame. Id vote for her in a heartbeat over McCain or any other Scozzafava RINO, in a heartbeat....and anybody else to the Left of those chumps.

Sarah Palin knows by instinct what Barrack Hussein Obama rejects after contemplation. She is pro American, Obama is ambivalent at best about America....as just one example. Drill, Baby, Drill, versus the Green Economy Unicorn Rainbow. There is another.