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Chan Lowe: The West/Wasserman Schultz flap


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From a political junkie’s standpoint, we here in South Florida are treated to a deliciously abrasive congressional combination⎯adjoining districts represented by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a proud liberal and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Allen West, the tea party champion who has been touted as Republican Vice-Presidential material.

The other day, the antipathy the two harbor toward each other exploded on the floor of the House, when Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed her incredulity that Mr. West, a congressman from this senior-rich area, would pursue with such alacrity the cutting of entitlement programs upon which so many of his elderly constituents depend.

This is standard stuff in congressional debate. Mr. West’s response to Ms. Wasserman Schultz was not. In his retort, he swiftly descended to an ad hominem attack, using words like “vile,” “unprofessional,” “despicable,” “coward” and "no lady" to describe Ms. Wasserman Schultz personally.

It can only perplex observers that a retired Army colonel who served his country with valor in Iraq, who thought nothing of facing down armed fighters without flinching, and who carries a weapon for his own self-protection, can become so defensive when confronted with a verbal onslaught by a self-described Jewish mom from Plantation.

Maybe Mr. West felt that taking lip from a mouthy female was beneath the dignity of a United States Congressman, or maybe he determined that criticism of his policies amounted to insubordination in the ranks.

It’s up to Ms. Wasserman Schultz to decide whether she deserves an apology, but it would better serve the American people, the interests of the State of Florida, Mr. West’s constituents, and his own effectiveness as a politician if he restricted his comments to legitimate criticism of policies he disagrees with. He may not realize it, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s life experiences make her every bit as worthy of respect as his do him.

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Representative West was elected by his constituents to represent their interests. It is supercilious and condescending for Rep Wasserman Schultz to tell Rep West how to represent his district. Perhaps Rep West's constituents are more interested in restoring fiscal sanity in Washington than further bankrupting the country with out-of-control entitlement spending. Ms Wasserman Schultz will lead the Democratic Party on the same path of reckless spending which the voters are beginning to recognize is not sustainable, even in the short run. Wasserman Schultz thinks she can buy our votes with our own tax money. The first ad hominem attack was directed at Colonel West. It seems he knows how to defend himself.


I don't really agree with this illustration. I really think Allen West took things a bit personally and showed how unprofessional he was by writing Debbie Wasserman Schultz AND copying others. He's a junior congressman and needs to develop a tougher skin.

Wasserman Schultz really looks out for the seniors here and thankfully we have her. I feel bad for those that had no idea who they were voting for last November when they elected Allen West.


anytime wasserman opens her mouth...it's a bonus for republicans


thank you very much debbie...please keep up the great work


wasserman schultz is truly a loud vile abrassive person! she actually had somebody stand up to her bully tactics and now she wants to be the victim! sadly, she is my rep and the good people to the north of me get colonel west a man of honor to represent them!


He simply followed the formula the Republican Party has been using for years: respond to everything with attack. Discussing issues or considering the value of another's comment is unheard of. Silence and attack are very effective when you don't have a legitimate answer.


It was actually refreshing to see a Republican fight back against an attack by a Democrat. Finally, we see one stand up and take the gloves off against the insideous attack by the left. I say about time! Give them heck Mr West!


The interesting thing about this fight is that Debbie Wasserman's comments, agree with them or not, were substantive - about something the bagger was doing that she disagreed with.

This little tin-pot napoleon responded with pure vituperation - what the moronic teabaggers who post to the sentinel like to call "name calling". The nasty little tin-pot napoleon spewed a bunch of similar stuff about Obama.

The guy is an absolute nitwit, typical of an Army officer corps that would put up with the firing of a general who spoke honestly about the number of troops needed to invade Iraq for Bushie, Dickie and Dummie. An Army that then trotted out a number of generals who opened their little careerist pie-holes to suck in and spit out whatever the three dimwitted rightwad leaders dumped in there.
An Army leadership that put up with sending too few troops to Iraq with inadequate body armor and un-armored humvees. In teabagger West we see the character of that kind of military leader. He gives us the definition of Honor for our time. He's scum.


Allen West is a Bully and ultimately the coward.
His mindset is mired in battle mode where he thinks it appropriate to take out any obstacle in his path, whether that be one Congresswoman, old people, or sick children. He is a storm-trooper with no care for those that will be mowed down in his path.
His blind allegiance to the Empire he believes is in is so great that he is willing to destroy any semblance of humanity in his path without question.
The military would not have him, yet thousands of people are stuck with him as their Representative in Congress.
This Rambo attitude does not translate well to Congressional work.


For shame, Mr. Lowe! You neglected to even mention the fact that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz conveniently made her comments after Allen West had already left the chambers -- thus leaving him unable to defend himself. Furthermore, Wasserman Schultz is, in fact, a vile, unprofessional, despicable, coward, and so are you for that matter. I am sick and tired of reading your completely biased and condescending political rants. Fortunately, I am proud to say that Allen West is my representative. Obviously, I did not elect the man single-handedly, which means that not all of the Sun-Sentinel's readers share your insanely liberal ideology. And, I do take umbrage with your notion that Wasserman Schultz may deserve some kind of apology. She most certainly does not. Personally, I think the honorable Mr. West let her off easy. If anyone deserves an apology, it is the poor souls who read your blog on a regular basis.


West showed that he has no idea of the concept of debate. I'm no fan of Shultz, but West needs to learn that this is the U.S. House of Representatives, not a biker bar. Go after the issue, not the person. If you can't take the heat, get back on your bike and head home, West... YOU'RE the despicable one.


sltpppy25, WHAT attack? Turn off Fox "News" already. She was attacking his policy, not his person... unlike West, who was ready for a bar fight. Against a girl, no less.


West was hypersensitive. I didnt see anything out of the ordinary with the DWS rant. I saw a side to West that was disturbing.
Does West hate Jewsish chicks or something?


No one seems to take note that Allen West "left the House floor after speaking".

I thought we paid our representatives to work- to be present when legislation is being discussed (debated). He "hits and runs" by giving his speech, then complains when someone presents the opposing views when his back is turned.

In order for Ms. Wasserman Shultz to respond to his comments, she had to be present to hear what he had to say. Perhaps he should have given her the same consideration in stead of turning his back and walking out after saying his piece.


Nailed it again, Chad. West WAY overreacted and showed his true colors in resorting to tactics of trying to intimidate W-S as he always has and does when intellectually and reasonably 'outgunned' as he was here.


No wonder he resorted to juvenile name calling - Deb sent him back to school! LOL!!!


Agreed, West went too far. Agreed Wasserman has faced genuine adversity in her life (as have we all), although she has never served where people were shooting guns and bombs at her-so no equivalency exists there.
Having said that, this didn't begin with the current event. It began when she mis-repsresented Wests involvement with a biker group and organized a protest. She has a reputation of half-truths, lies and over-the-top attacks of Republicans-not just policy. She is a female Alan Grayson.


I am ashamed to have Allen West as my congressman. He does not have the temperament or intellect to be a useful legislator. Yet he is raising $millions from the Teabagger crowd. I'd bet less than 10% of his fundraising comes from his district.


Vice-Presidential material? Are you kidding me? Anyone who said that needs to have their head examined. This guy is an unbalanced nutjob. He shouldn't even have been elected in the first place and probably won't win re-election if the people in his district are paying attention.


One clarification: Social Security and Medicare are not 'entitlements' despite the GOP's persistent effort to characterize them as such. If I've been paying into these programs for 40 years before I retire and draw from them, they are earned.


Thank you Mr. West , Ms. Schultz is just another Anthony Weiner in heels. She has never had an original thought and only talks to the Dems talking points. When she is asked a question that is not on her lists ,whe just spouts one of the points even when it is not related. I hope the tea party and the people that they elected in the shellacking of Obama's reckless policies continue to do what they were sent there to do. REDUCE BIG GOVERNMENT !


west possesses neither
the brains nor the
gonads of a gnat

MY APOLOGIES to the Gnat Kingdom


My letter to Congressman West.

Congressman West,

Your behavior in this most recent incident with Congresswomen Wasserman-Schultz was extremely inappropriate. You do not possess the demeanor necessary to be a statesman.

As my grandmother, a registered Republican, who passed away at age 103 (two days after your unfortunate election), remarked to me in October that you came across as a rude, condescending and mean person. One of her last acts in life was to file an absentee ballot and vote against you. It is a shame that mean spirited people like you can fool people into electing you to public office. You can be assured that myself, my sisters and my father (Decorated Vietnam Veteran) and my mother will do whatever we can as lawful citizens to see to it that you are unemployed come January 2013. By the way, before you're voted out of office, could you do us constituents a favor and actually move into this district?


PS: For the record, I was able to get my point across without using the words "Vile and despicable" and also not questioning your manhood.


I am thinking that maybe it is this behavior and personality that caused him never to rise above Colonel in the Army. If he was not General material, why would he be VP material.

I am also ashamed he is my representative. I could not believe the juvenile public name-calling of a fellow congress person. He should have grown out of that behavior before he started high school.


When Wasserman Schultz went to DC in 2005, the national debt was $7.9 trillion. In 6 years, she's helped double it. Does all this debt make America better? We spend @ $500 billion/yr in interest to grow other countries economies.
In 2008, the Democrats held the Super Majority. They could have passed term limits, a Fair Tax or Flat tax, line-item veto, balanced budget amendment, ended tax loopholes, repealed bad laws, and ended 2 wars. They chose none of these. They DID pass the Dodd-Frank financial joke, named after 2 culprits of the collapse, and the ever expensive healthcare expansion, that failed to reduce any costs or medical tort reform.
America is FLAT broke. At least the GOP is aware of this and is trying to do something about it. Either Wasserman Schultz is unaware of this (this would make her an idiot) or just doesn't care. Medicare/Medicaid is close to broke, and her idea is to lie to people about it. She has totally misrepresented the GOP plan, Roadmap for America. Unlike Obamacare, she needs to read it, as well as the book, Reckless Endangerment.


Like most Tea Party candidates, West is a buffoon that can't be bothered with a civil thoughtful response, but instead resorts to loud viscious name-calling. Maybe that gives you Tea Party core idiots a thrill, but most people get turned-off by ignorant reactionary asses like West. So you TP'ers better enjoy your loud-mouth jerk's antics while you can, because come next election you can kiss him Buh-BYE.


I can't wait to see how that works out for him when he has to run against her. Honestly, have you read both speeches? I have. She made no personal attacks whatsoever-- didn't even mention him by name. But his response? Well, just read it. Honestly, this guy getting nominated for VP is the best thing that could happen to the country-- because it would all but guarantee the middle shifting AWAY from him.

----------------
Representative West was elected by his constituents to represent their interests. It is supercilious and condescending for Rep Wasserman Schultz to tell Rep West how to represent his district. Perhaps Rep West's constituents are more interested in restoring fiscal sanity in Washington than further bankrupting the country with out-of-control entitlement spending. Ms Wasserman Schultz will lead the Democratic Party on the same path of reckless spending which the voters are beginning to recognize is not sustainable, even in the short run. Wasserman Schultz thinks she can buy our votes with our own tax money. The first ad hominem attack was directed at Colonel West. It seems he knows how to defend himself.


Posted by: Dan | July 20, 2011 6:28 PM


anyone who has served on the Brrward County Commision should be looked upon with suspicion..I am in full support of Mr. West.


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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