This development shouldn’t come as any surprise. The Congressional Black Caucus⎯all Democrats except for Rep. Allen West⎯comprises, for the most part, members of Congress who represent black constituencies and fight for black interests and aspirations.
Rep. West is a tea party-backed conservative who ran in a politically split district that is majority white. He happens to be an African American, and while he does not downplay his heritage, he tends to identify himself more by his ideology and military background than his race.
While the Congressional Black Caucus views the relationship of its constituents to government as a constant struggle for attention amid competing demands upon national resources, and a fight to redress institutional wrongs of the past, Rep. West has indicated that government entitlement programs perpetuate the culture of dependency into which he feels the African American community has allowed itself to fall.
His views are legitimately held, but nevertheless are a bad fit with the Black Caucus and everything it strives for. Rep. West should not feel compelled to belong to the Black Caucus simply because he is black, particularly if his ideas fail to resonate with any of the other members. The Caucus, as far as I know, has not asked him to leave, although the differences between them have become more pointed of late.
Maybe Rep. West would be doing all sides a favor by respectfully quoting the famous Groucho Marx line: “Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”