Congressman Allen West believes 78-81 members of the U.S. House are communists

Speaking to a town hall meeting in Palm City, Florida, U.S. Rep. Allen West said that he believes between 78 and 81 members of the U.S. House are members of the Communist Party. He offered no proof and later said it was just something that he had heard.

If you don’t believe he could have said quite exactly that (as I could not when I first heard about it), here’s the video:

It appears that the question from the audience is “How many, or what percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or international socialists?”

Replied West: “I believe it is about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

According to other coverage of the event, West later said he was referring to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the largest Democratic caucus, which has more than 75 members and is the largest subcaucus within the larger Dem caucus in the House.

There is an ugly history of Sen. Joe McCarthy and others irresponsibly making up numbers of Communists in Congress and other elements of the U.S. government. Unless Rep. West has proof and produces a credible source for his statement, this is outrageous. West should be shunned and sanctioned until he makes a full explanation and, assuming he cannot back up the statement, retraction.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (41)

  1. Submitted by Ann Spencer on 04/11/2012 - 12:21 pm.

    Expect a doubling down,

    not an apology or retraction.

    Polls consistently show that the majority of Republicans believe that Obama is a socialist. Why should they hesitate to label members of the Progressive Caucus, most of them to the political left of Obama, as communists?

  2. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 04/11/2012 - 12:24 pm.

    Yes, I believed it

    I watched the video anyway as long as the evidence was so convenient and best to confirm before repeating, but I did believe it. That’s exactly the sort of thing that lunatic would say.

    Some Republicans are talking about him for Romney’s VP. What’s that say about them?

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 04/11/2012 - 12:29 pm.

    I agree …

    … Rep. West needs to back this up or shut up.

    Let’s sic the almighty Fourth Estate on him! That’ll straighten this mess out right away!

    [In other words, don’t hold your breath.]

  4. Submitted by Lance Groth on 04/11/2012 - 12:39 pm.

    Time for a Purge

    Rep. West ought to team up with Rep. Bachmann, who after all called for an investigation of members of Congress for anti-American views. Time to out these commies and purge them from public life!

    This is how the Republic ends. Not with a bang, nor a whimper, but with the maniacal laughter of inmates running the asylum.

  5. Submitted by Ross Williams on 04/11/2012 - 12:45 pm.

    Why does anyone care?

    “There is an ugly history of Sen. Joe McCarthy and others irresponsibly making up numbers of Communists in Congress and other elements of the U.S. government.”

    Uh – that was 60 years ago during the cold war. No one cares how many members of the Communist Party there are in Congress.

    Lets worry about the real threat. How many have attended Harvard or Yale? Because if you are concerned about a small clique taking over the country, that’s where the threat lies. Its been over 25 years since we had anyone elected President or appointed to the Supreme Court who hadn’t previously attended one of those two institutions. Congress is the last branch of government where attendance at Harvard or Yale isn’t a defacto requirement for success.

  6. Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/11/2012 - 02:05 pm.

    What passes for a cite among Republicans

    “I heard that . . . . ” “Someone told me that . . . . . ” “It’s well known that . . . . ” and a recent favorite featured in a Community Voices column right here on MinnPost: “Polls say that . . . . . ”

    Heaven forbid anyone actually insist on FACTS to back up anything they say!

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/11/2012 - 02:27 pm.

    Which decade is this guy living in?

    There re only 5 communist countries left in the world–China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.

    And who was Mitt Romney, Republican-in-chief, praising on 3/9/12 in Jackson MS?

    (quote)

    I got the chance after I lost to John McCain last time, to go over to — that was the good part of losing — I got to go to the Olympic Games in China. It’s pretty impressive over there how quickly they can build things, how productive they are as a society. You should see their airport compared to our airports, their highways, their train systems. They’re moving quickly in part because the regulators see their job as encouraging private people. It’s amazing. The head of Coca-Cola said the business environment is friendlier in China than in America. And that’s because of the regulators. That’s because of government.

    (end quote)

    Sounds like praise of one of the only Communist governments left in the world.

    • Submitted by Lance Groth on 04/11/2012 - 03:00 pm.

      Seems he neglected to mention …

      … that China shut down entire industrial regions in order to reduce air pollution enough that the Olympic athletes wouldn’t suffocate, and photos wouldn’t show smog so thick you couldn’t see across the street.

      Yeah, they’re business-friendly alright, and an absolute environmental disaster.

      OTOH, I guess the repubs wouldn’t have a problem with that. That’s what they intend for us, and what they mean by “getting government out of the way”. EPA is at the top of their hit list.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/11/2012 - 05:25 pm.

        Republicans want:* workers

        Republicans want:

        * workers at the mercy of employers
        * ineffective trade unions
        * minimize health and safety regulations and enforcement
        * no minimum wages
        * minimal environmental considerations
        * few job protection
        * freedom to fire/layoff at will

        and on and on.

        Oddly enough, that is the way employees are treated in China. Is it any wonder that a Republican would admire China?

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/11/2012 - 03:07 pm.

    Rep. Allen West

    is also Colonel West, a 20-year army veteran and battalian commander in Iraq. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal (two Oak Leaf Clusters); Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters, one Valor Device); Army Achievement Medal (one Oak Leaf Cluster); Valorous Unit Award; Air Assault Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge.

    Given his national security credentials and his high-level security clearance, the colonel probably knows a lot more about who’s in congress than you do.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/12/2012 - 07:29 am.

      Another side to Mr. West::

      While serving in Taji, Iraq, West received information from an intelligence specialist about a reported plot to ambush him and his men.[6] The alleged plot reportedly involved Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian Iraqi police officer.[6] West, who was not responsible for conducting interrogations in Iraq and had never conducted nor witnessed one, had his men detain Hamoodi.[6] In the process of detaining Mr. Hamoodi, soldiers testified that Hamoodi appeared to reach for his weapon and needed to be subdued.[6] Hamoodi was beaten by four soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion on the head and body.[10] West then fired his pistol near Hamoodi’s head,[6] after which Hamoodi provided West with names and information, which Hamoodi later described as “meaningless information induced by fear and pain.”[6] At least one of these suspects was arrested as a result, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found.[6] West said “At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It’s possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi.”[6]
      West was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. During a hearing held as part of an Article 32 investigation in November 2003, West stated, “I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers.”[10] The charges were ultimately referred to an Article 15 proceeding rather than court-martial, at which West was fined $5,000.[6]

      (From Wikipedia)

      But I see no indications in his career of ever obtaining “national security credentials and his high-level security clearance”. It’s just “crazy talk” from an unstable person or the signs of a person with so little independent rational judgement that they parrot whatever nonsense is fed into their ear.

      I bet he and Michele Bachmann would have good time holding a good ol’ 50’s witchhunt together. That is, until they need a big bridge somewhere…

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/12/2012 - 07:57 am.

      He is also a war criminal who was forced out of the Army for abusing prisoners.

    • Submitted by John Reinan on 04/12/2012 - 08:11 am.

      That’s completely beside the point

      He certainly would be expected to know more about who’s in Congress, by virtue of being a member himself. But his military background has nothing to do with it.

    • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 04/12/2012 - 09:44 am.

      I’m envisioning this award presentation: “Congratulations, here’s you Master Parachutist Badge, and here’s the file on the commies in congress we like to throw in as a special thank you. Don’t share it with non-Master Parachutists.”

      Seriously, how do you envision these things being related???

  9. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 04/11/2012 - 03:40 pm.

    full context

    West put out video showing the context, that he didn’t leave it hanging there, but did name the Progressive Caucus.

    Why he thought that would make him look better is beyond me.

  10. Submitted by Diane Nelson on 04/11/2012 - 08:27 pm.

    You can’t make this stuff up

    While our GOP pols seem to be stumbling over themselves to be next to propose a bill to force medical procedures on women, or veto equal pay laws, and now accuse Dems as commies, when we’re done laughing, or have shaken off the shock, we should pause to reflect, and thank them. They’re doing us a favor.

    This buffoonery continues to provide us free entertainment, fodder for late night comedy, plenty of embarrassment as well as resignations of disgusted Republicans, and free DFL campaign support, surely moving many from the undecided to decidedly not with them, and cause for why we should all vote straight down the Democratic ticket this November.

    Thank you GOP nut cases!!! Keep ’em coming!! Heck, bring Palin and Joe the Plumber back in the fray if you run out of bad ideas, just don’t stop now!! A few more months, please!!

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/12/2012 - 08:24 am.

      I just hope the general electorate is paying attention

      After the results of the last election nationally, I’m no longer so sure . . . . .

  11. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 04/12/2012 - 08:10 am.

    Obviously

    It was wrong of West to make accusations of Communism without proof. If he had paid attention during the debt deal last summer, he would know that the right thing to call political opponents is ‘terrorist’.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2012 - 09:35 am.

      OMG!

      The dreaded “look what your guys did” rebuttal! Rhetoricians since Gorgias have tried to formulate an adequate response, but their efforts have all been in vain.

      Seriously: What does that have to do with anything? Was calling members of Congress “terrorists” acceptable? Were Rep. West’s remarks unacceptable? Does the history of the Bolshevik-baiting trope used by Rep. West not matter? Is there some score keeping or ledger balancing?

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 04/12/2012 - 10:31 am.

        I Already Said It was Wrong

        It’s right there in the post. And my point isn’t so much that both parties do it (though that’s obviously true). It’s more that I have trouble dealing with outrage from people who aren’t outraged by the other behavior. It seems like this is along the same lines of politicians calling their opponents names and mislabeling their positions. It’s a sad fact of life.
        Of course if you want to be offended when your side does it too, well, then I might pay attention. Absent that, not so much.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2012 - 12:12 pm.

          No

          Acknowledging that something is wrong as a prelude to getting into a high dudgeon about something someone else did is not saying “it was wrong,” it’s a segue.

          Incidentally, does this mean you are not going to criticize Democrats without a corresponding criticism of Republicans?

          • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 04/12/2012 - 04:48 pm.

            Lance and RB

            Let me respond to some individual points first, and then the general thrust. I’ve been plenty willing to criticize Republicans in the past and will almost certainly do so in the future. I also think that CBS manufacturing ‘evidence’ to smear W Bush was worse than listening to Kerry’s fellow soldiers. Your mileage obviously varies.
            I’m not a fan of the red meat, bomb-throwers. Both right and left have them and find some value in stoking outrage but it’s not for me. I think the entire practice degrades the best in democratic principles. Today’s outrage has to do with a silly flak demeaning Ann Romney’s life as a stay at home mom. This has absolutely zero to do with how either Obama or Romney would lead the country.
            Tomorrow’s outrage almost certainly won’t have anything to do with it either.
            In a more ideal world, we would be focusing more on actual important issues. To my mind the growing debt and deficit problems swamp just about everything else. I’d welcome some serious discussion there but, frankly, I have trouble finding any.

            • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/13/2012 - 07:55 am.

              I, too, am worried about the debt and deficit.

              But when the “fiscally responsible” party propose keeping and expanding tax cuts for the wealthiest people, when they refuse to deal with the fact that medical costs are eating local, state and federal budgets (and yet people still need medical care), when their budgets force unwanted money on a bloated Pentagon, and any attempt to deal with those issue is closed down with with calls of fascism/socialism/communism, it is very hard to have a dialog.

              This is a democracy.

              When an elected member of a democracy (Mr. West) makes such outrageous statement about other elected members that he should be working with, and is not confronted by members of his own party, who then is working for a solution to the problems? Why lie about your fellow Congress members? It certainly does not help in working for solutions and it shows extreme disrespect for the member, the people who elected that member, and serves nothing but the cause of division and partisanship.

              Mr. West is an exemplary example of the pernicious fools that parrots every sort of nonsense that is whispered in his ear. He truly is fiddling while America and the world burns.

              • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 04/13/2012 - 10:34 am.

                Oh, Absolutely!

                The various fascism/socialism/communism labels get in the way, rather than illuminating. So do bogus, knee-jerk accusations of racism. And if anyone proposes the slightest in cuts, they are attacked as being hateful. We absolutely need to get past this if we’re going to stop this runaway train.
                That’s one of the reasons that I’m so irked by Obama’s proposed ‘Buffet Rule’. It seems clearly designed to create class warfare without any real benefit. $8 – $12 billion dollars more per year? That’s a rounding error in our budget. Obama should be held accountable and asked for some kind of real solution.
                In the same vein, we almost certainly need to prepare people to understand that the future won’t have the same guarantees as the past. We simply can’t give full and increasing medical coverage to everyone. We also need to get past the industrial era pension system. The numbers only run for so long and then they run out.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/13/2012 - 01:42 pm.

                  Once Again, You Miss the Point

                  You appear incapable of condemning bad behavior without adding that liberals are guilty of equally bad behavior. We shouldn’t carelessly use “fascism/socialism/communism labels.” Fine. I think most sensible people will agree. Why, then, do you feel compelled to add the gratuitous “bogus, knee-jerk accusations of racism . . anyone proposes the slightest in cuts, they are attacked as being hateful”? No one said anything of the kind in this thread. Are you trying to make sure you have more dudgeon points?

                  You have diminished the effect of your own criticism. All your outrage is just a platform for anti-liberal snark.

                  • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 04/13/2012 - 04:20 pm.

                    Ok

                    Let me try and satisfy you. There are various cons, I believe Rush Limbaugh is the prime culprit, who want to suggest that libs are trying to destroy the economy so they can implement some kind of sinister Plan B. I reject this utterly and think that it poisons the well. Regardless of results, I think that the major strokes of economic action from Obama and the Dems in Congress have come from good faith effort on their part.
                    Does that help?

                • Submitted by Diane Nelson on 04/13/2012 - 04:40 pm.

                  I agree

                  “We simply can’t give full and increasing medical coverage to everyone.”

                  How about basic coverage for everyone? And since we shouldn’t throw a million dollars at every symptom just because we can, how about when advance directives are encouraged for seniors (heck, all of us!) we denounce those who call them death panels? How about we talk about prevention like adults, without accusing our First Lady of trying to control our lives? How about we honestly address how women ARE treated differently in our healthcare system, and right those wrongs without attacking it as socialism? Where are the “sane” voices of conservatives when Rush makes a 3 day rant on a woman simply trying to shed light on an issue?

                  If folks from both sides of the aisle could denounce the insanity on their own side a well as the other, we could drown out the noise and actually get something done. For the good of us all,

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/16/2012 - 10:46 am.

                  Yes we can

                  Pedor says:

                  “In the same vein, we almost certainly need to prepare people to understand that the future won’t have the same guarantees as the past. We simply can’t give full and increasing medical coverage to everyon”

                  This is the Republican myth. The fact is that we are the richest nation in the world, our DGP has grew by $5 trillion between 2000 and 2008, dropped during the recession and has now resumed growth. Our GDP has grown by almost $10 trillion – TRILLION since 1990. This idea that America is broke is pure fabrication. You don’t want to start a class war? Dude, we in a class war, and the wealthy are winning. Since 1980 our GDP has grown from $3 trillion to $15 trillion while government revenue has been decreased in real dollars to the point where we’re now paying less in taxes than we did before the Great Depression. And of that $12 trillion increase, 90% of it went to the top 10% of Americans. If we created a national health care insurance plan, basically extending medicare to everyone, we would reduce costs by 20% and create an infrastructure capable of controlling growth and standardizing and improving outcome and care. If countries with a quarter our GDP can provide better health care than we do, to their entire population, we can do it.

                  Our economy is twice the size the next biggest economy in the world. We have the money to pay for our government, and the promised earned benefits. If we simply extended the limit on social security payroll tax $98,000 to $120.,000 we would fund all social security payments for the foreseeable future. When say “We” can’t afford this, you specify who “we” is.

        • Submitted by Lance Groth on 04/12/2012 - 12:32 pm.

          You go first

          I heard not one single repub repudiate the swiftboating of Kerry, a volunteer for one of the most dangerous duties in Nam and a decorated combat vet, including the silver star. That was one of the most despicable acts in modern politics, yet you guys were all fine with it.

          You’re living in a glass house, Peder. Better stop throwing rocks.

  12. Submitted by Jane Wegener on 04/12/2012 - 10:54 am.

    Allen West is correct.

    But I do not understand all the whinning about him stating the truth. This information was posted during the Obama campaign.. All you have to do is google The Democratic Socialists of America.
    In MN Keith Ellison and Mark Ritchie were listed as members. Many others including Pelosi, Barney Frank …..its quite a long list.

    Almost all of the Black Caucus are members. People should do their homework.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/12/2012 - 12:18 pm.

      Looking High and Low for them Reds Everywhere

      Check your homework.

      The Democratic Socialists of America are not the same as the Communist Party. Socialists are not necessarily communists.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/12/2012 - 01:16 pm.

      I did my homework.I googled

      I did my homework.

      I googled Democratic Socialists.

      The site that makes the link between the Progressive Caucus in Congress and the Democratic Socialists of America is entirely fabricated and false.

      It is located at http://www.tysknews.com

      There is no membership list posted for DSA as posted by DSA.

      TYSK is an opinion site for far right imaginings.

      If you and Mr. West use sites like that as proof, you truly are delusional.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 04/12/2012 - 01:27 pm.

      His claim was they are communists. Your post does not support that claim. Further, where were Ellison and Ritchie listed as members of this not communist organization?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 04/12/2012 - 01:44 pm.

      Really?

      Because I can’t find any independent verification (that is, a source that doesn’t use the word “leftist” as a curse) of that claim. Rather, those people were/are members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose website was temporarily hosted on the DSA website. Certainly some, if not all of the members of CPC work with the DSA, but it’s for common goals, not identical political ideals. Still socialist does not equal communist. One can find more than one devil in the details, but if you don’t bother to even look for them before embracing them, you’re guilty of hosting them. http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/apr/11/allen-west/allen-west-says-about-80-house-democrats-are-membe/

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/12/2012 - 02:00 pm.

      Please provide link to the DSA website/page that names the membership. The DSA site, not WND, or TYSK or Alex Jones or any other site. The DSA site that proclaims the membership of congressmen (and Mark Ritchie!?!).

      Go ahead, do it!

      I don’t think you can, because there is no list.

      The supposed congruence of DSA and the Progressive Caucus is entirely a fiction of right-wing delusion sites.

      That’s the nuttery that Mr. West based his statement on.

  13. Submitted by Jane Wegener on 04/12/2012 - 10:55 am.

    Allen West

    I also might add. The truth has no agenda.

  14. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/12/2012 - 11:11 am.

    What I heard…

    I have a document (or at least I will as soon as I print out this posting) that says that Amy Klobuchar, aka Red Amy, and Keith Ellison, aka the Iron Shiek, were John McCain’s prison guards in Hanoi. Could you get more Communist? Don’t most Republicans of Allen West’s ilk also think that Obama is a Muslim? I think you need a security clearance from Jesus to see that documentation.

  15. Submitted by CJ Camp on 04/12/2012 - 12:44 pm.

    huh

    I guess I think getting called a Socialist or Communist is at worst an observation, and at best, a compliment.

  16. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 04/12/2012 - 04:01 pm.

    Democratic Socialism

    is the terminology used to describe the governments the US, in the person of General George Marshall, helped the devastated states of Europe — including the defeated Germany — establish.

    The Marshall Plan/Democratic Socialism built the most successful economies of modern times because they were structured to support both the development of private enterprise and the social services that sustained the populations of ordinary people. Taxes were high, but they covered free higher ed and health care, among other necessities that private industry isn’t interested in providing at costs ordinary people can afford.

    Today’s Dems should be honored to be called by that name.

  17. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/15/2012 - 10:20 am.

    You’re right, Bernice

    Which of the following planks do you disagree with?

    1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes. (If you pay more than 50% of your earnings in taxes to the government, it means the government owns more of your property than you do; general resistance to privitization.)

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. (paying higher rates on top of paying more in taxes regardless of rate)

    3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (the death tax)

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. (State can confiscate your property for not paying property taxes; IRS confiscation of property without due process.)

    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state (Federal Reserve, student loans, FDIC, etc.)

    6. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State. (FCC, FAA, drivers licenses)

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (Dept of Agriculture, Interior, EPA, Bureau of Land Management, etc.)

    8. Equal liability of all to labor. (Minimum wage, Dept. of Labor, government unions, Social Security)

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country. (urban planning, mass transportation, anti-sprawl movements)

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production. (Mandated, union-run government schools)

    I’ve always said that the only difference between a communist and a democrat is that a communist has actually bothered to read the Manifesto.

    Now Bernice, let’s see you produce a similar “fasicst manifesto” that parallels the republican platform.

  18. Submitted by Randall Ryder on 04/18/2012 - 06:54 pm.

    Not Crazy

    Crazy like a fox. This is about attention and headlines which seems to be the mantra for a politicians these days. Politicians need to be held accountable for their comments. They are, after all, public employees who are supposed to be doing the business of the public and in the best interests of the public. Unless he has documentation to support his accusations, he should be censured.

Leave a Reply