New York Times reporter Jennifer Steinhauer piled on the ideological labels in her Friday profile of Florida’s freshman Republican Rep. Allen West, a black conservative and Tea party activist: “Conservative Congressman’s Star Power Extends Beyond Florida District.”
Steinhauer’s profile, while not overtly hostile, contained no less than eight ideological labels to describe the “conservative” West, not including the first word of the headline, while his comments on feminism and support for Israel were labeled “incendiary.” This from a newspaper that constantly refers to the truly incendiary Al Sharpton as a “civil rights activist.” A sampling:
But the most compelling part of Representative Allen B. West of Florida is his own biography, there for all to see: an African-American Tea Party activist Republican congressman and ally of hard-right Israelis who, after his beloved career in the Army ended under a cloud, defeated the sitting Democrat in a largely white, politically polarized district here and quickly became one of the right’s most visible spokesmen.
Mr. West’s popularity among conservatives goes far beyond South Florida. He was chosen to give the keynote speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and is frequently featured on the Fox News Channel and in other conservative settings where he enjoys explaining, reiterating or unleashing any number of incendiary remarks concerning what he often calls “the other side.”
Mr. West’s political beliefs hew closely to the most conservative members of the House; he was among the 59 House Republicans who voted against a deal worked out with Democrats to finance the government through the rest of the year, arguing that the included spending cuts did not go far enough, and says he will not vote to lift the nation’s debt ceiling without more cuts.
His views on the Middle East tend to tack even more to the right of the strongest supporters of Israel. During his campaign, Mr. West posted on his Web site a statement saying: “I do not support any creation of a Palestinian state, to do so would be to create a terrorist state. There is already a state for the Arabic people residing in the region called Palestine, Jordan.”