Friday, May 23, 2008

No Minority Candidate for the GOP With a Chance of Winning? Really Politico??

According a very poor analysis offered this week by the Politico, which was highlighted by Drudge for all of about half a hour before he realized how false it was and removed it, the “GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor.”

Aside from the fact that the headline seems to imply that the GOP will have no minority members of Congress or governors after the election, with Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal mentioned much later in the column, the entire piece ignores some of the GOP’s best House candidates, including one who has 50-50 odds. That’s 50-50 now, before people tire of the naïveté, inexperience and appeasement mentality of the top of this year’s Democratic ticket and their presidential nominee becomes an albatross around the necks of the entire Democratic slate.

Governor Jindal is one of the nation’s foremost chief executives. But the leadership he exemplifies is even more abundantly found in one of the GOP’s foremost congressional candidates, Lt. Col. Allen West. And one would have to be politically oblivious to rule out his chances of winning Florida’s 22nd Congressional District.

Allen West is a true military leader. He’s also a dedicated public servant who decided to spend a year teaching high school in the district before announcing his candidacy. Most importantly, he brings vast knowledge and well thought out solutions to key issues, ranging from small business development to healthcare and pragmatic solutions to the mortgage crisis and job creation. The fact that he’s African-American just goes to show that the GOP is the party of people of all races who share in common sense.

What are Allen West’s chances of winning? At least 50-50. He’s not only extremely likeable and dynamic, but wherever he speaks he’s met with rave reviews. After he spoke at a major event in liberal Broward County, there wasn’t a Democrat in the room who didn’t think that this man got the issues of everyday people. Speaking with them afterward, it was the norm to hear them say “I’m a Democrat, but I’m going for Allen West.” To accomplish this he didn’t compromise his core conservative beliefs, he just articulated them. When he’s spoken at Republican clubs, he’s blown the audience away, with everyone saying we need communicators like him nationally and that if we had any the Republican brand would be in a far better position. I guess they mean that we need more real people who can properly express their core beliefs, something Allen West can do better than almost any Republican political leader today.

By contrast, West’s opponent, Congressman Ron Klein, is not very well received. There’s nothing wrong with him personally (in spite of his impractical views on the issues), but he comes across as a typical lawyer, and not a telegenic one at that. There are many Democrats in the district who simply don’t like him. All West needs to do to win is to match him in TV commercials. Consider that in the Republican onslaught of 2006, Clay Shaw only lost the district 51-47, with 2% going to another conservative. This year will be far better and Allen West is a far more effective communicator and candidate than was Congressman Shaw.

That the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) has failed to pay proper attention to this contest is a testament to their current lack of vision. While our chances of retaking the House this cycle are abysmal (unless, of course, Obama’s gracious enough to help us out with a few more promised face to face meetings with Chavez and Co. and Pelosi continues to display her natural level of competence with a few more trips to Syria), there are certain districts that are clearly within reach that we must win to have any reasoned hope of regaining the House at any point in the next few terms.

FL-22 is well within reach and Allen West is the type of candidate who by his very nature can be one of the most effective voices for the GOP on the national stage. The NRCC needs to spend resources there and put the Democrats on defense in some districts (thereby causing them to siphon resources away from their offense in others) instead of just playing defense themselves. And there’s no better place to do that than in FL-22 where a few TV commercials, just getting West and his message out there, are enough to make a difference.

Republicans take matters into their own hands. Those who are interested in electing more real conservatives and real people with effective voices should support this campaign. Aside from FL-22 being crucial to regaining the House at any time in the next 6-8 years, incumbents are most easily defeated their first time up for reelection. The dynamics of this race and of the candidates favor West and, when elected, he’ll be a leading voice for Republicans nationwide. His win will also help establish a stronger African-American and minority base for Republicans. He’s a viable candidate and one the party desperately needs.

JC Watts did wonders for the party in the 90s and West is even more effective. To get involved in this important campaign, one of the few that has national ramifications, go to

Allen West is not the only minority running for the GOP and I will dedicate a future column to other leading minority candidates who bring great value to the party, but West has a 50-50 shot of winning and he can do more good for the GOP than almost any other candidate can anywhere in the nation. It’s up to us to support him.

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