By Chez Pazienza: Our long national nightmare is over: Republican Representative Allen West of Florida lost his re-election bid.
With 100% of the applicable precincts reporting in -- keep that in mind: 100% -- West's Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has come out on top by a total of 2,442 votes. The final tab breaks down with Murphy at 50.4% of the vote and West 49.6%; that's a stark enough difference to avoid triggering an automatic recount and prolonging the suspense. So, yeah, West is officially out of a job.
Now, if you can process everything you just read, fully appreciate its lack of ambiguity and accept it as mathematical reality -- congratulations, you're sane. The same, however, can't be said for Allen West, who's refusing to concede the election in spite of, you know, not winning. Why let a little thing like failing to get as many votes as the other guy get in the way of your victory lap, right? I for one admire his gumption, his willingness to fight on in the face of utter, irrevocable defeat; it's the kind of thing that made this country great.
Look, here's the thing: If you have no idea who Allen West is or the kind of unmitigated crazy he's been bukkakeing the American political landscape with for the past few years, then his outright refusal to give up his seat will probably surprise you. If, though, you know anything at all about West, you probably understood ahead of time that there was no way for this thing to end other than with an armed standoff. That's because Allen West is a special kind of lunatic. He's military weapons-grade insane. He's terrifyingly, dangerously unstable, without a hint of introspection or remorse and exhibiting the kind of focused, ice-cold stoicism punctuated by flashes of uncontrollable rage usually reserved for those unapologetically charmless movie villains whose sadism comes so naturally that you can tell the scriptwriters reveled in making you hate them. He's Colonel Stuart from Die Hard 2. He's a misogynist General Zod. West is an entire chapter of the DSM IV come to life. I've taken the unusual step of writing this with my online thesaurus open because I know I'm going to run out of ways to say "batshit crazy."
Since being carried into office on the wings of the Great and Ultimately Short-Lived Tea Party Uprising of 2010, Allen West has been a human landmine to either be sidestepped or poked with a long stick until it explodes harmlessly but in spectacular fashion. As I said here once before, suffice it to say that since his ascension it's become obvious that almost every time West opens his pie hole, some unabashed gem of paranoia, barbarism, incivility and generally offensive backward-ass thinking is guaranteed to come tumbling out. It was understood pretty much from the beginning that West is the archetypal right-wing bully, a patriarchal tyrant who believes that he and he alone has been given dominion over the land by the Almighty and everyone else can basically kiss his ass.
If you need a quick refresher on West's recent history, there's the time he suggested that guns may be necessary to stand against the liberal onslaught; or the time he told American military leaders to refuse the orders of President Obama; or the time he wanted to censor U.S. news outlets; or the time he said that progressive women are trying to "neuter" American men and that good Republican women who no doubt know their place should lift their "Spartan men" into battle; or the time he called Obama supporters a threat to the gene pool; or the time he accused "78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party" in Congress of being "members of the Communist Party"; or the time he fired off an almost unimaginably unhinged memo to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, railing against her for not showing him the proper respect on the House floor and insulting her as being "not a lady"; or the time it was revealed that he'd sent a letter to his wife while he was serving overseas that demanded she be his "porn star" and stated that God willed that she serve him.
And this doesn't even include the incident he was almost drummed out of the military dishonorably for: firing a gun near the head of a prisoner during an interrogation.
Are you starting to see the pattern here? Do you understand why Allen West's strident refusal to just step aside quietly is utterly predicable behavior?
Initially, West said that his determination to fight on stemmed from his belief that there were "voting irregularities" in St. Lucie County. While it's certainly possible that there were problems with both the voting and tallying, given that we're talking about Florida here and stupidity and incompetence should always be factored into the process, there's no proof whatsoever of any malfeasance or uncertainty. With that argument not really panning out -- a partial recount confirmed West's loss -- West has now taken to accusing St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker of "inconsistent behavior," making her just the latest woman to apparently reap the cruel reward of getting on Allen West's bad side.
West has nothing and he knows it. He's not some poor deluded doof sitting there saying, "So the numbers are 99.999% confirmed -- that means there's still a chance!" He's not stupid, just calculating and legitimately psychotic. West will drag this thing out as long as he can, possibly even well past the point when Patrick Murphy is actually getting used to how his ass feels in his new seat in Congress. The election is set to be certified on November 20th but that doesn't mean West can't file lawsuit after lawsuit to try to stop the inevitable or reverse the already firmly in place. And West will do it -- because he's a vindictive prick.
Take my word for it: By the time this is all over, those who stand between Allen West and what he believes is rightfully his won't need lawyers -- they'll need a hostage negotiator.