West made clear that his role as a Congressman was far less important than maintaining his family life. He returns to his wife and daughters in Florida every weekend, and he has maintained his regimen of running – and not gaining any weight! – since entering Congress. He considers running one of his hobbies, along with scuba diving and following college sports, particularly those involving his two alma maters, Tennessee and Kansas State (where he received his master’s degree).
Mr. West has not yet committed to a Presidential candidate. He appears to be waiting for the voters to determine the best person to run against Barack Obama. He feels strongly that the candidates do themselves a disservice by participating in debates hosted by unfriendly organizations like MSNBC. He believes that this is a no-win situation in which they are being set up for a fall. Hopefully, the standard bearer will wisely choose who moderates the debates against Obama, making sure that the Republican gets as even-handed a situation as possible, even with a media so heavily biased in favor of the President.
I asked Congressman West about the obvious difference in demeanor between himself and President Obama. Whereas Obama often gloats in blatant self-promotion during his speeches, you could never imagine West doing such a thing. West spoke of the difference in the background of the two men. He referred to his own military career which, combined with his modest upbringing, gave him an entirely different perspective than the President. To West it is never about himself; it is about what is right, and what is best for the country. The most stirring part of our interview occurred when I asked the Congressman what he found most surprising about his first 10 months in Washington. He replied: “The comfort that some people have with lying.” As a man of principle, and a veteran of a long military career, he is unaccustomed to and clearly uncomfortable with that behavior. In the military, if you lie it can cost lives, and it was crystal clear during his 2010 campaign that the reason West created such a stir was his habit of speaking the truth. That is very different from the Washington culture, where speaking the truth is considered a gaffe.
Allen West’s political future remains undefined. Because Democrats don’t like seeing a Black man so visibly and coherently speaking for the opposition, he has become a colossal target for the left. November 2012 will determine much for him, but he has amassed a strong campaign fund and is prepared for any challenge. You can rest assured that any national spotlight that Allen West earns is because of who he is and what he stands for, and not – like too many other politicians – because he grabs every nearby microphone.