Allen West Says Gingrich Hindered by Political Baggage

Elisabeth Meinecke

11/26/2011 2:04:00 PM - Elisabeth Meinecke

Rep. Allen West was a guest on Laura Ingraham's radio show Tuesday and said one of the main problems with the GOP was this idea of 'leadership by entitlement.' It was a conversation about Newt Gingrich, in which West pointed out that while the former speaker of the House may be a 'fighter,' he's one 'carrying a 200-pound rucksack' of political history. The Huffington Post had the story:

"Well, he's a fighter, but he's also a fighter that's carrying a 200-pound rucksack on his back with all the baggage trying to fight,” West said. "I think the problem with the Republican Party, Laura, and you've been around this more than I have, is that we continue to believe in leadership by entitlement. We don't come up with new faces, new visionary leaders. You look at everyone on this stage -- they've been in this game for quite some time."

At that point, West was cut off, with Ingraham noting that the new blood in the GOP had decided against making a presidential bid.

The Huffington Post emailed the congressman’s office to follow up on his Gingrich remarks. The staff sent back a link showing Army backpack usually weighs between 60 and 100 pounds.

The implication: Gingrich was carrying more baggage than the usual soldier.

Gingrich does still carry a heavy coat of Washington compromise, not the least of which was his global warming PSA with Nancy Pelosi. And West has an astute point about the party's 'leadership of entitlement' -- it's how the GOP got stuck with Bob Dole as the nominee in 1996 and John McCain in 2008. Before and between the two, there was a father-son combination. It also seems to be the way the wind is trending this time around, considering frontrunner Mitt Romney's father also ran for president. The party seems less concerned about who's the best leader and more concerned with who's turn it is.

Is that good enough for 2012?