File this under “do as I say, not as I do.”
Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a Tea Party-backed freshman, complained to reporters on Tuesday that the White House is trying to scare Americans in the debt ceiling fight.
“I am sick and tired of leadership that’s based on fearmongering and intimidation,” he said. “That’s not how I led my unit in the military and I don’t think that’s how you should lead a country.”
Funny story, about West’s military unit, though. The reason he no longer commands them is that he was forced out of the Army for beating a man in Iraq. After West grew suspicious that an Iraqi policeman was helping terrorists, he ordered his men to abuse the soldier before personally firing his pistol past his head to, well, fearmonger and intimidate the suspect into giving up information. The man was never linked to any attacks and West didn’t just own up to his actions, he campaigned on them.
Nonetheless, West repeatedly told reporters that the lesson he drew from his time in the military is that intimidation is wrong. He excoriated President Obama for even suggesting that Social Security checks might not go out if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
“That’s fearmongering,” he said. “That’s not leadership, that’s sad and pathetic. There is money, there is revenue thats coming into this country, and the president needs to prioritize.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.