One of the unfortunate aspects of being the director of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is that I’m so busy during the conference that I don’t have a chance to meet many of the fabulous people who attend. This year one of those people was YouTube sensation and retired Army Col. Allen West.
Amid wild applause and camera flashes, Allen West stood on the CPAC 2010 stage and said, “I thought very simply, how did I end up here on this great stage? What enabled me, a young man from inner-city Atlanta, Georgia, speaking to the greatest conference of conservatives in America? It’s very simple: the dreams of my father and American man, Herman West, Sr … and the dreams of a great American mother, Elizabeth West.”
West grew up in a military family and is the third of four generations to have served in the military. He served in the Army for over 20 years, earning several honors including the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.
In 2003, Frontpage Magazine named West “Man of the Year.” West “has been on the frontlines of the War on Terror in the heart of the Iraqi resistance. He undertook extraordinary measures to safeguard the lives of his men, to protect Americans under attack by bloodthirsty Islamist gangleaders,” the magazine said.
Frontpage Magazine honored West for obtaining information that was used to thwart planned terrorist attacks against U.S. service members in Iraq and his courage in defending his actions. No physical harm was done to the Iraqi being interrogated, but West was charged with violating Military Codes of Conduct.
During his hearing with Army colleagues, West said, “If it’s about the lives of my men and their safety, I’d go through Hell with a gasoline can.… There is not a person in this room I would not sacrifice my life for.”
West was never court-martialed and remains a hero in the eyes of most Americans who have had the pleasure to know him or hear him speak.
West is currently running for the congressional seat in Florida-22. He is a true conservative and supporter of the Tea Party movement. In an interview with the New York Times, he said, “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos. There is no violence or racism there.”
While I didn’t get to meet Allen West at CPAC, I look forward to meeting Congressman West very soon.
1. If there were a television channel that only showed one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
WEST: Spartacus, the original with Kirk Douglas
2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
WEST: The entire opening monologue given by George C Scott portraying Gen. George S Patton.
3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was “cured.” If you could give President Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid the “Clockwork Orange treatment,” what movie would you make them watch?
WEST: The Patriot
4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
WEST: I actually don’t have any pop culture souvenirs, sorry.
5. What’s your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
WEST: ESPN, especially since it is now the greatest time of the year, College Football time!
6. What books were on your summer reading list?
WEST: Unsustainable, Control Freaks, and Churchill as War Leader.
7. What was the first concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
WEST: In high school went to see Brothers Johnson and Earth, Wind, and Fire at the Omni in Atlanta. Sat in the upper deck directly in front of stage. However, my date dumped me afterwards … her loss, huh?
8. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, “This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
WEST: Standing before and addressing a packed house at CPAC in February 2010, incredible.
9. If Republicans and Democrats had theme songs for 2010 what would they be?
WEST: GOP would be Dion’s song “The Wanderer” and Democrats, Rick James, “Superfreak.”
10. What’s the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of your role in the political arena?
WEST: Connect with the people in South Florida and all across America getting them to recommit to our foundational principles and values.
11. What question do you wish reporters would ask you? What’s your answer to that question?
WEST: What drives you? The answer: my love of this country and my desire to secure the legacy and future of our constitutional republic.
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
WEST: It was a big decision for me because this is not what I expected for my life after retiring after 22 years active duty service in the U.S. Army. However, when you have a heart of serving this nation, when asked, you respond and give it your all. Therefore, when in January 2007 it was brought to me as I finished my 10-day break from Afghanistan, I prayed, talked to my family, and decided to continue to serve America in a different capacity.