Representative Allen West has come under fire over the last few days for saying that there are several dozen “members of the Communist Party” among the Democrats in Congress. More specifically, he went on to say, the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are all Communists.
I’m a big fan of Representative West, and I certainly don’t have anything in common with the liberals who are attacking him, but I have to criticize what he said on this occasion.
“Members of the Communist Party” is a very specific charge, and in this case it is not accurate.
Today the Communist Party USA is just a collection of losers with too much time on their hands, but before the collapse of the Soviet Union it was a real threat to the continued existence of our nation. The question of whether someone was a Communist Party member was an important one.
During the Cold War every member of the Communist Party was an enemy of the United States. The Party was funded and controlled by the Soviet Union, and its purpose was the violent overthrow of the Unites States Government. The Communist Party members who illegally infiltrated the US Government were not there just to promote a few leftist ideas; they were there to make war on the United States from within.
While the members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are all radically leftist in their political agenda, they are presumably not members of the modern-day Communist Party. (And Party members, for that matter, are no longer agents of a hostile foreign power.) By failing to make that very important distinction, Allen West unwittingly trivialized the issue of Communist subversion during the Cold War.
Usually it’s liberals, not conservatives, who try to make the Communist Party sound like an innocent political movement. Now Rep. West has helped liberals sow confusion on the issue.
The Congressional Progressive Caucas has, predictably, released a statement comparing Allen West to Senator Joseph McCarthy. The CPC is completely wrong in making this comparison. Senator McCarthy exposed enemy agents in the US Government. He is unfairly disparaged by the left for doing this, but McCarthy was right, there were enemy agents in our government in the 1950’s.
I hope Representative West will be more careful with his words in the future.