Exclusive: Allen West reflects on his freshman term

“An incredible journey,” U.S. Rep. Allen West said of his first two years in Congress. “This is a dream come true for a kid born in the inner-city of Atlanta.”

Sitting in his Washington, D.C., office, surrounded by pictures of his family, military mementos and history-themed books, the outspoken freshman congressman spoke with a sense of awe about the status he’s achieved as Florida’s representative on Capitol Hill.

A frequent Fox News guest, West said he has been most surprised by the regard he’s been afforded on the national stage. Over the next hour, he was reflective of a journey that began just two years ago, when he was first elected to Congress.

“It’s been very humbling and very honoring,” said West, who was scheduled to sit down with Fox commentator Greta Van Susteren after this interview last week with BizPac Review.

When asked whose personality pleasantly surprised him in Washington, he said he has been most impressed with fellow Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

“He and I have really got an incredible relationship – mutual respect – and it started back with the whole fiasco with us going into Libya, the violation of the War Powers Act,” West said. “I am always looking to align myself with those who would stand on principle, and that’s exactly what he did.”

If he could change anything, West said, it would be the system of career politicians, quoting founding father George Mason in emphasizing the need for term limits in improving government: “Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.”

The retired Army lieutenant colonel said Congress should be a “merit-based” system, not the “good ole boy” system it is now. And he said America is bracing for a November election with enormous consequence for the next four years.

“When you think about it,” West said, “the president shouldn’t even run for re-election. I mean he has never said he is going to do anything different. He’s just saying he needs more time. More time for what?”

West saved his harshest criticism for the president’s foreign policy.

“When you show weakness, when you have a policy of appeasement, when you go around to countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Cairo, Egypt, and you give these speeches that, you know, you think that just by the power of your persona that people are going to like you and fall in love with you, then you see what happens.”

West said he has been amazed that more Americans are not talking about or reflecting on the attacks against sovereign U.S. territory that have occurred since this year’s 9/11 anniversary.

“I don’t think even since World War II have we seen anything like that in a week’s span,” West said. “That’s why we’ve got to have a new direction.”

About 65 percent of the population “gets it,” West said, describing the other 30 to 40 percent as rigid ideologues who won’t be persuaded. He also blames the media for their hand in perpetuating falsehoods to the public.

And regrets? There are none, the congressman said, at least when it comes to his own performance in office.

“You continue to learn every day,” said West.

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Michele Kirk

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