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Allen West says ‘yes,’ he would lead national tea party if asked

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Tea party favorite Allen West is ready to report to duty as the nationally recognized leader of the tea party movement.

On Friday’s broadcast of the “O’Reilly Factor,” host Bill O’Reilly invited West on to discuss the “fierce debate and war” happening inside the GOP over the tea party, and asked the former congressman from Florida if he is willing to lead the movement.

O’Reilly identified New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as representing the moderate faction at loggerheads with U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

He also pointed out that “tea party guy” Ken Cuccinelli lost his bid for governor in Virginia on Tuesday, while Christie won reelection easily in New Jersey.

The two agreed that the perception of the tea party is shaped by a hostile media.

“There is no spokesperson for the tea party, it’s fragmented by design, it’s a state run grassroots movement and there’s nobody to really fight back on the national level to get the message out that the tea party isn’t a subversive organization,” O’Reilly said.

Saying it’s a matter of leadership, West agreed that the tea party believes in decentralization, and cautioned that this can lead to fragmentation and being “easily picked off.”

“They need a strategic marketing and communications plan, but most importantly, these people should sit down at a table and come up with a platform… that talks about what they are for, not so much what they are against,” West said.

After discussing immigration reform as a looming battle between moderates and the tea party, O’Reilly asked: “Say you were approached… would you be willing to be the leader of the tea party, would that be something that interests you?”

“Well, I mean, if people come to me I will do that,” West replied with little hesitation.

Considering the tea party is made up of a lot of locally autonomous groups, with little statewide cohesion, contrary to what O’Reilly suggested, a leader of West’s caliber may be just what the movement needs to truly be effective in a failing two party system.

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Tom Tillison

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