Zip’s man-crush amazingly still growing in strength.
WASHINGTON — Three months after unseating a Democrat in a Palm Beach-Broward district that voted for Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, emerged tonight as one of the symbolic conservative faces of the new GOP-controlled House.
Tapped by organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference to deliver the event’s keynote address, West gave thousands of cheering activists a 30-minute call for slashing federal spending, maintaining America’s military might and defending “definitive American culture” against “multiculturalism . . . on steroids.”
After Sarah Palin turned down an invitation to give the keynote address, CPAC organizers chose West as a symbol of the conservative-leaning class of 87 GOP freshmen whose victories wrested control of the House from Democrats.
West, a fiery conservative speaker with strong tea party backing and a national following on YouTube, unseated Democrat Ron Klein last fall in a district that’s divided nearly evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
West is one of only two black Republicans in the House.
“You endured the relentless and hostile attacks from the liberal left, such as being called racist,” West told the conservative activists. “Perhaps they should see who is standing here as your keynote speaker.”
West and other Republican rookies have carried outsize influence in the new Congress, pushing reluctant GOP leaders this week to endorse a $100 billion package of budget cuts.
“Fiscal conservativism is a derivative of constitutional government which understands its right and proper mandates. And that’s why next week we’re going to cut $100 billion of spending off of the federal budget,” West said.
“We cannot continue on with the record deficits we have seen in the last three years. That has to end, and the hard decisions come right now.”
West quoted from Washington, Lincoln, Sun Tzu and others in outlining what he called the three pillars of conservatism. Limited government is one pillar, he said. The second is “peace through vigilance, through resolve and through strength.”
West identified the third pillar as defending American values, acknowledging it as a “hot topic” in a conservative movement where libertarians increasingly clash with social conservatives.
“We should celebrate the diversity of the melting pot called America, but never allow multiculturalism to grow on steroids and define itself as making American culture subservient, because yes, there is a definitive American culture,” West said.
“If we are to have a new dawn in America, it means reclaiming our Judeo-Christian faith heritage,” he said. “This is not about a separation of church and state, it is about making sure that we do not separate faith from the individual. You must never forget that the American motto is ‘In God We Trust’.”
West’s undiluted conservatism in a swing congressional congressional district has led national political handicappers to list him as one of the most vulnerable House incumbents for 2012. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already spent money on anti-West radio ads and phone calls.
West acknowledged his spot on the early endangered lists, but told the cheering conservative crowd: “Standing here in front of each and every one of you, I don’t feel so vulnerable.”