In his short time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Allen West has built a reputation for using rhetoric that crosses the line of acceptable discourse. (Photo courtesy of Allen West.)

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

A Joseph Goebbels reference five days before Hanukkah would seem to cross the line of acceptable political discourse — particularly for a member of one of the United States’ pillars of democracy: the U.S. House of Representatives.

But then, the area beyond the line is a familiar place for U.S. Rep. Allen West, the man known as “Colonel West” to his supporters.

In his short time in the House, the freshman representative has called President Barack Obama a “low-level socialist agitator” with “Third World dictator-like arrogance” and referred to his South Florida colleague and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” and “not a lady.” He has also called Islam a “theocratic political ideology”  and said the Quran promotes terrorism. He said that fellow representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim, “the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.” He called liberal women “Code Pink” females who were “neutering American men.”

And those are just a few morsels from West’s 12 months in Congress. I could (and have) spent entire blog items detailing West’s impolitic comments.  For bloggers and reporters, West is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving.

Now, on the threshold of the holiday season, he gives us this:

“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”

Not surprisingly, there was almost immediate condemnation from groups such as the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Anti-Defamation League. The story even made the Jerusalem Post.

Democrats in the House pushed for a resolution criticizing West’s remarks. But it was defeated along mostly party lines. West’s remarks were simply too much for three Republican colleagues — Reps. Robert Dold and Timothy Johnson of Illinois and Walter Jones of North Carolina — who joined the Democratic minority.

So, unscolded and unchastened, don’t expect West to change. His political bomb-throwing has earned him a national name and made him the darling of the tea party,

And it’s been good for his war chest. In the third quarter alone, West (whose website first and foremost directs you to a fundraising appeal) collected almost $2 million in contributions.