The tea party wave has subsided a bit, but Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., continues to make his own waves in his new 18th District. At a town hall meeting in Jensen Beach on April 10, West fielded a question from an attendee who asked, "What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists?"
Snickers filled the hall, but West said, "No, that's a good question. I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party."
West walks a fine line with comments like this. They infuriate the left and make swing voters uncomfortable, and he is running in a swing seat. Florida's 18th District gave 51 percent of its 2008 vote to President Obama, though it narrowly supported George W. Bush in 2004. But West's inflammatory remarks are also the fuel for his highly successful nationwide fundraising operation, which allows him to be a competitive candidate in a moderate district.