This is what prompted this wacky, crazy, and unbelievable e-mail from West:
From: Z112 West, Allen
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 04:48 PM
To: Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Cc: McCarthy, Kevin; Blyth, Jonathan; Pelosi, Nancy; Cantor, Eric
Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz
Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!
I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior......which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.
You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!
Steadfast and Loyal
Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)
Congressman West challenging Wasserman Schultz to a fight? IT'S ON! This could, in fact, however solve our debt crisis, a pay-per-view CSPAN event with Congressman West against Congressman Wasserman Schultz.
In all seriousness, West actually apparently thinks he is in the right. He is claiming that there's more than meets the eye in this feud. He also, after sending a fundraising e-mail to supporters, decided to say he apologized to Wasserman Schultz. Something the Congresswoman disputes.
Wasserman Schultz vs. West is just one of the latest stories in dust-ups between Washington types. Don't believe me, consider the Charles Sumner-Preston West feud, which is probably one of the worst moments in the history of our government. Senator Sumner was beaten to near-death on the Senate floor by Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina in 1856.
Sumner gave a speech on the Senate floor that Brooks took exception to because he felt it insulted a relative of his, Senator Andrew Butler. According to Wikipedia, the speech given by Sumner "compared Butler with Don Quixote for embracing the harlot slavery as his mistress, and mocked Butler for a physical handicap."
So, this is what happened, according to Wikipedia:
On the afternoon of May 22, Brooks confronted Sumner as he sat writing letters at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber. Brooks was accompanied by (South Carolina Representative Laurence) Keitt and Henry A. Edmundson of Virginia. Brooks said, "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine." As Sumner began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner with his thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head. Sumner was trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to strike Sumner until the latter wrenched the desk from the floor in an attempt to escape. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane, then quietly left the chamber. Several other senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt, who was brandishing a pistol and shouting "Let them be!" Keitt was censured for his actions.
I'm glad that we settle our differences now in much more civil means in the House and Senate these days.
The Sumner incident has little to do with this latest dust up between Congresspeople. It certainly gets messy sometimes in law making. Pols hold to their ideologies and to the wishes of their constituents. At the highest level, it sometimes reaches the boiling point, and that appears to be what has happened with Congressman West.
The American public cares little for what happened before. All they know is that this Member of Congress, was barely needled in a debate about an issue of importance, and he went crying to his e-mail about some poor treatment...perhaps then to generate fundraising dollars from it. Well, Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the DNC, is using the opportunity to fundraise from the incident as well.
In two years, this will probably be a story that's long gone, but it does provide some interesting blog material for a July day in the middle of a heatwave.