Former U.S. Rep. Allen West mixed his signature fiery rhetoric, sobering truths and a call for “deeds, and not words” from conservatives in an address Thursday morning on the opening day of the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
“I’ll give it to you straight — last November we did take one on the jaw,” the Florida Republican said. “But this movement and this fight is not determined by the punches that we take. We’re defined by how quickly we pull ourselves off the mat and our perseverance.”
Mr. West, elected in the tea party wave of 2010, lost one of the most closely watched — and closest — races in the country last year to Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy.
Channeling Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Mr. West said the notion of people saying what conservatism cannot do and how it must change to fit the times was “a bunch of malarkey.”
The fiery Mr. West roused the crowd when he declared that “there is nothing on this green earth that a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government.”
The retired Army lieutenant colonel said he’s a conservative because he believes there’s more to crawling through life, depending on the government for subsistence.
“I’m a conservative because I understand that real peace comes from the Marine Corps, not the Peace Corps,” said Mr. West.
He said liberty once again needs “giants” like Brig. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, who led the famous bayonet charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, conservative icon William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the first female to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“Deeds and not words will paint this country red from California coast to the rocky shores,” he said. “My fellow conservatives: The night is gone. The day is at hand. Cast off the works of darkness and put on the full armor of light.”