Thursday, July 31, 2008

You Know Your Candidate is an Effective One When the National Media Sees the Need to Falsely Portray All Those Around Him

Lt. Col. Allen West is a great candidate. He speaks with honesty and clarity as his innate sincerity and devotion to the nation pour through. He’s that rare form of politician, an honest one. And that sincerity attracts Republicans and Democrats alike to him, whether or not they share his conservative views.

Eve Fairbanks is an intelligent and dedicated reporter for The New Republic. Anyone who meets her is impressed with her knowledge as well as her impeccable manners and wit. In short, she’s a pleasant person. But she was given an unpleasant job, that of covering one of the GOP’s most effective candidates for one of the nation’s oldest Democratic magazines.

The result was in some ways predictable. In other ways it was not. There was no escaping the fact that the crowds love Allen West. On a similar note, no could one fail to realize the candidate’s impressive command of world history, from which he takes practical lessons that are often overlooked (to society’s detriment) or fail to recognize his in-depth understanding of the issues, be they societal, economic or security oriented. Most left winged (or center-left) reporters would have ignored these traits. Fairbanks did not, and for that she deserves credit.

But Fairbanks, while enumerating Allen West’s good qualities, put an extremely negative spin on them that was wholly unwarranted. To accomplish this she concentrated first on West’s supporters and local party chairmen. She also span many positives about West as negative, such as her portrayal of his vast study of history as being peculiar for a military man, using almost insulting words to describe his intellectual endeavors.

It only got worse from there. And while there is much good to say about Eve Fairbanks, her column was simply unwarranted, not that The New Republic would have printed it if it had been a truly accurate and balanced portrayal.

Below is a quick response to The New Republic piece. What I take issue with is not only her portrayal of Allen’s candidacy, but also of party chairmen and even some specific supporters, including myself. Some explanation is needed for those not familiar with the column and I will provide this briefly.

Sid Dinerstein is the Chairman of the Palm Beach Republican Party. He has an impressive resume that highlights a plethora of bright accomplishments. His website contains a bio that highlights some of these and, in passing, happens to list some of his accomplishments in high school. In the TNR only the most junior and ancillary of these is singled out, with the intent of making his brilliant and unique record sound almost foolish. This was a great disservice to such an accomplished and hard working man. The one quote she used from his Broward County counterpart, Chip LaMarca, one of the best organizers the GOP has anywhere, also did not do him justice.

But even more unusual was the fact that she started the three page column not about West, but with thirteen lines dedicated to me. At issue was a recent column in which I’d written on an interview request that had come from al-Jazeera in which they asked for West’s home address and sought to pick him up and bring him to their location, the address of which they did not reveal.

Aside from the fact that I clearly stated that my main concern was that this was with regard to interns of that network, who often come from the Middle East with little known background information, Fairbanks began her column by portraying my comments as if I had written about some unknown “terrorist group” and had been oblivious to the network’s involvement. As it turns out, several other political candidates received similar bizarre requests and all had the same misgivings. One campaign reported the matter to a federal agency and they, unlike The New Republic, took the issue extremely seriously.

Lastly, and this is just a minor but funny note, in one of her more humorous moves, she worded my attendance at a West speech in such a way that most readers would understand me to be a member of a retirement community, which would be strange for a 30 year old columnist (although my wife would be right to tell you that I may sometimes act like a retiree, such as when it comes to taking care of the dishes).

Attacking everyone within the ten mile radius of a candidate only shows his effectiveness. But more importantly than all that, I simply do not believe that Ms. Fairbanks' column does justice to Allen West. It seems to have gone to great lengths to portray Allen's positive qualities as if they were negative ones.

Aside from being a powerhouse, West is one of those rarest of beings, an honest politician. This is the reason he is so well liked by Democrats and Republicans alike who hear him speak. He's an honest conservative and even those who disagree with him admire his honesty as well as the fact that he sincerely wants to do well for the nation.

His record is one of immense service and dedication and he has widespread support among those who know him best, the troops who served under him. I would have expected a more fair and accurate piece from someone with the intelligence and acumen of Ms. Fairbanks and hope that she will be more even handed in the future. That said, I extend my best wishes to her.

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