The wrong guy for civility lessons

The right has somehow managed to squeeze a third day of manufactured outrage out of Jimmy Hoffa Jr’s desire to vote far-right Republicans out of office. It’s not even limited to Fox News anymore — the Washington Post, USA Today, and CNN have not only picked up on this, they’re all running the same out-of-context quote, just as conservatives demand.

But while some of this is easier to take than others, there are some Republicans who just have no business trying to claim the high ground on the public discourse.

Republican Rep. Allen West slammed the Obama administration on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday for not condemning Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa’s call for workers to wage war on the tea party and “take these son-of-a-bitches out.”

West said that Hoffa’s remarks, made at President Barack Obama’s Monday Labor Day rally in Detroit, have “no place in the political discourse of this country” and he called on the president to denounce them.

Putting aside how deeply silly this flap really is, if there’s anyone who should avoid clutching the pearls and reaching for the fainting couch, it’s right-wing extremists like Allen West.

For goodness sakes, the implication is that Hoffa, when taken out of context, was incorporating violent rhetoric into a campaign context. But as a candidate last year, Allen West had no qualms in doing exactly what he’s accused Hoffa of doing, repeatedly touching on violent themes, and at one point even telling his supporters to make his opponent “scared to come out of his house.”

Soon after getting elected, West chose a radio talk-show host to serve as his chief of staff, despite her having raised the prospect of an armed insurrection against the United States government.

And as an elected member of Congress, West, despite his new-found concern for “the political discourse,” has routinely engaged in offensive, over-the-top rhetoric. Indeed, he’s become famous for it.

Right-wing Tea Party types caused a national uproar after using some of the most heated political rhetoric the nation has heard in quite a while, and West helped lead the way. They can play this little game about Hoffa’s comments, but anyone who takes it seriously is making a mistake.