Today in Looney Tea Party Theories

With Rick Santorum finally out of the picture, the Romney campaign is reportedly starting its VP hunt, but there's no announcement on the immediate horizon. Recent hire Ed Gillespie will lead the search, according to Buzzfeed, and it will likely be a long process to make sure the party doesn't repeat its 2008 mistake in selecting someone ill-prepared for the national spotlight.

A freshman congressman seems unlikely to pass that muster, but Florida Representative Allen West has received a bit of buzz thanks to support from the far right wing of the Republican Party. Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, and Nikki Haley had previously touted him as a possible running mate. "He is well-spoken, he is direct, people in Florida love him, he has a huge following," Cain said in a radio interview.

It could be the start of a groundswell of support to force Romney to select a more conservative running mate than he would naturally prefer. But it won't go anywhere when West goes around making claims like this from a Tuesday town hall:

Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?

West: It's a good question. I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

West's staff followed up with The Huffington Post and stood by the claim. "The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies," spokesperson Angela Melvin said in a statement. "The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom," Melvin said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

I thought it was ridiculous when Paul Ryan yesterday alluded to a hidden collective of Democrats supporting his budget plan, but West's insight into Democrats' secret machinations makes Ryan seem downright modest. Of course this is just the latest addition in the string of insane claims from West.

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