Politics at its most exalted

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said the following about a Republican colleague.

Incredulously, the gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of a plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries ... unbelievable from a member from South Florida

The Associated Press reports the emailed response from tea party freshman Rep. Allen West, R-Fla.

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. You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!

His subject line: "Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz."

Before rising to public office, West was famous as a military commander who had an Iraqi police officer beaten and mock executed during an interrogation [NYT]. Despite admitting that he knew that "the method I used was not right," he escaped with a $5,000 fine and was permitted to retire without facing the ignominy of a court-martial and discharge.

Here is an earlier email of his (quoted in the same New York Times story linked above) describing Florida, or, perhaps, something else entirely:

In an e-mail message, Colonel West described a recent motorcycle trip through affluent Palm Beach County, with its smells of ''fresh air, green grass, ocean salt air and suntan oils,'' and then back through a depressed, poor strip where the air reeked of ''garbage, smoke and alcohol.''

''Sorry for the pontification,'' he added, ''but you must understand. I lived in a sort of 'Matrix' world for 22 years and now I have been unplugged.''