‘Ronin’ West raises eyebrows

Former Rep. Allen West’s (R-Fla.) subtitle for his upcoming book is raising a few eyebrows for including an SAT-worthy word.

The cover for the tome, due to hit store shelves in the spring, was released Tuesday. Along with an attention-grabbing photo of the 52-year-old military vet posing on a motorcycle, the subtitle drew some early buzz: Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “ronin” as “a vagrant samurai without a master.” Although, for the record, it also lists the alternative definition as, “a Japanese student who has failed a college entrance examination and is studying to take it again,” (we’re going out on a limb and figuring West meant the first meaning).


One Twitter user asked, “Does Alan [sic] West have any idea what a ‘ronin’ actually was?” Another person tweeted, “I hope one day to be described as ‘an American ronin.’ “

West’s former staffer and co-collaborator on the book, Michele Hickford, told Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspaper that the peculiar word choice in the subtitle isn’t indicative of the rest of the ex-congressman’s lingo, saying, “It’s not an academic work. It’s definitely in his voice. Anyone who’s ever heard him speak in person knows how conversational he is.”

West, now a Fox News Channel contributor, lost his House reelection bid last year to Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.).

According to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words project, which tracks the most commonly used phrases by lawmakers, West tended to keep his word choice casual while in Congress. Among his most often deployed words in the Congressional Record: “patent,” “inventor” and the name of a county in Florida, “Broward.” 

The publisher writes that, in the book, West will share “the experiences that shaped him and the beliefs he would die to defend.” 

A synopsis states, “Over the course of the past few decades, Allen West has had many titles bestowed on him, among them Lt. Colonel, U.S. Representative, “Dad,” and Scourge of the Far Left.” ITK guesses West wanted “ronin” added to the mix.