Allen West (R-FL) (pictured) came from the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party to unseat a Democratic incumbent in the US House of Representatives. He then announced that a local radio talker and key political supporter would be accompanying him to Washington as chief of staff. The resulting hailstorm led to the talker’s rapid withdrawal from consideration for the position.
According to the Palm Beach Post, West has gone completely in the other direction. Rather than bringing in a high-profile, highly-opinionated and outspoken radio host, he is opting for an experienced Washington operative. Jonathan Blyth helped manage personnel at the State Department for George W. Bush, and according to the article, shuns the spotlight.
Blyth has worked for members of Congress as well – for the very outspoken Bob Barr (R-GA). Barr said that Blythe is very capable, and if not seeking media attention, he certainly knows how to manage the media when it comes to its portrayal of the member of Congress he is working for.
Kaufman’s initial appointment got the media to work, and there was no lack of material thanks to her ample time before a microphone and ample utilization of her First Amendment rights.
Upon withdrawing from the Washington position, Kaufman said, “It has been an incredible journey watching this extraordinary American hero touch the hearts and minds of the voters here in South Florida and across the country. I am confident that he will be an excellent representative and will remain a close friend. I am proud of his decisive victory on November 2nd, but I will not be complicit in this effort to diminish his stature by attacks against me or endanger myself and others by serving as his chief. As for my plans, they remain what they have always been. I will stand up and speak my mind, with conviction and resolve. I will not stop believing that whatever you dream, you can achieve and I will not allow myself to be defined by others. I return to my program on 850 WFTL and as I have always believed, I am in God’s hands. God bless Congressman elect Allen West and God bless the United States of America.”
RBR-TVBR observation: There is room in Congress for fiery speech, but it is tempered by the routine observation of collegiate decorum. Most reps save most of their fieriest rhetoric for the campaign trail. The staff is behind the scenes and generally mute – We suspect Kaufman, who is used to speaking her mind at will, would have quickly tired of the gig.