Best Object of Political Hatred (2011)

Joyce Kaufman

For political climbers eager to win big on the national stage, the general rule is to hide the crazy — the KKK enthusiasts, the anarchists, the fringe lunatics. Allen West never got that memo. In November, before setting foot in his congressional office on Capitol Hill, he nominated Joyce Kaufman, who hosts an ultraconservative talk show on lowly WFTL-AM (850), to be his chief of staff. Within hours, all hell broke loose. Rachel Maddow unearthed a video clip of Kaufman telling a Tea Party crowd, "If ballots don't work, bullets will." An unhinged woman in New Port Richey saw the clip, got angry, and emailed a threat to Kaufman's radio station that led to a lockdown of all Broward County schools. Overnight, Kaufman and West's peculiar brand of right-wing insanity became national news. Kaufman promptly quit the chief-of-staff post and enjoyed a brief flicker of infamy before fading back into talk-radio obscurity. Turns out, Allen West is plenty crazy all on his own.

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