Allen West Wins Washington Post Award: "Worst Week in Washington"

It looks like Rep. Allen West came away with two great accolades this week for his email tirade to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: The love of Stephen Colbert and the "Worst Week in Washington" award from the Washington Post.

The award from the Post comes courtesy of Chris Cillizza, who runs The Fix over at the Capitol.

"Ever typed an angry e-mail in a fit of pique but held off sending it -- just to make sure you weren't going waaaay overboard? Us too, nearly every day," Cillizza says. "Not so Allen West, the tea-party-aligned Republican congressman from Florida who, after being called out on the House floor by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, penned her a nasty-gram Tuesday."

West's rant was almost immediately turned into a fundraising ploy for him (the Dems did the same), and those who align with West seem to be in complete agreement with the congressman's statements to Wasserman Schultz.

So did the email and the ensuing attention drawn to the situation help or hurt West?

It's too early to tell, but Mother Jones found a study that answered nearly the same question.

In it, the researcher examined accounts of our elected leaders in congress and "epithets attacking either their intelligence or their sanity."

The result, they found, was that the more ideologically extreme a legislator is, they become more infamous -- which isn't the ideal scenario:

...infamy is more electorally harmful than beneficial. While infamous legislators raise more money than their lower-profile colleagues, their infamy also provides a fundraising boon to their opponents, and in House elections, infamy appears to have a direct negative effect on vote shares, at least for Republicans.

According to that study, West's outburst won't be helping him in 2012, but at least he got an award out of it.

"Allen West, for hitting 'send' when you should have hit pause, you had the Worst Week in Washington," Cillizza says. "Congrats, or something."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley