112th Congress
9:45 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Election Day Cost Washington A Dog, Some Quirks And, Sadly, Allen West

The shrieks of horror and howls of grief are dying away on Capitol Hill as defeated representatives and senators accept their fates and pack for the long ride home to find real jobs.

An equal number are leaving voluntarily and as they all go, the New York Times reports wistfully today, they are draining the nation's capital of some of its quirky color -- the loud-mouths, the fight-pickers, the over- and under-dressed, the North Dakota senator with his ubiquitous  bichon frisé.

Leaving DC: Allen West and a bichon frisé.

The Times reserves an entire paragraph for departing colorful character Allen West, the Republican congressman from South Florida who just lost his recount battle and conceded to Democrat Patrick Murphy.

“It really is sort of sad,” said Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, about his soon-to-be-former colleagues and their quirks. “You get into the routine of seeing certain people all the time, and even the people who are your most contentious adversaries you have certain affection for. I mean, you can’t make up an Allen West.”

Representative West, the cantankerous congressman from Florida, will be missed, if for nothing more than his outrageous comments, which worked as reliable caulk that could fill a yawning news hole. Most notably, he liked to enumerate the number of House Democrats he believed were Communists — between 78 and 81 — but there were many more opinions over the course of his one-term career.

Some members were so outspoken they were able to out-Allen West Allen West himself. But they are reminding each other: nobody who is totally unlikeable ever gets elected to Congress.