Congressional leaders ignore calls for Radel's resignation
Florida U.S. Congressman Trey Radel, recently convicted of possessing cocaine, rightly wears the label of Drug War hypocrite. But assigning that title to just that one prominent felon helps hide the long-standing stench of Drug War hypocrisy that extends from Capitol Hill to the White House and state capitals nationwide, including members of both parties.
Yes, Tea Party-backed Radel (R-Fla.), busted recently in a federal sting operation in the act of purchasing cocaine, deserves his hypocrisy dunce cap for antics like siding this year with a Republican seeking to require food stamp recipients to first receive mandatory drug testing.
Philadelphia Democratic Congressman Bob Brady notes what many of his Capitol Hill colleagues (hypocritically) refuse to acknowledge publicly. “An elected official who calls for drug testing for poor people trying to feed their families with the support of food stamps while knowing that he is himself a drug user is an absolute violation of the public trust,” Brady stated.
The mean-spirited initiative from Radel and his GOP confederates for pee-tests from persons impoverished enough to need government food assistance has, it should be noted, proved a costly failure in the Sunshine State.
Republican state legislators in Florida implemented drug tests for welfare applicants but the program was later halted by a federal judge. During its brief period of operation, though, Florida spent nearly $200,000 on this pound-the-poor program while flagging just 108 of 4,086 welfare applicants, according to published reports. No matter. Republicans in other states have pushed for similar measures, including drug testing persons seeking unemployment benefits. Republicans usually back off such pound-the-poor drug testing when Democrats demand drug tests for legislators.
The rising outrage from top GOP officials in Florida demanding the resignation of former broadcast journalist Radel contrasts sharply to the Capitol Hill silence on ‘resign-now’ from normally tough-on-crime GOP legislators’… silence that is tantamount to their coddling a criminal.
Given Radel’s current convicted felon status, the chairman of Florida’s statewide GOP, the heads of two county GOP organizations in Radel’s Southwest Florida district plus that state’s Republican Governor Rick Scott (himself a Medicare fraudster), have called for Radel to resign his congressional seat, contending Radel’s drug conviction renders him ineffective as a legislator.
Under Florida’s reactionary voting laws, felons cannot vote. But nothing prevents them from running for office or serving in office.
That felony disenfranchisement of voters creates an unseemly circumstance: Radel votes in Congress yet he is barred from even voting to elect a reptile catcher in his home state, currently swarming with invasive pythons.