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Congressional leaders ignore calls for Radel's resignation

'High' hypocrisy on Capitol Hill

Florida Gov Scott toughened his state’s already reactionary felon disenfranchisement law in a crassly partisan move that gutted slight reforms in that law initially approved to cripple voting power by blacks. The reforms had been demanded after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush crudely manipulated the law in 2000 to help his brother George W. Bush, steal a close election in 2000, installing ‘W’ in the White House despite his winning fewer votes nationally than his opponent Al Gore.

Jeb Bush, in another example of Drug War hypocrisy, once sought leniency for one of his daughters who had been busted for illegal acquisition of prescription drugs at the same time as he was backing a hard-line stance demanding prison sentences for first-time drug offenders, including those busted for simple possession. Bush’s daughter received rehab. That non-prison status continued even after a second bust in rehab of this Bush daughter. This second offense was for possessing crack cocaine -- a crime that sends young blacks and Hispanics in the state to prison on a fast track.

Trey Radel has said he will not resign. Following his arrest, the congressman pleaded guilty, received a sentence of one year probation. He then entered rehab, apologizing publicly to his family and constituents for his alleged “alcoholism,” which he claims had led “to an extremely irresponsible choice.”

Demands from Florida State GOP leaders’ for Radel’s resignation fall on deaf ears on Capitol Hill, where a supportive silence from GOP leaders, anxious to preserve their majority at all costs, surrounds Radel.

House Speaker John Boehner, who normally displays little tolerance for scandalous infractions by members of Congress, has been uncharacteristically conciliatory towards Radel, verbally dancing away from mentioning that R-word: resignation. In a released statement, Boehner pontificated about holding members of Congress to the “highest standards,” yet asserted that “…this is between Representative Radel, his family and his constituents.”

The best that can be said about Boehner’s duck-&-dodge-constituents-decide line is that it has some bi-partisan traction.

For example, Philadelphia-area Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who as a Democratic congressional official in 2011 demanded the resignation of fellow Democrat Anthony Weiner during Weiner’s penis exposure scandal, is also conciliatory towards Radel.

A statement from Schwartz accepted Radel’s admission of his alcohol addiction plus his getting treatment for that “disease” but contended – like Boehner – that Radel, his family and constituents must determine “whether he can continue to serve in office.”

At least Schwartz has publicly commented on Radel’s resignation. Other members of Congress, like fellow Philadelphia Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah, did not respond to requests for comment on Radel’s situation.

House Speaker Boehner, a professed anti-drug warrior, supported the 1996 law barring federally funded housing assistance to persons convicted of drug crimes.

That draconian law even applies to public housing residents simply related to drug offenders. The zero-tolerance law, signed by then Democratic President Bill Clinton, immediately produced thousands of evictions of law-abiding elderly and infirm public housing residents who did not even know that a relative was involved with drugs on or off public housing premises.



story | by Dr. Radut