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'High' hypocrisy on Capitol Hill -Congressional leaders ignore calls for Radel's resignation

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 11/28/13

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While Florida U.S. Congressman Trey Radel, recently convicted of possessing cocaine, rightly wears the label of Drug War hypocrite, limiting that designation to just that felon helps hides the long-standing stench of Drug War hypocrisy that extends from Capitol Hill to the White House and state capitals nationwide.

Yes, Tea Party backed Radel, busted recently in a federal sting operation purchasing cocaine, deserves his hypocrisy dunce cap for antics like siding this year with a Republican cabal calling for food stamp recipients to 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.

That mean-spirited initiative from Radel and his GOP confederates for pee-tests from persons impoverished enough to need government food assistance has proved a costly failure in the Sunshine State.

Republican state legislators in Florida implemented drug tests for welfare applicants, a program halted by a federal judge. During that program's brief operation Florida spent nearly $200,000 on their pound-the-poor program that flagged just 108 of 4,086 welfare applicants according to published reports. Republicans in other states have pushed for similar measures, including drug testing persons seeking unemployment benefits. Republicans usually back off their 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 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.

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That felony disenfranchisement creates an unseemly circumstance: Radel voting inside Congress while barred from even voting to elect a reptile catcher in his home state filled with dangerous alligators and snakes.

Florida Gov Scott toughened his state's already reactionary felon disenfranchisement law in a crassly partisan move that gutted slight reforms in that racially inspired law demanded after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush crassly manipulated that law in 2000 during machinations that secured the Florida presidential election for his brother George W. Bush, a slim win that put "W' into the White House.

Jeb Bush, in another example of Drug War hypocrisy, once sought leniency for one of his daughters busted for illegal acquisition of prescription drugs at the same time of his hard line stance demanding prison sentences for first-time drug offenders including simple possession. Bush's daughter received rehab. That non-prison status continued even after a bust in rehab of this Bush daughter for possessing crack cocaine.

Trey Radel has said he will not resign. Following his arrest, Radel pleaded guilty, received a sentence of one year probation and has entered rehab, apologizing to his family and constituents for his "alcoholism" that he claimed produced "an extremely irresponsible choice."

Demands from Florida State GOP leaders' for Radel's resignation fall on Capitol Hill where a supportive silence from GOP leaders surrounds Radel.

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House Speaker John Boehner, who normally displays little tolerance for scandalous infractions by members of Congress, has been seemingly conciliatory towards Radel verbally dancing away from mentioning that R-word: resignation.

Boehner, in a released statement, 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' line is that it has some bi-partisan traction.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 

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