While our neighbors to the north in Toronto, Canada deal with a mayor who has admittedly smoked crack in the recent past, Floridians are facing a similar scandal.
When Drug Enforcement Agency officers received a tip from a drug dealer that one of his customers was a U.S. congressman, law enforcement quickly began setting up a sting operation. Late last month, Trey Radel (R-Fla.) purchased cocaine from the dealer as officers looked on.
From there, officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigations tailed Radel back to his apartment, at which time he was able to secure the services of a defense lawyer. He released a statement Tuesday admitting his mistake and offering an excuse common among high-profile figures caught in such a situation.
Saying he suffers from “the disease of alcoholism,” he called the purchase of illicit drugs “an extremely irresponsible choice.”
He then parroted the oft-repeated line that he needs to “get help so [he] can be a better man” for his family. Finally, he explored the “positive side” of his arrest.
“It offers me an opportunity to seek treatment and counseling,” he said. “I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease.”
Radel appeared in court Wednesday to plead guilty to one misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession. While he could have faced up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, he received one year probation for his crime.
In today’s political culture, such misdeeds are increasingly common. Whether drugs, sex, or money, accusations against elected officials are almost expected.
This young congressman rose to power in Florida, however, largely because of the support of Tea Party conservatives. While many supporters of establishment candidates are willing to tolerate the immorality or disgraceful actions of their favored politician, the Tea Party generally holds itself to more exacting standards.
Though unfair, the leftist media treats conservatives with far more scrutiny than any other group. For that reason, those affiliated with the cause are compelled to live an exemplary life and always expect to be targeted for character assassination.
Unfortunately, Radel made the conscious decision to damage his career, family, and, in a more abstract sense, the conservative movement.
–B. Christopher Agee
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