Rep. Henry Radel (R., FL) pled guilty to cocaine possession today. He told the judge that “I’ve hit a bottom where I realize I need help.” This is the therapeutic mode that most politicians adopt when they’ve been caught breaking the legal or moral law. They almost never say what they should — something along the lines of “I’ve betrayed my oath to faithfully uphold the laws. I’m a disgrace and no longer deserve the office that the people of my district entrusted me with. Accordingly, I hereby resign my office and will attempt, through community service, to redeem my good name.”
No matter what you may think of our drug laws (I happen to think possession of drugs should be decriminalized), there is no question that Radel flouted the law. He offered, on the court house steps, that he hoped to emerge from this crucible “stronger,” and “continue to serve this country.” It’s all about his mental health, his recovery, his hopes. It should be about his duty to serve his constituents with honor.
Speaker Boehner issued a milquetoast statement dismissing Radel’s troubles as ”a matter for the courts, his family, and his constituency.” Not so. He should be pressured to resign his seat.