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TREY RADEL, ADDICTED CONGRESSMAN, AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, JOHN BOEHNER

November 27, 2013

 

TREY RADEL, ADDICTED CONGRESSMAN, AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, JOHN BOEHNER

Everyone seems to be in favor of our addicted congressman’s immediate resignation except our addicted congressman. From the Republican governor through the state and county Republican organizations, all have demanded Radel’s immediate resignation. State and local Democratic chairs agree with their Republican opponents; Radel has to go – now!

Radel apparently has a strong backer, however, in the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who has announced that he is not (!) going to send Radel’s case to the House Ethics Committee for review and possible expulsion. The Committee is dominated by Republicans, of course, but that particular committee over the years has proven to be bi-partisan in its treatment of those referred to them by the Speaker, and I will hazard a guess that if Radel’s case if ultimately referred to the Committee that, even though dominated by Republicans, he will be removed from the House. Why?

Because “he by his acts has brought disrepute to the House.” Can anyone in either party honestly say that his plea of guilty to cocaine possession did not bring disrepute to the House? His criminal act was especially a slap in the face of the House, which is already stumbling along with near single digit approval ratings by the public. The last thing the House needs is to have some juvenile and narcissistic coke snuffer knock another point or two off its already tanking reputation.

If Boehner does not refer this case to the House Ethics Committee and Radel continues to hold his seat against the wishes of everybody of all political shades in his congressional district, then the continued and highly visible political bleeding he will impose on other races could (like Mark Foley several years ago) so infect other House races that Democrats will take the House back, remove Boehner, and install Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. Is this a desirable outcome for either Speaker Boehner or his party?

The Speaker has the support of his entire party’s apparatus in the State of Florida to do the necessary, i.e., to refer Radel’s case to the House Committee on Ethics. The longer he waits, the greater the risk. What could possibly justify his delay? Public perception is important, and it is swinging against his laissez faire treatment of this situation in a state that will deliver 29 electoral votes to someone in 2016. Radel is already swinging in the wind; Boehner is more than negligent in not doing his obvious duty in bringing this sad saga to a close. If he doesn’t like his job as Speaker because of his intra-party brawl with his tea party component, he should resign and let Cantor take the job, not let Pelosi take over by default.

There is more involved here than the solitary 19th congressional district seat in Florida held by our addict. Radel has provided his 19th congressional district (and the rest of America) with the kind of publicity that could give Democrats control of both houses of Congress. Those who wish to appease our addicted congressman should consider that when they fail to see the bigger picture and refuse to call Boehner with recommendations that he refer Radel’s case to the House Ethics Committee.

It’s their call. Literally.  GERALD  E

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