Radel Cocaine Case Shows Pols’ Contradictions on Drugs, Columnist Says


U.S. Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fl.) owes Big Government gig time, says Miami Herald columnist Marc Caputo. Like other tea partiers, the freshman political newcomer went to Washington, D.C., to keep government out of our lives and to fight government spending. At the same time, Radel and some buddies were snorting cocaine. Then Radel was busted after an undercover agent sold him what's known as an “8 Ball,” an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, or 3.5 grams for $260.

Caputo asks, “So time to rail against Big Government telling a private citizen what he can do, right? Time to question the governmental costs of the drug war, eh? Maybe even wonder about equal treatment under the law? Growing police power and the Fourth Amendment?” Instead, Radel 37, just apologized and went to rehab. All the talk of less government, big spending, personal freedom and the Constitution were blown away amid his expressions of contrition in a case that highlights our political contradictions, especially when it comes to drugs, says Caputo. “A lot of Republicans say they're against big government, but they're not,” said Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist and fellow of the libertarian Cato Institute. “Most politicians are for big government,” Miron said. “The question is: Which big government are they for?” Now Radel owes that government after the federal cops appeared to cut him some significant slack.

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