Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) decided to resign his service for the Florida District 19. My previous post actually recommended that Congressman Trey Radel continue his service and not resign. I based my opinion on the need for Radel working to convince his constituency for their pardon and support.
I also recommended that Republicans and his constituency be open-minded in considering his second chance, albeit in an indirect way.
On both counts we see a meltdown.
I try not to edit news and literally accept the opinions of newspaper editors and television anchors who try to decide for me what the best course of action is.
Taking on the merit of the case alone, Radel obviously screwed up. But, he was nominated by the middle class and wealthy of Fort Myers and Naples, Florida; was heavily supported by the Republican Party in general; was charioted by the Tea Parties – although it won’t admit it in unison – and he was elected to Congress.
In garnering the campaign support for Radel in the first place, it didn’t matter that he had a party drug and alcohol problem that possibly was there for more time than we care to digest, and it didn’t matter that he was a conservative talk show host.
I only needed to view one video reported by Amanda Hall of WINK NEWS, Fort Myers, Florida, to understand Radel. He had sworn to this constituency that he would serve his constituents, his country, and his family. He had promised his Republican party that he would be conservative. Yes, Radel became a congressman and got in very deep. Then, he was surrounded by power, greed, corruption, and a party drug atmosphere in Washington. What is a congressman supposed to do?
What he did do was circle himself into a real DuPont. How so? one asks. Positively, he couldn’t lie to himself about his own party drug use and alcoholism. Negatively, Radel had not thought about his exit strategy.
In Washington, when you screw up, you need an exit strategy. The United States Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH); the United States House Committee on Ethics; the middle class and wealthy constituents of Fort Myers and Naples, Florida; the Republican Party; the Republican National Committee; the Republican Party of Florida; the Florida Governor, a Republican; and even the Democratic Party were all pressuring Mr. Radel to resign.
What could have been Radel’s exit strategy? He should have kept his mouth shut. And by following this simple strategy, what could he have lost by following it?
There is no way he could have been fired from Congress in the time he had remaining to serve, which would have been one year in a two-year term office. As I understand it, the United States House Committee on Ethics, headed by Mike Conaway (R-TX), is very forgiving. He would have been investigated and reprimanded, and perhaps censured, but not expelled.
I think Mr. Radel should have hammered it out by staying to full term in office. The term would have gone by quickly. By studying the numbers, he would have soon realized that the odds for re-election would be minimal. He could have been a good servant, got back on track, and voted for his constituents according to their needs. At the same time, he could have achieved one full term in Congressional office, with a small blemish, and made his family proud of him.
He would have analyzed the Republican dismal uproar and the Tea Party dishonorable discharge. One must ask how the Republican Party is going to salvage a spent term by specially electing a replacement in time to do any good. Additionally, the extra taxpayer expense is reckoned to be at approximately $500,000.
Although Radel had fallen on his own sword, he quickly removed it and fell backwards on it. Nevertheless, the pressure was there to do so.