To the editor:
Out of all the questions and comments about Congressman's Radel's recent admission to purchasing and using a controlled substance, the most important is exactly who his connection was? This I find to be the one most needing to be answered.
Was it a trusted staffer, or some street person trolling the hallways of Congress? Would it be the latter, somehow the image would not disturb me as much, as the former. Either way, even for a person with less influence than he may had, the consequences could be disastrous.
Forget the fact, for the moment, that he was charged with a crime, or that he ran as the quintessential American boy next door while harboring the secret of an addiction; forget that he pandered to his base by promising to drug test people whose incomes barely register on the poverty scale, and forget, that rather come forth with his resignation, he decided to ride out the storm until the media's nano-second attention span turned elsewhere.
We can also forget about how he managed to taint the image of 237-year-old institution, before a year of his tenure was even up. A record if there ever was one to be had for Congress.
All this pales before the possible perils he put not only himself in, but that institution, and this country, for a habit he had only admitted to, after being caught.
Trey Radel would still be in Washington today gaining privy to this nation's secrets and vulnerabilities, building up networks, and shoring up his ability to gain access to committees that help move the direction and security of this country, if he wasn't exposed in a police sting. And, if the people of Southwest Florida let him remain their representative, he will most certainly go back to building those relationships.
Had he not been caught, whoever was his supplier would see not only the value of having him as a paying customer, but also as a potential ally in gaining entry into some of D.C.'s more exclusive circles, and perhaps secrets.
While I am not saying Mr. Radel would deliberately engaged in egregious acts, he would be a prime candidate for a blackmailer interested in using his unique position, for say, a look see into sensitive material he can retail to a third party, be it domestic or foreign.
I admit this is speculation, but addicts, and especially those with influence, are people whose pathways open themselves to this kind of behavior. Given the fact Radel's contrition comes after the fact, that he was living a lie - not only a public one, but a private one as well - makes one ponder the veracity of his public mea culpa.
Power is as addictive as any potent drug, and after the glitz, glamor and rush of D.C. - as opposed to say South Florida - anyone would be hesitant to desert the former, and would surely be motivated to try anything to stay in that circle. Where say, would he go here in the greater Lee County area to rub elbows with the country's power brokers, or have the perks - like top tier healthcare insurance - afforded to the political elite in our nation's capital?
Wether I voted for him or not, or agree with his political agenda, is moot. He is my representative as well. Tray Radel can only be viewed as broken goods. How, for instance, will he be able to write or vote on future law and order bills, when he himself was a lawbreaker, while posing as a lawmaker? His motives will always be suspect, and any media attention can sabotage any legislation by simply mentioning this incident.
His whole candidacy can also be viewed as a lie that was perpetrated on Southwest Florida. His media training taught him all the tricks, come on as the all American boy, marry a celebrity peer, and dazzle the people with the rhetoric that they wanted to hear; while prevaricating about his transparency.
Does he really still view his constituency as being so insipid that he believes they should allow him to carry the banner for this region, after a 10-minute speech and a few months of "rehab"? That I guess will be up to the people who had trusted him with their support right up to Election Day.
Let us hope they are up to making the right decision. level.