Rep. Trey Radel’s decision to plead guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession has caused a major stir in Washington. Should it have?
Radel (R-Fla.) took a leave of absence from Congress to seek treatment at a rehab center and he apologized to his constituents for his actions. But Business Insider’s Josh Barro argues that his apology to voters was unnecessary.
“I’ll defer to Radel’s wife and son on what they’re owed, but the congressman does not owe an apology to me, to his constituents, or to the rest of the American public,” Barro writes. “Radel’s purchase of 3.5 grams of cocaine on Oct. 29 did not harm us in any way and is no skin off our backs. Drugs should be legal, and Radel should be able to purchase coke if he likes it.”
There’s one thing Radel should apologize for, says Barro. Backing a bill that would made it mandatory for food-stamp recipients to pass drug tests.
“He does owe us an apology for that — because it’s a bad policy that wastes money and degrades welfare recipients, and because drugs should be legal,” Barro wrote. “He doesn’t owe us an apology because he had a special obligation as a cocaine user to vote ‘no.’”
Others have suggested that the overheated coverage of Radel’s arrest may have been different if journalists had to disclose their own drug use.
“Any journalist who does drugs, and doesn’t believe they should be jailed for it, has a moral obligation to disclose their drug use when writing about fellow traveler who’s been screwed by the system,” Mike Riggs of Atlantic Cities told National Journal. “I think if every person who works in media/politics in D.C. and who’s voluntarily used illicit drugs in, say, the last few years stepped forward en masse the drug war would be over tomorrow.”
Business Insider’s Josh Barro discuss this and more on “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” on Fusion at 8 p.m. Friday.