Congressional Snow Nose Radel Behind the Eight Ball

Florida Congressman Henry “Trey” Radel now joins Toronto mayor Rob Ford on the list of elected officials who used booze as a gateway drug to cocaine. Radel, for those of you who don’t watch “the news”, was busted and copped a plea to cocaine possession. Ford ironically, has yet to be criminally charged with possession, but I digress. Radel is a lesson in how American congress-folks are just so very different from the rest of us.

This clown got busted with 3.5 grams of blow. That’s an eight ball in street parlance.

If you or some ordinary person you know were to get busted with an equivalent amount, I guarantee you wouldn’t be able to plead out to a year’s probation and a $250.00 fine. And your job, if you were working? Gone, for sure.

Trey Radel doesn’t have such worries, however. He didn’t even entertain the idea of stepping down, simply saying he’s going into rehab and coming back to make laws.

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His fearless leader, House Speaker John Boehner? He says Radel’s buy and bust is a personal matter. Whatever.

What exactly does this guy have on the House boss anyway? Now here’s something worth considering. Usually, when somebody gets busted with a hard drug like cocaine, the police want to know more than a confession of possession.

Since Radel’s dealer apparently ratted him out, he couldn’t flip that way. And still, if it’s true Radel told cops he bought for a person or other people, wouldn’t it be interesting to know who? And wouldn’t he face a selling charge in some jurisdictions?

Trey Radel is a self described conservative who claims to listen to hip hop for inspiration. My guess is that would get him much sympathy from urban youth, but it does bring into focus an interesting paradox. Radel signed on to a House bill urging states to drug test food stamp recipients.

As one of our regular WWRL Morning Show callers put it, “how about they drug test members of Congress?”

And while we’re at it, who pays for Trey Radel’s rehab?

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President Obama “I’m not perfect”

So President Obama made the best of a bad situation regarding the Affordable Care Act. He’s allowing the insurance industry to extend existing health plans for a year. This applies to individual and small group markets. In doing so, the president tried to stop the bleeding that stems from being seen as not telling the truth when he said people who liked their plans could keep them.

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A CBS News tally says nearly five million people across the country are being dropped from insurance plans by the industry, not by the president. People need to be clear that these dropped plans are essentially failures, since many don’t meet basic mandates for things like maternity care, emergency room visits (quite expensive, these), and mental health treatment.

President Obama is up against a political buzzsaw here, and only part of it was of his making. The botched rollout of the government Website, combined with the perception that he went back on his word made Obamacare a four letter word in the minds of many. The other problem is this. If people have a cheap insurance plan and don’t use it, they like it. After all, it’s a small amount of money, and many people, especially younger folks, don’t worry about getting sick.

The firestorm all this has created is amazing, given that we’re only talking about 5% of all Americans in the individual market in the first place. But you know what they say about the squeaky wheel…..

I know he couldn’t do this, but I would have loved to see Barack Obama double down on this existing plan thing. What better time to say to the insurance companies that if they’re going to cancel policies (and be clear, they didn’t have to), the government would provide insurance for those affected. If the CBS tally of 4.8 million cancellations is correct, that makes a great base for a PUBLIC OPTION.

Yeah I know he can’t do it. But don’t you wish he would?

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How Many “I’s” in Politician?

 

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I’ve written before on this blog about the “me first” attitude of too many politicians. You know who I’m talking about, the ones who live in mortal fear of taking a principled position lest it makes someone angry enough to challenge them in a primary. Over the last little while, it’s been Republicans who have shut down the government rather than anger a constituency that might back an insurgent. Now, to coin a phrase, the worm has turned.

A number of House and Senate Democrats are screaming bloody murder about glitches in the Affordable Care Act Website. No real problems there. The site isn’t working as well as it should, and people have a right to be upset. Some of these elected officials, however, only pay lip service to being outraged on behalf of their constituents. Their real concern is themselves, and whether Obamacare will be their cross to bear come election time.

Don’t get me wrong. Self preservation is essential to all humanity. So is affordable healthcare, come to think of it. And so it was that 16 Democratic senators met with President Obama to warn of a “crisis of confidence” if the Website isn’t up and running, and soon. And wait, there’s more.

The promise of consumers being able to keep policies they’re comfortable with apparently hasn’t been met in many cases, and that’s led some Democrats to call for various bills to either restore canceled policies or delay the rollout deadlines for the program (or both).

I wish I could say that all involved were truly looking out for their constituents, but when I hear anonymous folks close to the situation talk about “messaging” and next year’s elections, I have to wonder if this whole thing is just about politics, and the way things work inside the Beltway. I know the GOP agenda here. That much is clear. They want to use every single glitch in the healthcare rollout to create a pathway to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and re-elect themselves at the same time.

So what’s the Democrats’ agenda?

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