Trey Radel owes Big Government. Big time.
Like other tea partiers, the freshman political newcomer from Fort Myers went to Washington to keep government out of our lives and to fight government spending.
At the same time, Radel and some buddies were snorting cocaine. In his private tea parties, the question of one-lump-or-two of sugar had a whole different meaning.
On Oct. 29, the two parties collided.
Radel was busted after an undercover agent in Washington sold him what’s known as an “8 Ball,” an eighth of an ounce of cocaine, or 3.5 grams for $260.
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?
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 the Republican’s expressions of contrition in a case that highlights our political contradictions, especially when it comes to drugs.
“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?”