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Sobering up without stepping down

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POSTED January 15, 2014 1:01 a.m.

Perhaps you thought the political world was finally safe from the dynamic duo of Rob Ford and Trey Radel. But no. Heeeere they come, rushing back into the limelight.

Ford, the explosive Toronto mayor, became a global punch line last year after a video showed hizzoner smoking crack cocaine and he ultimately admitted using the drug “probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

Then came sundry little blowups involving sexual harassment, a murder threat, knocking down a city councilwoman, and drunken rages. Yet, on January 2, Ford was back. “My record speaks for itself, “he blurted out as he filed for re-election.

Well, he’s right about that.

Even less charming is Rep. Trey Radel, a first-term Congress critter from Fort Myers, Florida. His chief accomplishment in Washington was getting arrested last October for trying to buy cocaine from an undercover cop.

Rather than humbly stepping down, or even quieting down, Trey called a December press conference to announce that he’s healed. Having completed a 28-day treatment program for addiction (though apparently not for narcissism), the former TV anchorman declared himself fit “to return to what I do, what you sent me to do in Washington.”

Presumably, that does not include scuttling around back alleys seeking illegal drugs. Radel said that, thanks to God and family, he’s a changed man.

For one thing, while he still insists that poor families should be subjected to drug tests in order to get food stamps, he has slightly amended that Dickensian stance.

“I think members of Congress should be tested as well,” he said with a straight face.

So Radel wants poor people’s food stamps automatically taken away if they’re caught using drugs. But a lawmaker who gets nabbed can keep drawing his $170,000-a-year government salary as long as he pees in a cup.

That doesn’t make Radel a total hypocrite. As Stephen Colbert points out, lawmakers don’t get food stamps from the government, just their paychecks.

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