Florida, usually North America's go-to source for general bizarreness and political corruption, has been watching the saga of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford unfold with a bit of a smirk on our face. Hey, at least none of our mayors smokes crack.
Then Southwest Florida Congressman Trey Radel had to ruin it all by getting charged with trying to buy cocaine from an undercover cop.
As part of an FBI investigation into a coke ring, agents discovered that Radel was one the central dealer's clients. An undercover agent arranged a coke deal with Radel, and he showed up. On October 29, FBI agents went to his apartment to arrest him, though he was never handcuffed or taken to jail.
Of course, Radel and Ford aren't exact analogues. The difference between them is like the difference between coke and crack. Radel is a former TV newsman with a helluva head of hair. Ford is the greatest character Chris Farley will never play. But at the end of the day, crack and coke are the same drug.
They both blamed their coke use on alcohol:
- "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine... Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago." -- Rob Ford's initial confirmation
- "I struggle with the disease of alcoholism, and this led to an extremely irresponsible choice." -- Trey Radel, in a statement released shortly after the incident became public
They're both embarrassed and hope to serve as examples to others as cautionary tales:
- "It is extremely embarrassing, but I don't know what to say but again I am apologizing. Again, when you're in that state... I hope none of you have ever or will ever be in that state." -- Rob Ford during a news conference after a drunken video surfaced
- "I am disappointed in myself... I know I have a problem and will do whatever is necessary to overcome it, hopefully setting an example for others struggling with this disease." -- Trey Radel in his statement
They both have unrelated scandals that involved crude lingo:
- Facing allegations he sexually harassed a female staffer, Ford claimed, "I wanted to eat her pussy... I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home."
- A media company Radel owned once registered a number of crude domain names including casadelasputas.com, mamadita.com, and chicasderio.com.
They both have some weird racial things:
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- Ford has gotten into trouble for using terms like "Oriental" and "Gino-boy."
- Radel decided to appropriate Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" as a "conservative anthem."
We'll leave the fact they're both anti-tax right-wingers out of it.
Oddly, despite the fact that Radel lives just two hours from Miami, Ford is the only one of the two who got arrested on DUI charges here once.