This is a pretty minor story for anyone outside of Florida’s 19th district, Congress-critter-wise. But I want to briefly touch on it because it underscores one of the inherent problems I’ve been talking about with populist movements: they inevitably end up revolving around non-believing hucksters.
Those hucksters might be media folks trying to leverage ratings like Glenn Beck, or empty suits like Sarah Palin looking to make a fast buck, or simple gravy-trainers like Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry — basically anyone not named Romney or Hunstman who threw in for the GOP nod.
Law and order populist movements vote in white-collar criminals; family-values populist movements vote in married men looking to bang their staff; anti-gay populist movement vote in kind of a surprising number of gay men pretending to be straight. It’s like clockwork, really.
Last year the good social conservatives of Florida’s 19th district voted in Trey Radel. A conservative talk radio host married to a Fox News anchor, Radel ran as a true Tea Party populist. Before he was elected to office and started voting to repeal Obamacare, shut down the government and default on the national debt, Radel was a culture warrior who bravely stood against the legalization of drugs during his campaign.
So consider me not at all shocked to see that he was just arrested for possession of cocaine.
Like I say, the story itself is pretty small potatoes, and on a site whose readership backs the legalization of drugs as much as this one I don’t expect a lot of cries of outrage here.
But I do wonder what it is about populist movements that they so consistently fall so hard for hucksters promising that they are the Christ-like embodiment of the movement itself.