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Why Should Larry Craig Resign?:

OK, so he was caught soliciting sex in a public restroom. Not so good. But compare that with behavior by other Senators that is not leading to any resignations:

(1) Violating their oath to uphold the Constitution, by voting for legislation they believe to be unconstitutional, but arguing that they will let the courts sort it out.

(2) Voting to delegate massive legislative power to the executive branch, so they can claim credit for the feel-good nature of vague but popular legislation, while blaming the executive for its actual implementation.

(3) Voting for legislation that neither they nor any of their staff have read in its entirety, if at all.

(4) Providing costly earmarks in legislation to campaign contributors and local interests (in violation of Congress's constitutional duty to tax and spend only for the "general welfare").

(5) Accepting various forms of low-level graft that fly under the ethics radar, such as use of campaign donors' vacation homes and airplanes, family vacations disguised as fact-finding trips, spouses employed at inflated salaries by friendly interest groups, etc.

(6) General demagoguery, e.g., Democratic members anytime Medicare or Social Security reform comes up, and Republican members on federalizing criminal law, the War on Terror, flagburning, etc.

I could go on, and I'm not even considering Senators' support for legislation resulting in massive violations of Americans' rights (McCain-Feingold, the War on Drugs). Compared to the every day malfeasance by Senators, accepted as business as usual, I'll take a misdemeanor sex scandal any time.

bellisaurius (mail):
Bravo, sir. Bravo.

I like how you made the point of senators in particular, as one would haop they would have a more broad based view since they're not directly attached to any districts (as opposed to congressmen. Hell, even madison became a short sited jerk while in house --oops. forgot that I'm a bit of a hamiltonian there). Act as political adults, so to speak.

I wonder if it was even worse in the senses you're bringing up, in the days when senators were elected by the state. legislatures.
9.5.2007 6:21am
Infidelesto (mail) (www):
Looks like he never meant to resign in the first place...

Larry Craig never meant to resign, chose to mislead the public
9.5.2007 7:27am
Nessuno:
If I could trade what Craig did for all or any of the transgressions you mentioned, I would, but that's not reality is it?

The reality is that Craig exhibits all the normal Senatorial vices and added sexual deviancy and criminality to the mix. (A married man trolling for anonymous sex in a public bathroom of an airport is appallingly deviant behavior by almost anyone's standard.)

Mr. Bernstein, I hate to have to repeat something you should have taken to heart as a child, but two wrongs don't make a right. You can't excuse or minimize abhorrent behavior by citing other bad behavior.
9.5.2007 7:39am
wb (mail):
The point is not excusing bad behavior, but noting that compared to other vices, Craig's actions are no reasons for the Republication leadership to hound him out of office. Craig was castrated politically and then told he should take "the honorable way out." The Republicans have somesense of honor!
9.5.2007 8:15am
IB Bill (mail) (www):
I would agree trolling the bathrooms for anonymous sex is deviant behavior ... and that it sounds like he's a sex addict. The answer for him is treatment. I hope he gets it.

I don't think he should have resigned, but he did, and now he's stuck with it. Taking it back will damage his credibility further. If he really wanted to save his political career, he should have just come out as bi- and switched parties :)
9.5.2007 8:22am
PersonFromPorlock:

You can't excuse or minimize abhorrent behavior by citing other bad behavior.

I believe DB's point is that we already accept far worse from Senators and that their indignation in this case is like John Wayne Gacy's being outraged by Ted Bundy's traffic tickets.
9.5.2007 8:30am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I am quite a bit more worried about the legislative corruption that has become accepted as normal in Washington, D.C. far more than I am with the possibility of sex between consenting adults.

When the Majority Leader in the Senate is making his four sons rich and then building a bridge with federal money that greatly increases the value of one of his own properties (plus I think some more personal profiteering), I find a little potential sex on the side pretty innocuous.

Most of the Senate hasn't been as egregiously corrupt as the Majority Leader, but as David points out, there is a lot of low grade corruption going on there, and when members of Congress finally leave office, they come back as lobbyists, where they make the real money.
9.5.2007 8:41am
Sameer Parekh (mail) (www):
Larry Craig should resign because he is too stupid to speak to counsel before the police. Duh.
9.5.2007 8:46am
yorick (mail):
If Rush had not been on vacation, I think he could have turned it around for Craig. The uber conservative Rush said something that I really agree with. "Do we want to live in a country where a man can't pick up another man?" I havn't voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter, (Carter Republican) but I am personally getting sick of the Republicans attempting to dictate people's lifestyles. I wish Bush had stood up for him, but that would be the Bush I thought I knew.
9.5.2007 8:47am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I was thinking after I laid into Sen. Reid of NV for his fairly egregious graft, that it really didn't matter here if someone came up with a counter example on the Republican side of the isle, since that would just reinforce David's point.
9.5.2007 8:49am
Pete Freans (mail):
I'm surprised how indecisive this man is, given his position as a United States Senator. This case is a classic example how not to conduct yourself if you are accused of crime. Is anyone aware if he sought the advice of counsel? Giving a lengthy recorded interview with the arresting officer and eventually pleading guilty seems incomprehensible. My advice to him would have been to saying nothing, plead not guilty, and address his constituents frankly about the charges shortly thereafter. Had he vigorously and categorically denied the allegations from the beginning, his defense of an over-zealous police officer who misinterpreted his behavior would have held more weight.
9.5.2007 8:50am
Cato Renasci (mail):
While Craig's behavior is probably no worse than dozens of other Senators and Representatives, his resignation is necessary.

The only people I see who don't think Craig should resign are RINOs like Arlen Specter and Democratic partisans who hope to have Craig around to bash the Republicans with - never mind Barney Franks' boyfriend running a homosexual prostitution ring out of Franks' apartment.

My disgust with our legislators of both parties is profound. There are a few who seem honorable, but most are at best hacks, and some are venal.

Having said he intended to resign, Craig must now follow through - he would never be reelected and can only hurt his party.
9.5.2007 8:50am
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
Don't forget:

7) Having a DUI accident at 2AM, then telling the Capitol Police you can't be stopped because you're a Congressman on your way to a (nonexistent) vote.

8) Getting caught with $90,000 in bribe money in your refrigerator. (To be sure, William Jefferson is likely eventually to have to resign.)
9.5.2007 8:51am
Simon Dodd (mail) (www):
So the argument is that because most of the Senate ought to resign, this Senator shouldn't? That's like saying that if you catch one employee stealing from petty cash, you shouldn't ask for his resignation because they're all stealing office supplies.
9.5.2007 8:56am
Dave!:
(1) Sameer is right. Any *Senator* not smart enough to speak with counsel before a plea like that isn't smart enough to be a Senator.

(2) You don't make a good argument as to why Larry Craig _shouldn't_ resign, so much as why the other's _should_.
9.5.2007 8:57am
Sk (mail):
He should resign because what he did is worse than most of the things you have listed.

If you think 'general demagoguery' or 'voting to delegate massive legislative powers to the executive' (i.e. 'voting differently than I would have') are unaccepable offenses, you need to get out of the democracy business.

'Voting in ways I don't like' is an unpleasant but ultimately acceptable problem with the US Congress.

'Trolling for gay sex in the public restrooms at the airport' is not.

Is this seriously controversial, or were you just playing the contrarian?

Sk
9.5.2007 9:00am
Coaster (mail):
Great point! Democracy before party power and politics.
9.5.2007 10:11am
Teh Anonymous:
yorick: "I wish Bush had stood up for him, but that would be the Bush I thought I knew."

You must be pulling our legs. Or perhaps you haven't had your morning coffee? It's one thing for the Bush camp to, say, take advantage of Mary Cheney's being a lesbian for political gain. It's another to defend a guy who pled guilty to cruising for gay sex in public.
9.5.2007 10:12am
Justin (mail):
Sure, it doesn't matter, especially when you say completely erroneous things like "[m]st of the Senate hasn't been as egregiously corrupt as the Majority Leader."

The fact that its not true is irrelevant. It FEELS true. TRUTHINESS!
9.5.2007 10:16am
Phil Lee (mail) (www):
I don't care whether or not Senator Craig is gay or what the facts of the case against him (although they appear weak).

Any reasonably intelligent politician should realize that proclaiming "I am not gay" in ringing tones is dumb -- he should have remembered Nixon's "I am not a crook". He should have kept his yap shut and asked for a lawyer too.

Politically, the guy is finished. He'll never be trusted again to the degree he was. He'll continue to be the butt of jokes by Jay Leno and others. Now, with his off-again resignation he shows he takes decisions without sufficient for-thought and adds to the reasons he shouldn't be a senator.

His only options are about the duration of his (and our) agony. He can stay in office; the senate won't likely vote to expel him. His party will pay the price and he won't likely survive his next election.
9.5.2007 10:16am
BladeDoc (mail):
SK -- I do not speak for Mr Bernstein but for myself I wouldn't care if the entire House and Senate had naked dogpile Fridays every week covered in oil and with added concubines if they would get rid of the endemic greed, corruption, power-mongering, and general miasma of evil that permeates Washington politics at present. If someone propositions me in a bathroom I can say no; I however cannot say no to the flagrant and continued abuse of power going on in Washington. And before I get the "people get the government they deserve" or "it's a democracy, vote" response -- I would argue that when there is enough gerrymandering and incumbency protection that only 2-4 elected officials are at risk in a major election and laws are being passed to further protect incumbents, the power of the people is faint indeed.
9.5.2007 10:17am
Justin (mail):
Teh,

I think his name may have been a clue to his intentions. That or, yea, reality is the greatest parody.
9.5.2007 10:18am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
So the argument is that because most of the Senate ought to resign, this Senator shouldn't? That's like saying that if you catch one employee stealing from petty cash, you shouldn't ask for his resignation because they're all stealing office supplies.
Well, I would rather make the analogy that when everyone else is embezzling large amounts of money from the company, you shouldn't start the firings with the guy caught stealing paper clips.
He should resign because what he did is worse than most of the things you have listed.
I would respectfully disagree. He isn't accused here of misappropriating billions of dollars of taxpayer money, nor of buying his office with billions in earmarks. When we are talking tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions in public monies misspent for venal and corrupt reasons (notably to get reelected), trolling for consensual sex seems pretty innocuous.
9.5.2007 10:20am
Truth Seeker:
The whole damn senate should resign. We need to clean house.
9.5.2007 10:22am
Mike Keenan:
Should a married man caught soliciting sex in a public restroom -- where children could be entering and where the man fully intended to engage in the acts in the bathroom itself -- be a senator? Don't we have to draw the line somewhere? That is not private behavior.
9.5.2007 10:26am
indie:

The whole damn senate should resign. We need to clean house.

I don't know why anyone here expects our elected representatives to resign, as all of them were (re)elected no further back than 2002; you've got a better shot at winning the lottery. If you want to clean house, then find some honorable people to support, and support them vigorously, instead of lazily supporting your particular Red or Blue flavor party loyalist. After all, we get the government we deserve.
9.5.2007 10:30am
Ramza:

Should a married man caught soliciting sex in a public restroom — where children could be entering and where the man fully intended to engage in the acts in the bathroom itself — be a senator? Don't we have to draw the line somewhere? That is not private behavior.

That shouldn't be something where a person should be forced to resign. If he wants to resign let him. It should be a matter where the people of his own state get to vote, either for him, or for his opponent (in the general election or the primaries).

It is quite simple, at least it is for me, and I find what he did disqusting and despicable.
9.5.2007 10:37am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Sure, it doesn't matter, especially when you say completely erroneous things like "[m]st of the Senate hasn't been as egregiously corrupt as the Majority Leader."
I would challenge you to find documentation on personal and familial profiteering through legislation for all that many Senators that exceeds that that has been published about Harry Reid.

I should note in Reid's somewhat defense that he is in the minority in the Senate, not having arrived there already filthy rich. Much of the Senate doesn't pass legislation that personally benefits themselves and their families no doubt because they don't need the money.

But there are other reasons for Senators to vote the way they do...

For example, I found this article humorous: Why Liberals Are Turning on Ted Kennedy
Once upon a time, Ted Kennedy could count on his daily dose of veneration. The right wing hated the Massachusetts Democrat, but progressives honored him as a defender of old-school liberalism.

In a remarkable turnaround, liberals are now heaping scorn on the 73-year-old senator. Young audiences boo at his name, and the leftish "Daily Show" on Comedy Central makes fun of him.

The source of unhappiness is Kennedy's efforts to kill an offshore wind farm on Nantucket Sound. Cape Wind was to be the first such project in the United States and a source of pride to environmentally minded New Englanders. Polls show 84 percent of Massachusetts residents in favor. But now it appears that America's first offshore wind farm will be near Galveston, Texas.

Proposed the month before Sept. 11, 2001, Cape Wind remains in limbo. It's been frustrated at every turn by a handful of yachtsmen, Kennedy included, who don't want to see windmills from their verandas. Many millions have been spent spreading disinformation and smearing the wind farm's supporters.

"But don't you realize -- that's where I sail!" may stand as Kennedy's most self-incriminating quote.
Which is also a convenient reminder that Senators have done far worse than cruise for anonymous sex, and stayed in the Senate. Here, we have a Senator who didn't resign after killing a woman he was with but wasn't married to through his drunk driving. Of course, that is old history... (Kennedy has been in the Senate long enough to have been able to get his long serving junior Senator his honorable discharge from the Navy).
9.5.2007 10:38am
David Sucher (mail) (www):
There must be God above and he must be observing Larry Craig and his Republican friends very carefully because this unfolding drama is such a marvelous illustration of rough justice.
9.5.2007 10:38am
Ella:
By all means, Bruce, slur Senator Kerry's military service some more. While you're at it, imply that a triple amputee somehow obtained his war injuries in a less than honorable way.

Nice to see how susceptible some people still are to Rove's gutter tactics. Bet you're still looking for Senator McCain's illegitimate child, huh?
9.5.2007 10:44am
chernevik (mail):
As a constitutional matter, I don't see why he must resign. It's unseemly behavior, and -- worse -- probably reflects considerable emotional confusion and deficient impulse control. I'd analogize it to an alcoholic who refuses to seek treatment, albeit one who did abstain from driving.

Lots of Senators have had serious emotional and behavioral problems -- maybe they didn't belong in office, but maybe they used the time to recover and go on to serve well. This kind of thing does seem beneath the dignity of a Senator, but the voters can properly take care of that.

Now, as a matter of party loyalty, it's different. He probably can't win re-election and he's a distraction to the party. Keeping him on would require very careful handling or the party might justify the otherwise silly "hypocrisy" charges -- they should look the other way because he's a powerful figure?

Resignation is probably the right thing for him personally, too. The man is clearly very confused and desperate, perhaps delusional, and his first business ought to be getting himself healthy. That's probably a full-time job right now -- and the marginal cost of resignation is probably 16 months in office, 'cause he ain't winning in '08.

But I am saddened to see the rush to throw the man overboard. The possibility of talking the man through the realities of the situation and helping him find some dignified resolution has been completely ignored in the rush to get rid of him.
9.5.2007 10:44am
Gaius Marius:
Sameer Parekh and Dave! are right on as to why Larry Craig should not be a U.S. Senator.
9.5.2007 10:50am
plutosdad (mail):
At least he broke the law. In Illinois, the Republicans forced Jack Ryan to pull out of the race for governor because of a "sex scandal" : in his divorce papers it came out that he wanted his wife to go to a sex club and she didn't want to. Has to be the only sex scandal I've ever heard of where there was no sex and the two people involved were married. But the real reason the Republican leadership hated him was because he was independently wealthy and couldn't be controlled.

If Craig had come out and said "I'm gay and tried to pick up another man. so what? deal with it" it would have been out of the news already by now replaced with something juicier. But he's just gone off the deep end, it's almost pathetic and I feel sorry for him, but it's not what he did but how horribly he's handling it that makes me wonder if he can go on in public life at all.

"republicans wanting to dictate our lives" oh please, the farther left and right you go both groups want to do this. Republican leadership wants him gone only because he's become a distraction to them getting things done, not because they want to control everyone. Liberals love to "out" gay Republicans and say hateful horrible things. Plenty of democrats voted against gay marriage in the last election in every state that put it up for referendum. The extremes of both parties seem to becoming more the norm, and they're both full of hate.
9.5.2007 10:59am
bittern (mail):
D'y'all hear of denial? Craig shows what being in denial looks like. You have to understand that he actually does not believe the evidence of who he is. But the Republican Senators, too, are in denial. They think that maybe if they get Craig to resign, they won't have to pressure the corrupt pipsqueak from Alaska to resign in disgrace for public corruption. They're in denial about their general corruption and incompetence the last six years. Craig can resign or not, I don't particularly care. Let's start with the corruption, not the dirt. DB, though your number six is a hoot.
9.5.2007 11:02am
Extraneus (mail):
I don't get it. The guy says he didn't do it. He goes further to add that he's not gay and never has been gay. True or not, no one has proven that a) he's gay (as if that's a crime), or b) he did anything disgusting or despicable in the men's room. I know he copped a plea to disorderly conduct, but shouldn't the actual accusations be somehow proven before we can use it as justification for a pillorying?
9.5.2007 11:08am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
By all means, Bruce, slur Senator Kerry's military service some more. While you're at it, imply that a triple amputee somehow obtained his war injuries in a less than honorable way.
Are you denying that Sen. Kennedy didn't intervene to get Sen. Kerry his honorable discharge, or denying that Kerry didn't get that discharge around six years late under the Carter amnesty program?

And, no, I will not deny that Max Cleland got his debilitating injuries honorably. They weren't considered in combat, so no Purple Heart, but he did apparently throw himself on a live grenade, and according to a recent Myth Busters, that is usually the best way to minimize the number of people killed or injured by exploding grenades. So, yes, I consider anyone who flings himself on a live grenade heroic, regardless of why it was live in the first place. That doesn't make him a war hero, just a hero.

I will apologize though to all here for dredging up old political squabbles. This started with a swipe at Kennedy, with Kerry only peripherally involved. My mistake was bringing it up in the first place. Regardless of the merits of Kerry's and Cleland's military services, such was long before they entered the Senate, and as such have no relevance to the present discussion.
9.5.2007 11:14am
all things good:

I don't care if Craig is gay or cruises or what, and I don't think he should have to resign because of what he did. Not really my business. But if Republicans were so shocked with what Clinton did to the point where they impeached him, it seems that to defend Craig on something roughly as "immoral" would be hypocritical, particularly since he is one of their own. Not that standing on principle seems to matter all that much in national politics.

You can argue that what Clinton did and Craig did are different, but I would argue that it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.
9.5.2007 11:16am
Ken A (mail):
What you describe are transgressions of the political process. And the political process will take care of the infractors in due course.

What Craig did, and pled guilty to, was a trangression of the laws. He committed a crime. We don't like lawmakers breaking laws.

The difference is ALL the difference.
9.5.2007 11:19am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I guess I do have to ask, why does a misdemeanor plea to disorderly conduct call for resignation, but none of David's long list of political failings do? Why is this the one offense that calls for a Senatorial resignation?
9.5.2007 11:21am
sbron:
The major reason Larry Craig, and the other senators
who voted for it, should resign was the amnesty bill.
The Senate simply declared war on the American people by
telling us we are a bunch of lazy xenophobic racists
whose only salvation is unlimited immigration. Being
lectured to simultaneously by McCain, Feinstein and Bush
about our supposed intolerance was just too much.
9.5.2007 11:27am
David M. Nieporent (www):
He should resign because what he did is worse than most of the things you have listed.

[...]

Is this seriously controversial, or were you just playing the contrarian?
It's seriously controversial. Seriously, I know gay sex is icky, but does that really make it worse than stealing hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars?
9.5.2007 11:28am
glangston (mail):
Larry should keep this little guy in his pocket.

Pocket Lawyer

Two of his quotes are especially appropriate, "This is an outrage" and "my client is innocent."

A shameless plug for a friend that invented these.
9.5.2007 11:29am
Temp Guest (mail):
I second Nessuno. To draw an analogy from physics (Enrico Fermi on EM): The general level of Congressional venality is, like the electric potential of the vacuum, practically infinite. Senator Craig's misbehavior, like the charge of an electron, rises above the background to a significant and observable degree.
9.5.2007 11:32am
Adeez (mail):
He should resign NOT because he looked for gay sex in a bathroom. That shouldn't even be a crime, as most of us crazy liberals believe.

He should resign because he's a disgrace: a self-loathing hypocrite who's quick to support the anti-gay bigoted measure du jour. And he has the temerity to plea guilty and later say he didn't mean it, and now he resigns and says he doesn't mean it.

And as others before have pointed out, although it may not be common sense amongst laypeople, what Senator is dumb enough to speak to the police w/o counsel?
9.5.2007 11:41am
jack-999 (mail):
I'm so straight that a lot of folks on this discussion list would probably consider me mildly homophobic, but I'll be darned if I can understand why Craig is being crucified just because he pled guilty to a NON-VIOLENT, VICTIMLESS, MISDEMEANOR in a situation where there was a high likelihood of police entrapment involved.

I mean, sheesh, it's not like he got drunk and drowned his mistress or anything. That would surely dis-qualify somebody from being a Senator, wouldn't it? ... Oh! wait a minute ... maybe not.

On the lighter side, didn't Huey Long (or one of those colorful old-time Southern politicians) once make a famous remark to the effect that the only way he could ever get removed from office would be " ... if they find me in bed with a live boy or a dead girl." Apparently Long was a pessimist.
9.5.2007 11:46am
John Neff (mail):
What I find strange is the lack of damage control on the part of Craig. The forced resignation attempt was damage control by the party who considered Craig to be expendable. Politics is politics.

It is possible to get general agreement that Craig is dumb?
9.5.2007 12:05pm
jhp (mail):
I thought that there a federal law concerning people loosing their security clearance and Federal job if they cheated on their spouse. Somehting about it making them a security risk. If he is proven to be cheating on his wife...
9.5.2007 12:14pm
Gordo:
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today.

Or perhaps someone just finished re-reading The Republic and has decided that a squad of virtuous dictators would better rule us than the squalid representatives elected by a squalid electorate.
9.5.2007 12:15pm
Mike Keenan:

I guess I do have to ask, why does a misdemeanor plea to disorderly conduct call for resignation, but none of David's long list of political failings do? Why is this the one offense that calls for a Senatorial resignation?


Because it is the only item that indicates the individual is willing to perform sex acts in public in front of children.
9.5.2007 12:15pm
rob sama (mail) (www):
So are you implying that Senator Craig hasn't done anything on your list? I would think that EVERY senator has done EVERYTHING on that list at some point or another.

But you're correct, given a senator who does what you enumerate vs one who has a weird sex life but does none of the enumerated things, I too would choose the latter every time.
9.5.2007 12:17pm
bittern (mail):

What I find strange is the lack of damage control on the part of Craig. The forced resignation attempt was damage control by the party who considered Craig to be expendable. Politics is politics.

It is possible to get general agreement that Craig is dumb?

He actually does not believe the evidence of who he is. Without that understanding, he can't formulate an appropriate damage control strategy, John Neff. You need to look whether he has fundamental misunderstandings about the way the country works, because if he does, you'd get comparably "dumb" policies. Judgements about that will be predictably partisan.
9.5.2007 12:26pm
CJColucci:
I don't care if Craig does or doesn't resign, but it must be obvious even to him that he won't be re-elected, probably won't be renominated, and can no longer accomplish anything if he stays in office. Whether what he has done to make that the case is "worse" or "better" than what other Senators who can and will be renominated and re-elected and can and will remain effective in office have done is somewhat beside the point. When you have no hope of holding your job and can no longer do it, it is appropriate, if not, perhaps, mandatory, that you resign.
9.5.2007 12:32pm
Lloyd George:
Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

Should I stay or should I go?
9.5.2007 12:32pm
Guest101:
Adeez,
"He should resign NOT because he looked for gay sex in a bathroom. That shouldn't even be a crime, as most of us crazy liberals believe."

Speaking as a crazy liberal, I'd say that depends on what you mean by "looked for gay sex in a bathroom." If you mean that the looking took place in a bathroom for gay sex that would occur elsewhere, I'd agree with you. But I've got no problem with laws criminalizing the solicitation of sex (gay, straight, or otherwise) that would itself take place in a public bathroom, which seems to be what Craig was guilty of.
9.5.2007 12:47pm
alkali (mail):
As a Democrat, I agree that the question of whether Republican senators ought to resign over accusations of trolling for anonymous sex in public bathrooms deserves extensive public discussion.
9.5.2007 12:51pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
None of the items listed hurts the congressman's respective political party. All they are there for is to act to benefit the republican or democrat party. Their constituents don't matter and the constitution certainly doesn't matter. There's a reason why it's never been unlawful to violate the constitution. It's expected. Remember how that Bush staffer said she "took an oath to the president"? Exactly.
9.5.2007 12:55pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I don't see any absolute reason for him to resign. However, Craig will no longer be an effective Senator because he has lost his colleagues' respect. If he stays in the Senate, he won't be able to excuse himself to go to the restroom without setting off a fit of the giggles. The Daily Show will run graphics labelling him "Craig (R) Bathroom Groper." He is a liability to his party, the NRA, and every cause he's been associated with.
9.5.2007 12:59pm
john w. (mail):
Somebody wrote: " ...But I've got no problem with laws criminalizing the solicitation of sex (gay, straight, or otherwise) that would itself take place in a public bathroom, which seems to be what Craig was guilty of."


Me neither. But thanks to inept police work, there is no *proof* that he intended to do that. And besides, in comparison to Ted Kennedy, Craig is still a paragon of virtue even if he really is guilty of disorderly conduct as charged.
9.5.2007 1:00pm
Dave N (mail):
I thought that there a federal law concerning people loosing their security clearance and Federal job if they cheated on their spouse. Somehting about it making them a security risk. If he is proven to be cheating on his wife...

Are you serious? POTUS does THAT and some on this thread think it is nobody's business--and that lying to a federal grand jury about it should be overlooked as well.

Larry Craig thought he could keep this all under the radar. He couldn't. He didn't. I don't care that he trolled for gay sex. I care that he did it in a public place where children might see. He should keep his word and resign.
9.5.2007 1:02pm
Carolina:
The fact that he gave a fake resignation speech with the intent of deceiving the voters of Idaho in the hope the scandal would die down and he could retain his seat is reason enough for him to get the boot.

Further, I still believe he lied about not getting counsel before the plea. No one who is a US Senator is dumb enough to plead guilty without counsel. I think he got counsel, who told him "Plead guilty quietly and there is a good chance the media will not notice a misdemeanor plea in a different state." But he lost the gamble.
9.5.2007 1:04pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
But thanks to inept police work, there is no *proof* that he intended to do that.

True that Craig was not caught white-handed. But is that really the level of proof necessary? You wouldn't expect a policewoman to go that far.
9.5.2007 1:06pm
Kent G. Budge (mail) (www):
When so many ethical barriers have already been breached, it does not strike me as productive to mock the few that are still holding.
9.5.2007 1:17pm
DiverDan (mail):

"You can argue that what Clinton did and Craig did are different, but I would argue that it's six of one, half-dozen of the other."



There you have it, folks - to a liberal, perjury in front of a sitting Federal District Judge and lying to a Grand Jury = disorderly behavior in a public restroom. Now, can someone PLEASE explain to me why liberals consider themselves so much smarter (or is it "more enlightened") than conservatives?
9.5.2007 1:26pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
David, I think the crux of your argument is we seem to be unable to notice the high crimes while obsessing on the misdemeanors. I've heard of such things happening before.
9.5.2007 1:29pm
Floridan:
I'm really surprised at the number of commenters who seem to portray Craig as some kind of martyr -- accused of a (questionable) crime he claims he didn't commit and forced to resign by his colleagues.

Hogwash -- if Craig doesn't want to resign, he doesn't have to resign. The only way to get him out of the Seante is to expel him by a two-thirds vote, something that is extremely unlikely to happen.

If anyone can be accused of "having only yourself to blame," from beginning to end, it is Larry Craig.
9.5.2007 1:31pm
Cornellian (mail):
Voting for legislation that neither they nor any of their staff have read in its entirety, if at all.

If this were grounds for resignation would there be anyone left in the Senate? Are they all even capable not just of reading it but also comprehending it?
9.5.2007 1:32pm
all things good:
There you have it, folks - to a liberal, perjury in front of a sitting Federal District Judge and lying to a Grand Jury = disorderly behavior in a public restroom. Now, can someone PLEASE explain to me why liberals consider themselves so much smarter (or is it "more enlightened") than conservatives?

DiverDan: I am not a liberal and do not speak for them; I was just providing my personal point of view, not representing any group.
9.5.2007 1:32pm
Darth Scalia:
The "So he solicited sex" line is hilarious, if for no other reason than it is an unintended satire of your excusing of his behavior thus far. Bravo for continuing to provide entertainment while also appearing as someone's mindless shill.

Aside from the obvious absurdity of the "Well others are worse" bit, there is the fact that it actually continues to advance the behavior that it supposedly opposes. Senator A commits act Q which is not as bad as Senator B who commits act R, so he stays. This continues on, as it allows EVERY Senator to remain because you can always find ANOTHER Senator who is "worse". I hope that I don't have to explain how incredibly useful this is in partisan matters.

If you truly care about the moral and ethical composition of the Senate (and likewise other branches of government) than you judge each individual and their actions according to the honest and consistent standard that is applied evenly to all, while being independent of others.

Don't pretend like you care about the problem when in fact all you're doing is making it worse.
9.5.2007 1:48pm
Waldo (mail):
What Craig did should be criminalized as a violation of privacy. Despite the name "public restroom," people have an expectation of privacy, not to mention that airport restrooms are also used by children. That's why there are stalls and why restrooms are segregated by gender. In short, Craig should be treated the same as a heterosexual man who tries to pick up a woman in the women's restroom.

As to whether he should resign, there's no constitutional reason why he should. More egregious actions by Senators have been noted above, and there is an election in 2008. But that also gives the Republican leadership some very good political reasons for throwing Craig over the side.
9.5.2007 1:53pm
JNS405:
I think he should not be made to resign. If the people of Idaho want him out, they can vote him out in the next election. Let his constituents choose what happens to him.
9.5.2007 2:03pm
JEC7576:
Repeal the 17th Amendment
9.5.2007 2:04pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Dave!:

(1) Sameer is right. Any *Senator* not smart enough to speak with counsel before a plea like that isn't smart enough to be a Senator.

John Neff:

It is possible to get general agreement that Craig is dumb?

Why do so many commenters assume intelligence, even average intelligence, is necessary in a Senator? Surely the general conduct of the Senate argues otherwise? Glibness and an inability to feel shame seems to be enough.
9.5.2007 2:09pm
nedu (mail):
While I don't suggest that elected members of the legislative branch are subject to Executive Order 10450 (as amended), nevertheless I think it's instructive to compare:

Sec. 8. (a) [...] information as to whether the employment or retention in employment in the Federal service [...]

(1) Depending on the relation of the Government employment to the national security:

(i) Any behavior, activities, or associations which tend to show that the individual is not reliable or trustworthy.
(ii) Any deliberate misrepresentations, falsifications, or omissions of material facts.
(iii) Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, sexual perversion.
(iv) Any illness, including any mental condition, of a nature which in the opinion of competent medical authority may cause significant defect in the judgment or reliability of the employee, with due regard to the transient or continuing effect of the illness and the medical findings in such case.
(v) Any facts which furnish reason to believe that the individual may be subjected to coercion, influence, or pressure which may cause him to act contrary to the best interests of the national security.


(Emphasis added.)

If Senator Craig had been recruited by, say, someone like Anthony Blunt, then he would not be permitted to resign.
9.5.2007 2:14pm
Smokey:
I refer folks to nedu above, specifically Sec. 8 (a)(1). While doing so, keep DiFi in mind.
9.5.2007 2:21pm
Sarah (mail) (www):
I'll admit that there are Senators who have done worse things than solicit anonymous sexual encounters in a public restroom. I'll admit that there are a great many government officials, including those in the Senate, who'd do their country a great service by resigning. I'll even admit that on the great scale of all possible crimes, tapping a foot in a restroom doesn't rank that high.

But Senator Craig is making a complete fool of himself. Political parties in general, and party caucuses in the Senate/House in particular, are supposed to allow their members to pool their strengths and gain support from people they wouldn't be able to get support from without the party -- this is what makes a Joe Lieberman (who for a while, and maybe even now, was arguably more popular with people outside his party than inside it) dangerous to a party. But you can't ask a guy who's legitimately popular to resign (even just from your party,) because, well, duh.

But what do you do with the guy who's proven himself completely incompetent in a PR crisis, whose only popularity is with late-night comedians (and that's because he's funny enough that they don't have to make up Top Ten lists about the frustrations of shopping or going to a national park or whatever,) who insists upon continuing a media circus that only reminds everyone of all the bizarre scandals your party has been getting up to lately, who is annoying the heck out of that portion of your political alliance which mostly cares about "family values" in general and principles of chastity and marital fidelity in particular? Again, duh.

Craig can, from a constitutional standpoint, do whatever he wants as far as resigning or not is concerned. I doubt that the Senate Ethics Committee can actually do much to him, either (Craig has finally let some lawyers talk on his behalf.) But the Republican Party has every interest in seeing this man disappear from the public sphere, and I see no reason to be shocked at that. The nature of the Republican Party is that this is profoundly bad for them -- especially for the Senate Campaign people. The only Republicans who might benefit are the ones whose family values credentials are incredibly airtight and who've found a way of positioning themselves on the issue in a way that keeps people from hating or suspecting them. Even the Democrats in the Senate are mostly taking the opportunity to say "phew, not one of ours, let's be silent and enjoy the show, hmm?"

Oh, and I think the chances of Craig winning re-election are vanishingly small. Idaho doesn't need (or, I suspect, want) him as much as he needs them. Unless Craig is really in need of the money and especially if he intends to truly stick to the "not gay/big misunderstanding" response for the rest of his life, he should resign and disappear for a while. If he really needs the money and decides to tell people he's gay (and perhaps an Independent) he might have a chance of staying around past January 2009, though honestly, that'd work better if he lived somewhere more like California. If he wants to tell people he's gay, he really ought to just write a book.
9.5.2007 2:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
DiverDan:"There you have it, folks - to a liberal, perjury in front of a sitting Federal District Judge and lying to a Grand Jury = disorderly behavior in a public restroom. Now, can someone PLEASE explain to me why liberals consider themselves so much smarter (or is it "more enlightened") than conservatives?"

True. But the reason for the Clinton going before a grand jury in the first place was, at root, because he had sex with Lewinsky. That was the kernal upon which Starr brought his entire prosecution, and it was to embarrass and a hope to impeach Clinton, and thereby disgrace his presidency.

Now we see that the Republican party has far exceeded any improprieties that Clinton engaged in. Yes, Clinton lied about having sex with her, but Criag has and is lying about soliciting sex. (Have I proof of those lies? No. But there is plenty of stories of Craig soliciting and having sex with men that make me believe he is lying.)

To really make this equivolent with Clinton, the Republicans should now begin a fulll investigation of all these matters invovling Craig, and if he lies about anything, then they can impeach him for lying under oath.

But something tells me that what is good for the goose is NOT good for the gander, when it comes to the Republican moral police.
9.5.2007 2:45pm
Smokey:
Sarah, it appears what you're saying is that there is a double standard when it comes to judging Reps vs Dems. I agree.

The link in the post right above yours reports on a Senator who had to resign [but only from a single committee!] for literally lining her pockets with $billions in taxpayer loot [California is a community property state, so the taxpayer dollars she steered into her husband's pockets are equally hers].

Senator Craig is all over the news, but I'll bet that not one in ten Americans have ever heard about Senator Feinstein's corruption.
9.5.2007 2:50pm
OK lawyer (mail):
I don't know why everyone assumes he won't be reelected. Marion Barry was reelected.

Craig is quite simply a moron. That obviously does not disqualify him from serving as a Senator, I think it is actually a prerequisite. His continued waffling only demonstrates that he lacks judgment. Which he already demonstrated, so really what difference does it make now?

His behavior simply highlights all the negatives of Congress. Each of the original listing of Congressional derelictions, demonstrates a lack of integrity and judgment. Craig has brought those same qualities to an airport bathroom. Congress hates to have the spotlight of non-political transgressions shine upon it, as it serves to highlight the quality of its members. Political errors can be chalked up to a "vast right wing conspiracy" or something like that. It's harder to spin this one.
9.5.2007 2:52pm
JB:
Can we shut up about Ted Kennedy already?

The man drove drunk, got into an accident, and panicked. Drunk driving is bad, yes, but I'd like to see you do better when you're in a sinking car on mind-altering drugs.
9.5.2007 3:01pm
GatoRat:
I have been astonished as of late to hear the contempt people have of the constitution and the first, fourth, and to an extent, fifth ammendments of the US Constitution. If you outlaw solicitation of sex in a public place, how are you going to define solicitation? History teaches us that the definition will eventually be so expansive that anyone could be arrested for anything.

The Bill of Rights was not designed to protect proper behavior, but to protect behavior many people find disagreeable, disturbing and even loathsome. As shocking as it may be to some people, the bill of rights was designed for people like Larry Craig. That he failed to fight for his rights may show something about his character, but it doesn't mean those rights don't exist or that the police and courts acted properly. (If anything, this illustrates an abuse of our legal system that has concerned many people, including myself--that is, manipulating suspects to ignore their constitution rights.)
9.5.2007 3:20pm
Tom Holsinger (mail):
Craig pled guilty to criminal charges involving immoral behavior in public. The others mentioned did not plead guilty to any criminal charge. That's the difference.
9.5.2007 3:21pm
wb (mail):
Let's look at a more recent DUI, "Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who lost control of his car near the Capitol last month in what he says was a drug-induced stupor, pleaded guilty yesterday to driving under the influence of prescription medication and could face 10 days in jail if he fails to comply with a long list of court-imposed conditions."

Asked to resign by his party? No. Re-elected? Yes. Public behavior an endangerment to others? Yes.

Craig may be stupid, but his misdemeanor does not call for being ostracized by his party. Let's face it, Larry crime is wanting gay sex.

At this point one thing is clear, until he leaves office one way or the other, Idaho has effectively 1 US Senator.
9.5.2007 3:26pm
wb (mail):
"Re-elected? Yes."

Admittedly this says more about RI voters than about Rep. Kennedy.
9.5.2007 3:33pm
Hoosier:
(My New Bumper-Sticker):
If you outlaw sexual solicitation in public restrooms, only outlaws will solicit sex in public restrooms.


Wake UP, America!.
9.5.2007 3:36pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
If you outlaw solicitation of sex in a public place, how are you going to define solicitation?

Your statement is ambiguous. If you believe the police report, Craig went beyond publicly soliciting sex, he solicited sex that was going to take place in a public place.

If you support the right to have sex in public restrooms, you should write your legislators to change the law. If you live in Florida, you could ask Bob Allen to carry the bill.
9.5.2007 3:42pm
Vivictius (mail):
While it would be nice to use this post to bash political opponents I'll skip that for now to just make a little comment on #4 of the list. Earmarks have been getting alot of bad press recently but it really isnt bad press that matters since even though people in 49 states hear "senate/congress criter is wasting $$$" the people in that one remaining state just hear "more $$$ for us" and they are the ones that (re)elect them.
9.5.2007 3:42pm
Malvolio:
I never thought of myself as a libertine, but jeez, so what? So he was trying to get the guy in the next stall to blow him. So?
the individual is willing to perform sex acts in public in front of children.
Yes, right there in the bathroom stall, where young girls congregate, hoping only to see grown men defecate, he was possibly hoping to have sex.
But the reason for the Clinton going before a grand jury in the first place was, at root, because he had sex with Lewinsky.
Tell me this is a troll. For those of you who don't have the Lewinsky scandal committed to memory: Clinton lied in a deposition, Starr was asked to investigate, he declined and referred it to the court, which sent it back to him. Starr sent Clinton a subpoena, which he resisted. Clinton eventually had to testify under oath, and he lied and he lied and he lied.

Now I think getting blown by strangers in a public lavatory is tacky, but people who like that kind of thing probably think my paisley bow-tie is tacky. Everybody, everybody, thinks, in the abstract, that repeated perjury and repeated contempt deserved jail time.
If you believe the police report, Craig went beyond publicly soliciting sex, he solicited sex that was going to take place in a public place.
If you believe the police report and you aren't very bright. Worst case scenario, he planned to have sex in a bathroom stall -- pretty much the opposite of a public place (indeed, part of the "evidence" against him was that he tried to make it more private by placing his luggage in the gap at the bottom of the door).
9.5.2007 4:22pm
Mike Keenan:
Not only was he willing to have sex in a public place in front of children, he had no way of knowing if the person next to him was a child -- perhaps a 14 year old. How could he tell?

Anyway, I won't sully a nice day any more with this conversation.
9.5.2007 4:32pm
Stating the Obvious (mail):
DB: Compared to the every day malfeasance by Senators, accepted as business as usual, I'll take a misdemeanor sex scandal any time.

Actually, compared to Senate business as usual, I'd take a major felony scandal any time. These people couldn't hurt the republic any more if they were trying.
9.5.2007 4:44pm
Stating the Obvious (mail):
Bruce Hayden: "I was thinking after I laid into Sen. Reid of NV "

What? Senator Reid is gay, too?

Wait...maybe I misread that...
9.5.2007 4:46pm
Lloyd George:
Given the fundamental lack of seriousness in many of the arguments made in this thread and the fact that this thread is getting more replies than the Addington blog entry, the republic is, indeed, staggering on its last legs.

Treating constitutional, legal, and moral limitations like a speed bump to be briskly passed by is not the way to keep a republic.
9.5.2007 4:52pm
John Herbison (mail):

"Craig pled guilty to criminal charges involving immoral behavior in public. The others mentioned did not plead guilty to any criminal charge. That's the difference."


That Republican mantra may explain Senator Craig's sowing as much loyalty to the Republican leadership as the leadersip showed him. Perhaps Craig took offense at the different treatment afforded him from that afforded David Vitter by their Republican colleagues. The ostensible basis for that difference is that Craig pled guilty to a minor criminal offense, while Vitter merely admitted to "serious sin" after his number was found in the records of an escort service. (Another distinction is that one of them probably actually had sex, while the other merely intended to.)

Given that Craig's plea is the peg that the Vitter supporters are hanging their hats on, it makes sense for Craig to attack the validity of the plea—a claim which has at least an arguable basis.

Perhaps Craig took offense at Senator McConnell, who has himself been the subject of innuendo* as to how lightheis in his loafers, characterizing Craig's stall* tactics as "unforgivable". What a Christian position to take!

BTW, I wonder what Vitter's fellow Roman Catholic Republicans would have said if he had admitted using a condom while whoremongering.
____________________________
* Puns intended
9.5.2007 4:55pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I don't know why everyone assumes he won't be reelected. Marion Barry was reelected.
This is Idaho. Our moral standards, while not perfect, are a bit higher than re-electing a guy who is trolling for sex in the men's room.

Boise's mayor got caught coming out of his secretary's house at 4:00 AM during a scandal involving misuse of public funds. He's not mayor anymore.

This isn't Washington DC. There aren't many Democrats here. Consequently, there are some standards of behavior that we expect of our elected officials.
9.5.2007 4:55pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I never realized the depth of support for anonymous restroom sex. When I moved to the bay area, I was surprised at the signs prohibiting sex in the rest rooms at the rest area on I-280. Why would this sign be necesssary, and who would want to have sex in a rest room, I asked myself. Thanks to Sen. Craig, I now know the answer:

Republicans.
9.5.2007 4:57pm
bittern (mail):

This is Idaho. There aren't many Democrats here.

Perfect set-up for the question I'm waiting to ask. Clayton, we can see with our own eyes what Idaho likes. Now, what's your running count on sex-disgraced Republican congress-people in the last 35 years? Any idea how that compares to the citizenry at large? I'm going way back because I want to make sure I can count Studds for the Dems.
9.5.2007 5:09pm
bittern (mail):
Given the fundamental lack of seriousness on this thread, I wonder . . .

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An if I stay it will be double
9.5.2007 5:11pm
Visitor Again:
(A married man trolling for anonymous sex in a public bathroom of an airport is appallingly deviant behavior by almost anyone's standard.)

If that's so, then "appalingly" and "deviant" have lost all meaning.

I'm enjoying watching the GOP self-immolate over this one. It's hilarious. In view of the latest developments, it might stay on the front pages for months. Hee, hee.

I do feel some compassion for Larry Craig notwithstanding his hypocrisy and, of course, hypothetical compassion for all those children who were hypothetical victims of his "crime" and hypothetically scarred for life.
9.5.2007 5:16pm
LM (mail):

Compared to the every day malfeasance by Senators, accepted as business as usual, I'll take a misdemeanor sex scandal any time.

Those of us who recognize pandering and demagoguery, whatever the partisan source, are an irrelevant political constituency.
9.5.2007 5:18pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
I live 20 miles from the ranch Larry Craig grew up on. I know several of his relatives. The day after this story broke, someone tore down the sign on the edge of town that had (up to this point) proudly proclaimed Midvale - Home of US Senator Larry Craig.

I told Larry Craig during the immigration debate that he was selling out the best interests of Americans in favor of the best interests of his biggest donors and I would never ever vote for him again.

Being Gay and Honorable are two seperate issues. I know gay people who I consider to be honorable and trustworthy. I no longer consider Larry Craig to be honorable and trustworthy because I believe he is dishonest about his actions and his motivations.

Even if he doesn't resign, he won't be reelected.
9.5.2007 6:40pm
Tom952 (mail):
All of the items you list are evidence of legislative disfunctionality driven mostly by politics and the quest to gain and retain power. Isn't the solution to de-concentrate power with more direct voting on legislation (as is done in Switzerland) get us back to business?
9.5.2007 6:51pm
Visitor1234:
Frankly, I'm most concerned about his apparent attempt to get off the hook by flashing a business card indicating that he's a US Senator. If that's not grounds for an ethics investigation, I'm not sure what is.
9.5.2007 6:53pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
If the Democrat party platform revolved around banning DWI and punishing DWI offenders to the same extent that the Republican party platform revolves around banning homosexual relationships in every form and manner of recognition, then those democrats who have gotten in trouble for DWI would be embarassed and ridiculed to the same extent as Craig and all the publicly anti-gay privately homosexual hypocrites in the GOP. To say a Democrat committed DWI and didn't have to resign completely misses the point.

Furthermore, DWI is not a crime of moral turpitude (in fact, its the preeminent example of such a crime). Republicans would be the first to say anything having to do with homosexual sex is immoral. Plus republicans would certainly argue that solicitation of sex is a crime of moral turpide (it probably is, subjectively). Who are the ones in washington constantly blabbing about "morals" and "family values" claiming the other party lacks them? Republicans like Craig (who is on record saying just that about democrats, particularly Clinton).

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds....
9.5.2007 6:59pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):

Frankly, I'm most concerned about his apparent attempt to get off the hook by flashing a business card indicating that he's a US Senator. If that's not grounds for an ethics investigation, I'm not sure what is.


US Constitution, Article I, Section 6

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same;



I am not a fan of Larry Craig, but there is a constitutional argument that he was immune from Arrest and that once he told the officer that he was a US Senator, the officer should have realized that he had no legal authority to arrest the Senator.

I would say that since Senator Craig was traveling between Idaho and Washington DC, he had every right to attempt to excercise this privledge. If he had successfully avoided arrest, I would consider an Ethics investigation appropriate.

With nothing to lose, if I were his lawyer, this is the argument I would be making to the appeals court. Namely, The plea should be thrown out because the arrest was unconstitutional.

In modern history, I am not aware of any Congressman or Senator making a successful challenge to an arrest based on this Article.
9.5.2007 7:14pm
Morat (mail):
I'm a bit confused by some of the logic being used here. As best I can understand it, there's an argument that's going as follows:

1) Craig's being 'forced to resign' for 'pleading guilty to a misdeamenour'.
2) But Kennedy (the young one, not the old one) wasn't being 'forced to resign', despite pleading guilty to the worse crime of drunken driving.
3) Ergo, there's a massive double standard.

But that ignores most of the facts. Craig is being 'forced to resign' (as much as you can, without actually voting to expell) by his Republican colleages. If he was being drummed out by the Democrats who gave Kennedy a pass, I'd see the double standard.

To me, this seems like a purely Republican problem. They're the ones scared of the optics, they're the ones screaming to try to get Craig out. I can see how it would be in their best benefit to try to muddy the issue with other Congressional scandals -- although admittedly there's not as many recent Democratic ones.

I'm sure Bill Clinton's penis is still good for some obfuscation, though. There's really not a GOP problem that can't be helped by a big, heaping dose of Clinton's dong.
9.5.2007 7:19pm
bittern (mail):

Isn't the solution to de-concentrate power with more direct voting on legislation (as is done in Switzerland) get us back to business?

No. They try that in California. Guess again.
9.5.2007 7:23pm
fishbane (mail):
Frankly, I wish more Senators would get laid more often. It might distract them from passing more laws. (And yes, Craig should go, not because he's gay, but because he's clearly dumb. Anyone who can't dial his lawyer's number correctly, failed to consult one before pleading, and generally mishandled this whole affair should not be in a position of power.)
9.5.2007 7:36pm
Malvolio:
They try that [democracy] in California. Guess again.
Hey, we like it.

We've had our share of wacky initiatives but nothing to compare with, for example, Sarbanes-Oxley.
9.5.2007 7:39pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If the Democrat party platform revolved around banning DWI and punishing DWI offenders to the same extent that the Republican party platform revolves around banning homosexual relationships in every form and manner of recognition,
Huh? The Republican Party platform devotes how much space to same-sex marriage and homosexuality? Here's the 2004 platform. Start counting. Relative to national security and tax cuts, their concern about homosexuality is nearly nothing.

The one area that Republicans have put much energy into the last few years--not allowing judges to impose same-sex marriage on the states--is also the area where they have the most in common with Democratic officeholders.
9.5.2007 8:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Tony Tutins writes:

I never realized the depth of support for anonymous restroom sex. When I moved to the bay area, I was surprised at the signs prohibiting sex in the rest rooms at the rest area on I-280. Why would this sign be necesssary, and who would want to have sex in a rest room, I asked myself. Thanks to Sen. Craig, I now know the answer:

Republicans.
So, Republicans are driving several hours to have sex in I-280 restrooms? I rather doubt it.

You forget what group is greatly overrepresented in the Bay Area, for some reason. Guess what group it is? It's a group that likes to have with other men--and isn't very particular about where, or when, or who is watching.
9.5.2007 8:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton, we can see with our own eyes what Idaho likes. Now, what's your running count on sex-disgraced Republican congress-people in the last 35 years?
What? Idahoans like people that pretend that they are straight? Or Idahoans don't have much respect for people looking for anonymous sex in public rest rooms?

One of the reasons that gays are suddenly defending Senator Craig is that it has raised the ugly little secret that the tearoom trade isn't a tiny little subculture of homosexuals, but a fairly large one. That's why people like Tony Tutins move to the San Francisco Gay Area, and discover that public restrooms need signs saying, "Don't do that."
9.5.2007 8:08pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But that ignores most of the facts. Craig is being 'forced to resign' (as much as you can, without actually voting to expell) by his Republican colleages.
Actually, it is by the storm of upset with him by Idahoans, who regard his behavior as immoral and showing poor judgment. They wouldn't be a lot happier if he was picking up a woman for anonymous sex, and ended up arrested because of it.

Craig has compounded judgment error after judgment error:

1. Looking for anonymous sex in a public restroom.

2. Pleading guilty to a related charge.

3. Failing to get a lawyer who might well have beat the charge at a jury trial by pleading, "I'm just a hick from Idaho! I didn't know that is what all this meant!"

4. Claiming that he didn't do anything wrong--which makes pleading guilty into a lie.

5. Resigning effective 9/30.

6. Whoops! Maybe he isn't going to resign.

Poor judgment, all the way around. If he had been arrested trying to hire a female prostitute, and had repeated this serious of idiot moves, he would be under pressure to quit.
9.5.2007 8:14pm
bittern (mail):

Hey, we like it.

Hah! That's why it's California, I guess. Our smaller towns make all their basic decisions by direct democracy, and it's glorious. But once the population exceeds, I don't know, 10,000 people, it doesn't work, and the towns all decide to switch to "representational town meeting." I can't imagine securities legislation by direct national balloting. To me, that's wicked amusing. . . . and judging by sheer nuttiness, the Congress has got nothing on the citizenry. Judging by the Volokh!
9.5.2007 8:25pm
bittern (mail):

Craig has compounded judgment error after judgment error

That's easy for you to say, because you understand his situation. I don't think he does.

You say it's Idahoans forcing him out, while Morat says it's his colleagues. Maybe it's "the media." How DOES this forcing thing work? I can't tell from looking, who will drop. What "forced" Fredo out? Is it shame? Is it anguish? Is it threats? How can an open observer determine whether you, Morat, or both is correct?
9.5.2007 8:32pm
LM (mail):

The one area that Republicans have put much energy into the last few years--not allowing judges to impose same-sex marriage on the states--is also the area where they have the most in common with Democratic officeholders.

Yes, but the point is that this somewhat bi-partisan effort, as well as the more clearly Republican sourced, state-by-state anti gay rights initiatives were targeted at an overwhelmingly Republican constituency. (To the extent that Democrats signed on to the former, I suspect they were acting largely out of fear that Gay marriage was vulnerable to demagoguery as anti-family.)

In light of the zeal that especially the Religious Conservatives have for these issues, and given Larry Craig's unwavering political fidelity to the same, it's no wonder the energy for purging Craig is all coming from Republicans. The conceptual Democratic analog would be discovering that Dennis Kucinich has an interrogation-torture chamber for Al Qaeda detainees in his basement.
9.5.2007 8:50pm
Dave N (mail):
To the extent that Democrats signed on to the former, I suspect they were acting largely out of fear that Gay marriage was vulnerable to demagoguery as anti-family.
Oh, so your argument is that Republicans have principles and Democrats do not?

And while I realize this is not a debate on gay marriage, I would note that 39 states have adopted variations of DOMA, including such extremely Republican states as California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. So while the more conservative of the two political parties has been more identified with the issue, it is inaccurate to state that DOMA is an issue with only conservative appeal.
9.5.2007 9:08pm
bittern (mail):

Republicans have principles and Democrats do not.

Dave N, they have to believe this or they know they will fall into a maelstrom. Same with Craig having to believe he's not GAY. Help, I'm falling . . .
9.5.2007 9:40pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Basically a bunch of red herrings. Craig is being forced to resign by Republicans because their base cannot abide gays and he will be replaced by another Republican. The rest is claptrap.
9.5.2007 10:00pm
Dave N (mail):
Yes, Jim Kolbe was positively read out of the Republican Party and forced to resign from Congress, wasn't he, Eli? Oh, that's right, he wasn't.
9.5.2007 10:05pm
LM (mail):

To the extent that Democrats signed on to the former, I suspect they were acting largely out of fear that Gay marriage was vulnerable to demagoguery as anti-family.

Oh, so your argument is that Republicans have principles and Democrats do not?

No, my point was that those Democrats quite reasonably assumed that Republicans would distort their positions, like you distorted mine. As for sacrificing principles to political expediency, that's an entrenched bi-partisan practice.
9.5.2007 11:21pm
Smokey:
Frankly, I'm most concerned about his apparent attempt to get off the hook by flashing a business card indicating that he's a US Senator. If that's not grounds for an ethics investigation, I'm not sure what is.
Well, let's do another ethics comparison, shall we? OK, then, if you insist...

Following re-election to his 10th term, Congressman Norman Mineta resigned in a snit after Newt Gingrich engineered a Republican win. Why? Because Norman was used to being the Chairman of committees and subcommittees, and he didn't like the idea of being just a lowly committee member. So, to hell with his constituents, who had to pay up another $1.6 million for a special election to choose his successor [the voters picked a Republican].

Mineta -- who had never held a real, private sector job before -- was then given a job by Lockheed, as Vice-President! The deal was that Lockheed would fly Norman first-class from California to Lockheed's Maryland HQ on Mondays, then fly him back home on Thursdays. He recuperated on Fridays.

Six months after this fantastic windfall of a job, Mineta was caught parking his car right on the airport tarmac. He had never turned in his Congressional pass and plates as required. The plates allowed special access and bypassed all security and check-in requirements, and also provided a baggage handler to load and unload Congressmen's cars. Mineta had been illegally using the taxpayer subsidized Congressional access for six months, until he was finally nabbed. Norman was just too comfortable with that free parking at taxpayer expense.

Was Norman Mineta investigated by the laughably titled Ethics Committee? Was he investigated by civil authorities for fraud? Nope. After all, Mineta is a Democrat.

Shortly afterward, Mineta magically failed upward again, this time into the Cabinet position of Transportation Secretary, where he promptly ordered the inspection of granny's shoes at every airport checkpoint, while pretending that Abdul was never in line.

Amazingly, right after he became Secretary of Transportation, Norman the scofflaw was rewarded yet again, by the renaming of the San Jose airport -- which officially became the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. No quid-pro-quo there, no sir. What could the Secretary of Transportation have in common with airports, anyway?

So. There's your ethics double standard. And there are lots more.
9.6.2007 12:15am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Larry Craig should not resign. I believe he is innocent (really truly, because, as various Volokh bloggers point out, he didn't go far enough in the act, and there is no "solicitation statute" applicable in Minnesota).

Also, this has made the Sunday morning news shows more enjoyable to watch. Indeed, part of why I miss Bill Clinton's presidency is how he managed to make those Sunday shows cover so many wide-ranging and interesting topics, such as semen stains on Gap dresses. Now, all we hear about are things like War, illegal surveillance, etc.

As for Craig's morals and sexuality, I am sure many heterosexual men cruise for sex with other men in public restrooms, and not all of those men are Republicans from Idaho (and, probably not even a majority of those who do are Idaho Republicans, but I am still going to be more careful the next time I am in Boise's public restrooms). And, I am sure they are perfectly honest fellows, and don't do things like give multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts to large defense contractors in which they own tens of millions of dollars of stock in a "blind" trust.

Perhaps it is an interesting coincidence, but Al Pacino's movie "Cruising" just came out on DVD. Do I detect some marketing tie-in here? Maybe Larry can do some infomercials.

And, let us not cast stones at the man. We are not the Taliban (except for Clayton).

By the way, Clayton, the men who solicit sex in public restrooms off of Interstate 280 are in the closet, older guys (like Senator Larry). I know, because a local paper (the San Mateo Times) published their names about 20 years ago when they were all busted. Nowadays, I would bet that most of these guys just go to bars or sex clubs in the Castro.

My guess is you probably see more of the man-on-man sex in bathroom behavior in Idaho or Utah or Minnesota (per capita) than you do in the SF Bay Area, because being gay is more tolerated here and the in-the-closet types now have plenty of gay sex clubs they can go to for anonymous sexual encounters whereas, I imagine, (but maybe you can correct me if you have more experience on this) there aren't as many where you live.

I say this with all due respect for Idaho, which is a nice state and a nice population.
In fact, I once represented Idaho's largest employer in a federal case there, and thought the court was excellent.
9.6.2007 1:08am
Harry Eagar (mail):
C'mon, Larry, quit stallin'!
9.6.2007 3:23pm
Gary McGath (www):
That's the best comment I've seen yet on the Craig affair.
9.6.2007 4:15pm
markm (mail):

On the lighter side, didn't Huey Long (or one of those colorful old-time Southern politicians) once make a famous remark to the effect that the only way he could ever get removed from office would be " ... if they find me in bed with a live boy or a dead girl." Apparently Long was a pessimist.

Long or whoever it was, was fifty years before Teddy Kennedy's accident, and much more than that before Barney Frank came out. So you could say that standards in some ways have relaxed - but OTOH, wasn't Long involved in financial shenanigans that make most modern corruption investigations look like a technicality?

But when we're talking about Teddy Kennedy, remember this: even in the early 70's, drunk driving resulting in a death was a felony in most states. Probation was more likely than it is now, but it was still a felony conviction. And Kennedy compounded the matter by leaving the scene. Unless Massachusetts law was quite different, please tell me why he wasn't convicted of a felony, , resulting in the loss of the right to vote or serve in public office?
9.6.2007 4:30pm
Randy R. (mail):
I think Craig should not resign either. He could be a shining light for all those closeted men who have sex with other men but can't bear to call themselves gay and still want to be the pillers of their communities.

If Criag doesn't stand up and represent them, who will?
9.7.2007 1:50am