Larry Craig should stay and fight

When you get past the hyperbole, the political posturing and the blatant partisanship you can’t escape the feeling that Sen. Larry Craig was railroaded.

Abandoned by his party, vilified by his critics and slammed by the right, Craig hinted Tuesday he may stay and fight.

He should. Larry Craig may be a hypocrite when it comes to gay issues but the rush to banish him from the halls of power says more about the homophobia of others.

It is, after all, the homophobic practice of police departments to place undercover police officers in public restrooms to try and trap gay men who seek sexual liaisons. The Minneapolis Police Department does not have a special unit set up to cruise singles bars and catch heterosexual couples in the act.

Craig may be paying the price for being another gay Republican who decries homosexuality in public while practicing it himself. Or he may be, as he claims, a straight man and victim of an overzealous police officer.

Public hypocrisy is not limited to those who prefer same sex partners. Congress is filled with those who preach the sanctity of marriage while engaging in extra-marital affairs. Yet no Republican and few Democrats are demanding Sen. David Vitter resign for cavorting with a prostitute.

Let’s remember that Craig copped a plea to a misdemeanor and a rookie public defender probably could have convinced a judge the charge was entrapment. Craig tried to wing it without a lawyer. That was a bigger mistake than tapping his foot in what may or may not have been an invitation for sex with the cop in the next stall.

I don’t like Craig’s politics. He embraces the hypocrisy of his party and the extremism of the right-wing that controls that party. But I dislike a public lynching even more.

Republicans moved quickly to dump Craig not so much because they were shocked by his actions but more because they didn’t want another Mark Foley scandal as they approach a tough election year.

Idaho has a GOP governor who will appoint a Republican clone to the job. Vitter is safe because he comes from a state with a Democrat in the governor’s mansion.

While some may find the idea of sex between men in a public restroom despicable they should be more upset at willingness of the GOP to dump a loyal party member in the name of political expedience.

I happen to believe that sex between consenting adults is the business of those adults and should not be the target of a homophobic police department or the hypocritical actions of elected officials who don’t practice what they preach.

In the end, the decision on what happens to Larry Craig should not be left to wagging tongues of Washington. He should not be another victim of trial by media or execution by Internet.

Let the voters of Idaho make the call. They put Larry Craig in the Senate and, come election time, they should be the ones who decide if he stays or goes.

Comments

  1. thecruzr

    Just to add. I am not anti-gay in any way. My best friend is gay. I doubt he thinks too much of anyone who has sex in airport restrooms.

    Back in the 70’s a restroom at a rest area here in southern Illinois was becoming such a magnet for encounters that they closed the rest area.

    Some things are best left in other places.

    Phil

  2. thecruzr

    Doug, sex in a public place where children may be present, unlike your bar scenario, is not a very attractive thing. These police are not homophobic they just want to keep the areas from looking like old time Rome.

    Larry Craig is not necessarily gay. Just because a man has sex with men it does not mean he is gay. There are many men that have these type of encounters, and never have sex with men outside of these “tearooms”. There was a study done on these types of men back in the 70’s here in the St Louis area. Quite a few of the men interviewed did not claim to be homosexual. A bit Bi perhaps, but what they really were is sexual opportunists. These guys are just sex addicts, and find these types of encounters to be very easy and thrilling.

    Phil

  3. ekaton

    ” … the man lied to police, lied to the court, tried to circumvent the law, … ”

    Were you there and able to actually observe the incident as it occurred? If not, then your comment is simply hearsay. I use this as an example to point out just one more thing that has gone so wrong with our country. We are so quick to jump to conclusions and to judgements.

    Kent Shaw

  4. ekaton

    “Let the voters of Idaho make the call. They put Larry Craig in the Senate and, come election time, they should be the ones who decide if he stays or goes.”

    Well put.

    — Kent Shaw

  5. robin2k

    It’s not that he’s gay (although being so in a public mensroom is really tacky), it is that he is guilty of the cruelest and most cynical form of hypocrisy … that is of encouraging discrimination against homosexuals while secretly indulging himself in the same behavior himself. That he is able to do that amounts to a kind of mental illness.

  6. JoshuasGrandma

    “Let’s remember that Craig copped a plea to a misdemeanor and a rookie public defender probably could have convinced a judge the charge was entrapment. Craig tried to wing it without a lawyer.”

    You convict him out of your own mouth: the man lied to police, lied to the court, tried to circumvent the law, and obviously doesn’t have the sense God gave a goose. If he has any dignity at all, he should stick to the resignation because he has proven himself unworthy to hold the office. And if he sticks with the “I’m not gay’ defense, he’s lying to himself as well and such denial is not mentally healthy. Idahoans deserve better representation.

  7. laudyms

    Chris Hitchens wrote a surprsingly apt article in Slate which included this observation:

    “The men …wanted what many men want: a sexual encounter that was quick and easy and didn’t involve any wining and dining. Some of the heterosexuals among them had also evolved a tactic for dealing with the cognitive dissonance that was involved. They compensated for their conduct by adopting extreme conservative postures in public. Humphreys, a former Episcopalian priest, came up with the phrase “breastplate of righteousness” to describe this mixture of repression and denial.”

    Larry is not just a hypocrite- he is addicted to hypocrisy and using the Senate floor as a major part of his perversion. Later for Larry.

  8. pondering_it_all

    Craig is a perfect example of somebody who has no impulse control. He created an image as a responsible heterosexual family man with a very high and very public position in conservative politics. Then he blew all that up by trying to pick up another man in an airport restroom.

    Why would a man with so much to lose fail to be more descrete? He’s a US Senator, for God’s sake. He could have easily kept a private apartment for sexual trysts, if that is what he felt he needed. (I imagine many other US Senators and Representatives do just that.)

    I think he was looking for the thrill of doing something very, very naughty, and sex with another man in a public restroom was just impossible to resist. So that makes me wonder if anybody really wants such an out-of-control impulsive in a position of such responsibility. How crazy can somebody be and still be qualified to serve as a US Senator?

    Remember how many people questioned the suitability for office of Bill Clinton, because his indescretions indicated a pattern of poor judgement? But if Bill Clinton’s indescretion ever rose to the level of Senator Craig’s, then he would have been been poking interns out on the White House lawn…

  9. shag11

    He needs to just go. He’s a lying hypochrite, who got caught in his game, and is now acting like a baby. Who the hell picks up a piece of paper off the floor.

  10. JoyfulC

    So are you saying that the only people you would find acceptable to serve in government are those who have absolutely _nothing_ that they would prefer to keep private?

    I’m only 50 years old, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met such a person.

    Many years ago, I had an argument with a woman who informed me that the only person who would be desirous of privacy was one with something to hide. That person was my mother, and we were arguing because she’d given me a diary for Christmas — a diary with a LOCK on it — and then I later found out that she’d been picking the lock and reading my diary.

    There are situations in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Sex between consenting adults is one of them, and certainly has NO RELEVANCE to politics EXCEPT to create a scandal — and scandalmongering is a far more malicious sin, in my book, than having the discretion to lie about a blowjob.

    The people who really brought shame on the US over the Clinton debacle were those who were trying to bring him down, using any tactics they deemed necessary. It didn’t work in the end — but sadly, by making this non-issue an issue, they made the US a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

  11. scandals

    I don’t really care what motivation people have for getting to the truth. Truth is truth and it hurts. If you are not prepared to own up to your actions, don’t do them and please stay out of my government.
    If you are a pervert that taints a nation and shames it around the world, acting as if you are representing the people, then your ass should thrown out. I don’t care who you like to do it with.
    Just stay out.

  12. JoyfulC

    I don’t think this guy should resign — I think he should let the voters decide — but I don’t think he should try to reverse his guilty plea either. All this talk of integrity aside, the fact remains that in our current justice system, you could get run over worse in the process of proving your innocence than by copping to a lesser plea, paying the fine and moving on.

    It’s something Americans do every day, so why is it any mystery that this guy would make the same choice? I don’t know the specifics of how it happened that the case was tried in the media, as well — not only don’t they let you cop a plea, they don’t give you any real means of defending yourself either. If you give them the stuff of scandal, they’ll descend upon you and they won’t turn you loose until you’re of no further value to them. That’s how it works.

  13. Janderson

    For once, I disagree.

    This is not about homosexuality or gay sex but about where consenting adults of either gender or in whatever coupling can engage in such activities.

    Bathrooms used to be called the necessary for a reason, we all need them, they are necessary.

    Among those who need them are children.

    As the mother of two boys and now the grandmother of one who is 7 years old, I have stood outside far too many men’s rooms waiting for my child to emerge.

    As a society we have a right to expect our public restrooms to be safe for our children and an equal right to have the police set up stings in such places to discourage the behavior.

    I consider anyone, male or female, who needs to pick up strangers for anonymous sex to have a serious lack of self esteem and mental health issues. It is self destructive behavior.

    I do not want my children or anyone else’s exposed to any aspect of this. I have parental controls for my television and computer, but how do I parentally control a public restroom?

    To package this as a gay rights issue undermines the real need in this country for tolerance and protection of our gay and lesbian citizens, allowing them to form families and have equal legal protections

  14. SEAL

    All of the commenting and complaining about the Craig affair is well said and true. But the real complaint is that we should not even know this incident happened because the LEGAL fact is that it should not have happened. Legally, the senator could not be arrested and charged.

    Senator Craig was arrested, charged and stupidly plead guilty to a crime that does not exist. The facts in the complaint, as written, do not constitute a crime and I am amazed that someone involved has not figured that out. If there is a lawyer among the members of CHB, please look up US Supreme Court case “Lawerence v Texas.” I appologigize for not having the cite for it but you will know how to find it. The case is 4-5 years old.

    Lawrence was a case where two gay males were convicted by a Texas court of violating a state law that made sodomy a crime. This was two gay males having sex in their own bedroom which a police officer observed by peeking in their bedroom window. Lawrence appealed, challenging the “sodomy law” and the case wound up in the US supreme court. The high courts decision was to declare that “sodomy” is not a crime and that what consenting adults do in private is no concern of the state or anyone else as long as they caused no harm to others. The effect of that decision was to nullify all sodomy based laws in every state. Therefore, one male asking another male if he would like to engage in any type of sex act with him is not a crime as long as money is not offered in exchange (that would make it prostitution).

    Craig’s charge was “disorderly conduct.” but the alleged conduct was “lewd and Lacivious” “offering sex.” Any first year law student could have had it dismissed and expunged. Calling it disorderly conduct did not change the fact that no crime had been committed. Craig has a very winnable civil suit against the officer and the state for violating his civil rights – false arrest etc. Craig is the victim.

    If the officer had agreed to have sex with the senator who then proceeded to invite him into a stall to blow him – that would have been a crime for which the cop would have every legal right to slap the cuffs on him and read him his rights. However, if the senator had asked the cop to go to a private room in a motel for the sex act – there would have been no crime.

    The senator’s actions obviate his being gay because of the panic he displayed and how he tried to cover it up. He was very stupid. Now he is in a world of shit and his only salvation is to use Lawrence v Texas to get out of it. I know of one other person who did that had his case dismissed.

    Like the rest of you I would be happy to see the senator removed from the senate, not because he is gay, but because he is such a dispicable person. But if we are going to discuss him and his affair, I want everyone to know what the legal facts of his case are.