Capitol Hillbillies

Congressman loses it at airport

Rep. Bob Filner stormed into a United Airlines baggage office at Dulles International Airport, barged past other customers, screamed at employees and repeatedly pushed a female baggage worker, according to a criminal complaint.

“You can’t stop me!” the California Democrat yelled.

“The police can,” replied the baggage worker, Joanne Kay Kunkel.

Filner backed off only when he heard another employee on the phone with airport police, says the complaint, which offers more details on an Aug. 19 incident that resulted in misdemeanor assault and battery charges against Filner.

Hagel says he’s had enough

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a persistent Republican critic of the Iraq war, intends to announce on Monday he will not seek a third term, according to Republican officials.

The officials also said Hagel does not plan to run for the White House in 2008, despite earlier flirting with a candidacy.

The 60-year-old senator arranged a news conference for Monday in Omaha, Neb., to make his formal announcement. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the event.

Loving the sin, hating the sinner

Coverage by the mainstream media of the Larry Craig scandal confirms again that liberals love the sin and hate the sinner. They’ve got both the Idaho senator and the conservative values that he has supported in their crosshairs.

Perhaps it’s relevant to take a moment and recall that the need for biblical guidance comes from the proclivity to sin. You don’t need a map if you’re hardwired to know where you’re going.

Wedding bells for Mack & Bono

Wedding bells will be ringing for Reps. Connie Mack and Mary Bono, Mack’s office confirmed.

Mack, 40, popped the question recently to make their coupledom official, according to staffers in his office.

Mack, R-Fla., and Bono, R-Calif., began their in-house romance in 2005, shortly after both announced their marriages were ending.

Memo to Larry: Make up your mind

Idaho’s senior Republican congressman called on Sen. Larry Craig on Thursday to make it clear he will leave his seat by Sept. 30, as GOP leaders sought to remove any doubt that the embattled senator will resign within weeks.

Craig’s chief spokesman said his boss had dropped virtually all notions of trying to finish his third term, which ends in early 2009. But prominent Republicans in Washington and Idaho wanted a firm deadline in hopes of putting the controversy behind them.

Meanwhile, back home in Idaho

Most Senate Republicans want their Idaho colleague, Larry Craig, to just go and go soon. They have enough scandals in their ranks without Craig’s disagreeable little episode in an airport bathroom.

Privately, Senate Democrats would like to see him stay on to keep the scandal alive and help underline their contention that the GOP is the party of moral hypocrisy when it is not being the party of corruption.

Shamelessness is worse than hypocrisy

“Hypocrisy,” noted the French writer La Rochefoucauld, “is a tribute vice pays to virtue.” In political life, charges of hypocrisy are commonplace; yet there, of all places, hypocrisy should be much preferred to the most common alternative, which is sheer shamelessness.

Irag tops Congressional to-do list

Congressman Brian Baird, D-Wash, was kidding when he said he brought his flak jacket back with him after visiting Iraq a few weeks ago.

Maybe he should have.

Baird, who initially opposed the war and as recently as May voted to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces, now says President Bush’s military surge is showing signs of working and that current troops levels should be maintained until at least spring.

Bridge over troubled politics

A 40-year-old highway bridge suddenly dropped into a major American river during the afternoon rush hour, with deadly results.

New bridge inspections were ordered, Congress held hearings, and bold federal programs were begun.

It was 1967 — the same year work near downtown Minneapolis was completed on the I-35W bridge, which dropped just as precipitously into the Mississippi River a month ago, sparking a fresh round of national soul-searching on bridge safety.

Larry Craig rethinks resignation

Sen. Larry Craig says he may still fight for his Senate seat, a spokesman says — if the lawmaker can clear his name with the Senate Ethics Committee and a Minnesota court where he pleaded guilty after his arrest in an airport men’s room sex sting.

Since announcing Saturday he intended to resign on Sept. 30, the Republican lawmaker who has represented Idaho for 27 years has hired a prominent lawyer to investigate the possibility of reversing his guilty plea.