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.