Friday, August 31, 2007

8-31-07: The Craig Controversy

You have to love it when the media find somebody like Senator Larry Craig doing something stupid. In case you missed it, Craig was arrested in June at the airport in Minneapolis for disorderly conduct in a men’s restroom. On August 1st, he pled guilty. His reasoning was that it would hopefully make the problem go away, and so he wouldn’t have to tell his family and friends. A week or so ago he said he was wrong to plead guilty to the misdemeanor, and accused some newspapers in Idaho of vicious slander in assuming he was a homosexual. In a press conference he strongly stated “I am not, and have never been, gay.”

Apparently what happened is he was in a stall next to a plain clothes police officer, who was in the bathroom as part of a sting operation, and made foot and hand gestures that were commonly used to solicit sex. Craig was then arrested for the lewd behavior.

Let’s stop right there for now and analyze that encounter. In a taped interview with police, Craig said he was misunderstood and did not do anything wrong. He accused the police officer, Sergeant Dave Karsnia (who I’m sure was just dying to get that assignment), of lying. There’s some legal gray area involved there. “Lewd behavior” is a misdemeanor, but what if Craig was just a sick bastard with a strange sense of humor? I’m not saying he is at all innocent, though. He probably knew exactly what he was doing. But what exactly is illegal there? It’s just suspicion, and it’s just a misdemeanor. It doesn’t help that Karsnia said: “Embarrassing, embarrassing. No wonder why we're going down the tubes.” I understand every one is entitled to their opinion, but you’d think the arresting officer would be a bit smarter about letting his politics out so soon. But, that’s his right.

What’s sad is the double standard involved in this. People use the “children could have seen it happen!” excuse for why Craig should (and probably will) step down. No one is coming to Craig’s defense. I’m not saying they should, but look at the distinct possibility of a double standard. Here are two names that have previously been targets of controversy: Mark Foley and David Vitter. Both are Republicans in Congress. Both did bad things. Foley is a pervert, but he was defended by all the powerful members of the GOP, up to the Speaker of the House! Vitter admitted to being a client of a female prostitute, but he kept his committee assignment! Craig has already been removed from his committee assignments, and almost EVERYONE wants an investigation begun against him by the Ethics Committee. I love how Congress has an Ethics Committee. That’s just plain funny. It is true that Craig is the only one of the three who has been convicted, but think of it this way: he was trying to keep it secret. I’m not saying it was the right thing to do, and I think he’s lost a lot of credibility by going against his decision, but the guy made a mistake and admitted it. He did something dumb in a situation that allowed for no margin of error. Bad decision, worse luck.

My only complaint is that Craig is being left out in the cold by a falsely altruistic system. It pains me to say I’m a Republican right now. If we keep this up, within a couple years we could be as useless as the Democrats.

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