Larry Craig

OK, I have resisted commenting on Larry Craig.  My reactions are:

  1. We are so off topic here it is unbelievable.  For Congress, exercising arbitrary powers over individuals in violation of the intent, if not the letter, of the Constitution:  OK.  Playing footsie in the bathroom: Not OK
  2. Are we really going to have a Congressman resign for tapping his foot in a public bathroom while a man who had $100,000 in cash bribe money found in his freezer still sits in office?
  3. Why is it that Democrats, against their political beliefs, feel the need to criticize Republicans for being gay while Republicans feel the need to criticize Democrats for having large homes and SUVs?
  4. Do we really pay police officers to sit on the toilet for hours and try to catch men who are soliciting consensual sex?  And if so, do they also pay female officers to patrol for the same thing among women?  This is a real threat to us?

David Bernstein has more.  Via TJIC.

Update:  A reader pointed out to me I had a fairly relevant passage in my novel BMOC, when the Senator is confronted with his $50,000 earmark nominally for a "women's consulting company" turned out to be directed at a house of prostitution [edited to remove the more raunchy terminology]:

Taking a deep
breath, [the Senator's aid] said, "Senator, there is a reason that this one is not going
away. I will spell it out: S-E-X. The press doesn't give a shit about a few billion dollars of waste. No one tunes in to the evening news if the
teaser is "˜Government pays too much for a bridge, news at eleven.' The Today Show doesn't interview the
contractors benefiting from a useless bridge."

"However, everybody and his dog will tune in if
the teaser is "˜Your tax dollars are funding call girls, film at eleven'. Jesus, do you really think the CBS Evening
News is going to turn down a chance to put hookers on the evening news? Not just tonight but day after day? Just watch "“ Dan Rather will be interviewing
hookers and Chris Mathews will be interviewing hookers and for God's sakes
Barbara Walters will probably have a weepy interview with a hooker."

"And you know
what?" Givens continued, his voice rising. "The whole act makes me sick. All
these media types are going to be piously turning up their nose at you and
those women, while at the same time making more money for themselves off those
prostitutes than those women ever made for themselves on their back. It's rank
hypocrisy but it's the facts of life in Washington,
and I shouldn't have to be explaining this to you."

"You guys in the
Senate can get away with a lot, as long as long as a) you don't get caught or
b) the scandal is so boring or complex that it won't sell newspapers. Hell, I saw a poll the other day that a
substantial percentage of Americans to this day don't understand or even
believe what Richard Nixon did wrong. But if you polled those same people, every freaking one of them would
say that they knew and believed that Bill Clinton [fooled around with] an intern. What's the difference? Sex. Bill Clinton was impeached and lost his law license, not because he did
or did not commit fraud with Whitewater Development Corp., but because he lied
about [sex with] a young girl."

  • It's the hypocrisy of trashing gays all the time, and obviously lying about soliciting gay sex that bothers me. Good bye and good riddance to this guy. Being a Senator is a huge privilege and we ought to expect better than this.

  • Mesa Econoguy

    Where is the hypocritical gay community defending this victim? How come they’re not marching in the streets?

    Because Larry Craig is a Republican, perhaps?

    And where exactly is the Democratic Party on their investigation of their own Mr. Jefferson (D-LA), who was caught with $80,000 in his freezer?

    Unbelievable corruption and hypocrisy.

  • Greg

    1) As you say, sex sells. Especially when it's a Republican caught up in it.

    2) Well yeah, if he's a republican. Republicans still have standards for their pols. So you have raw meat for the media and the republicans joining in.

    3) Because each side loves to criticize the other for hypocrisy. Makes for good politics and mud fights, doesn't it?

    4) Well yeah. Because it was a public bathroom that was getting complaints from people who were tired of walking in on gay activities. Maybe the airport should set aside a private area, just for people like Craig and his buds.

    As for the hypocrisy... the Dems don't care about the sleaze or criminal "problems" of their pols. They only care about where those pols stand on the issues.

  • ArtD0dger

    (4) is the one that creeps me out. Considering the long list of "lewd" actions Craig is accused of, it's obvious the undercover officer was reciprocating or otherwise inviting the signals. Aside from the questionable legality of this practice, what kind of person takes a job where he amorously leads on strangers and then strikes them down in an act of crowning sexual sadism? My guess is one who thinks the handcuffs are a great perk.

  • markm

    Greg's #4 jolted me into remembering that, just a few days before this scandal broke, Megan McArdle asked why airports don't have rooms for short-time rent or showers for travellers who are going from one long flight to another. E.g., I sure could have used that the time I had a 5 hour layover at the Minneapolis airport before a flight to Singapore - especially since it was 3 hours after I boarded the airplane before the replacement airplane finally left the ground. (Note: At least some airports do have a bunk room for military members, and I hear that the Admiral's Club does have such accommodations - it's just far, far out of my price range.)

    But the issue with gay men and sex in public restrooms is that they don't want to wait long enough to go find a room. Or so I hear. E.g., the last time I was around a college, according to faculty gossip one professor was talking about how he'd go to a gay bar and have slam-bang-thank-you-man sex with a half-dozen strangers in the restroom in one evening. Unless the meeting place and bedroom are immediately adjacent, there isn't enough time in one evening to make a half-dozen round trips between.

    I think it's different with women's rooms because if lesbians are anything like heterosexual women, very few want instant anonymous sex. Women's preference for romance also means that heterosexual males are never going to have such an evening - except perhaps at a bordello.

  • markm

    I have heard of police departments pulling off such stings in the restrooms of gay bars - and I think that any police department that has the spare manpower for that is due for a budget cut. For that matter, I wouldn't call the police on men having sex in the restroom of an adults-only establishment catering mostly to straights, unless they got between me and the toilets.

    However, this was an airport bathroom, where children might walk in at any time. That's a good reason for the police to try to stop the sex. I do wonder whether running a sting like this is any more effective than just looking in now and arresting those actually having sex? It's certainly a lot more difficult for a non-perverted officer to do and keep his self-respect.

  • Give the guy a break! If every politician was thrown out of office for lewd or lascivious behavior we'd have no legislators left. Larry Craig happens to live next door to me and I would let him baby-sit my kids any day of the week!

  • Jen

    Is Larry stupid? Surely, an experienced US Senator would know better than anyone that if he is truly not guilty of a crime, he should plead innocent and the justice system will prevail. He had time to think about it, he did not enter a guitly plea until Aug 1. Fear led him to plead guily?? C'mon Larry - you should know better than anyone that this is a great country and individual rights are there for the innocent.