Several well-placed GOP sources in Washington and Idaho have told CNN that embattled Republican Sen. Larry Craig is likely to resign soon, possibly as early as Friday.
Sen. Larry Craig, shown here in a 2005 photograph, is facing calls to leave the Senate.
GOP sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN's Dana Bash that the Republican National Committee was poised to take the extraordinary step of calling on Craig to resign but held off.
The RNC put the move on hold, the sources said, because top party leaders have received indications that Craig himself is preparing to step down.
So let's see, John McCain, Norm Coleman, Peter Hoekstra, the Log Cabin Republicans, Mitt Romney, the Idaho Values Alliance, and Mitch McConnell, among others, have all called for him to resign. And even Bush refused to defend him, and he's willing to defend people who leak CIA agents' names to the press, people whose incompetence destroy cities, and pathological liars.
Lots more after the jump.
He was also stripped of his committee assignments. This all seems good and fine for the GOP to be standing on principle now, whatever those principles are (to help reduce homophobia so people like Craig can find more appropriate spaces for lovin'? Naw...), and maybe I'm just a cynic, but I'm gong to question their motives here.
Lots of people have been comparing this to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who was accused of hiring a prostitute about a month ago, since this is pretty much a parallel case of an acting Senator being picked up for illegal straight sex. The GOP, of course, hasn't called for him to resign, or most of the other criminals in their party. Of course, the going explanation is this, best expressed by Scott LeMieux:
In the specific case of Hewitt, though, there's probably a more important factor: Louisiana's governor is a Democrat, and Idaho's is a Republican. Craig resigning would mean a Republican incumbent going into the 2008 election; Vitter resigning would mean another Democratic Senator. So no conservative pundit should get credit for standing on principle for demanding that Craig resign, and that goes triple if they haven't made the same call for Vitter (who actually violated the law, although he did so in a more heterosexual way that will help to earn forgiveness from conservatives.)
Another explanation is that Republicans didn't like Craig's position on immigration:
Some conservatives hope Sen. Larry Craig's political career is over -- and not for anything he may or may not have intended in that Minneapolis men's room.
Craig was one of the most powerful Republican supporters of a controversial immigration bill he said was needed to keep an agricultural work force.
Opponents called it amnesty -- some "shamnesty" -- and many of them are hoping Craig may have reached the end of his influential career. Without his support, his "Ag Jobs" idea could languish.
The most convincing explanation for this discrepancy, to me, is worries about 2008. Craig's not going to be the GOP nominee then, we all know that. But if he sticks around till then, then Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, the name getting passed around the most at the moment as Craig's successor if he resigns, can't run as an incumbent, putting him on equal footing as Democrat Larry LaRocco:
Most people are surprisingly gentle with Craig, Schneider said. They just want him gone, and with him, any chance that Democratic hopeful Larry LaRocco could capitalize on the scandal.
"They'd kind of like to see Risch in there so they wouldn't have to worry about LaRocco," Schneider said.
The only explanation for the discrepancy that I can find from a conservative is from Hugh Hewitt, and here it is in its entirety:
I realize that I did not say this about Senator Vitter, but Craig's behavior is so reckless and repulsive that an immediate exit is required.
Deep, dude, deep.
This isn't to say that homophobia also plays an important roll in the differences in reactions and why they're so upset over Larry Craig. But political opportunism? Yeah, it's in there.
Sam Boyd, though, thinks that Craig could stick around, and there really isn't anything at this point preventing him from just going all stubborn and not leaving:
If he can hang on for a while longer Craig might be able to survive indefinitely since news out of Iowa could distract conservatives from his story. A judge in Polk County has ruled the state's gay marriage ban violates the state constitution and thrown it out. At least one gay couple has already been married. A general conservative freakout is sure to ensue and distract from the story of one guy in a bathroom. Alternatively, Craig may stay stubbornly on long after everyone considers his career finished -- Gonzales style.
Wouldn't that be sweet if he stuck around? OK, maybe only if you have a sick sense of humor like I do.