Alex Blaze

Where does Larry Craig go from here?

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 29, 2007 8:28 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: Idaho, Larry Craig, Singing Senators, Suzanne Craig

Well, that's the $64,000 question. In his press conference yesterday he implies that he's going to try to fight it:

"In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it. Because of that, I have now retained counsel and I am asking my counsel to review this matter and to advise me on how to proceed," Craig said.

Much more after the jump.

But ABC says that he doesn't stand a chance:

It would be a rare case in Minneapolis if Craig were permitted to withdraw his guilty plea. Jeff Mohr, a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, told ABC News, "It's a final thing. If you put in a plea, that's usually that. Unless there are some really unusual circumstances, you wouldn't be able to withdraw it."

If there were some procedural errors in the handling of his case, the senator may have an option to withdraw the plea, Mohr said. If, for example, Craig didn't understand his right to a lawyer and trial, or understand the charge against him, or knowingly and voluntarily waive his rights, he might have a basis to withdraw his plea.

Not that it would change much since the $575 fine wasn't much and the real vindication he needs is outside the law.

Then there's the issue of his personal life. One of his close friends indicates that he's pretty good at hiding these things:

A longtime neighbor of Craig was also shocked. Ed Johnson, the openly gay assistant director of the American Humanists Association, said that Craig stays on a boat next to Johnson's marina.

"I've known Larry socially for about 10 years, maybe, it's been awhile. It's hard for me to imagine [the rumors]," said Johnson. "I work for a very progressive organization and I'm a very liberal gay man. I wouldn't hesitate to out him if I've ever heard anything. It's just hard for me to imagine."

And his staffers don't believe a word of it:

"Larry Craig has integrity, is credible and I know he has done the best thing he can," former campaign aide John Keenan told "I do not believe the allegations and neither do the people I've talked to -- current and former staffers."

I haven't read anything yet from his wife, Suzanne, but she's stood by him and she has to have known about the allegations and rumors that have been circling for some time now.

Professionally, he's already resigned as Senate co-chair of Romney for President, and he wasn't receiving any flowers on the way out:

Romney: Yeah, I think it reminds us of Mark Foley and Bill Clinton. I think it reminds us of the fact that people who are elected to public office continue to disappoint, and they somehow think that if they vote the right way on issues of significance or they can speak a good game, that we'll just forgive and forget. And the truth of the matter is, the most important thing we expect from elected--an elected official is a level of dignity and character that we can point to for our kids and our grandkids, and say, `Hey, someday I hope you grow up and you're someone like that person.' And we've seen disappointment in the White House, we've seen it in the Senate, we've seen it in Congress. And frankly, it's disgusting.

Ouch! We'll save that Romney quotation for when his extra-marital partners come out of the woodwork.

As for his Senate seat, he's said that he's going to stick around for another month and see what happens. Conservatives are calling for his head (it's so much easier to pretend to be outraged and dissociate yourself from someone like this than to actually examine what brought him to that bathroom, like rampant homophobia). mcjoan sums it up:

So he's going to try to stick it through until next month when he makes his decision on whether to retire as planned. But Craig is so severely damaged by this incident, and the decades of rumors about him, that I don't see how it can possible fly among Idaho Republicans. He might not be out today, but he's not going to last through a primary election next year.

And about his seat:

The Democratic field has cleared for Larry LaRocco, former staffer to Senator Church, and former U.S. Representative for ID-01. LaRocco is a credible, experienced, and energetic candidate. Having as solid a candidate in place in this race as LaRocco will encourage national fundraising.

What will the Republicans do? A handful of national analysts, including Chris Cillizza and The Politicker's Steve Kornacki are suggesting U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02) will get the nod from Governor Butch Otter. Simpson has taken himself out of the race, though this was just in response to the possibility of Craig retiring. Running in next year's primary after having served in an interim capacity would be much more attractive than duking it out with all comers from an equal footing. But Lt. Gov. Jim Risch was the first to announce and is generally regarded as first in line for the seat by Idahoans.

I'd love to see a bloodbath of a Republican primary for this seat, but I expect the party will do everything in its power to avoid that. There's not much they can do about an opportunistic Bill Sali or Sali type jumping in. In fact, there's already one who announced last month. We'll see how well the party, already experiencing significant internal strife, can keep this one under control.

And his singing career? Well, that's in God's hands, not the one under the stall partition.

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