Ellen Andersen

Pondering Larry Craig

Filed By Ellen Andersen | September 05, 2007 12:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: cruising for sex, gay Republicans, Larry Craig, Minnesota, police entrapment

This just in: Sen. Larry Craig of bathroom-bust fame is now reconsidering his decision to resign from the U.S. Senate. He's hired Stanley Brand, a prominent ethics lawyer, to handle the ethics investigation under way in the Senate. And he's hired Billy Martin, the criminal defense attorney who represented Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in his dogfighting case, to examine the Minneapolis case. It seems that Minnesota law permits the withdrawal of a guilty plea if doing so is "necessary to correct a manifest injustice," and apparently Sen. Craig feels that what's happened to him lately is manifestly unjust.

Now I'll admit to some mixed emotions about the Larry Craig case. The LGBT-rights advocate in me is delighting in the poetic justice of an anti-gay legislator getting busted for trying to cop some same-sex lovin' in a restroom. The partisan Democrat would love to see the Craig bruhaha drag on and on and on. At the same time, I feel real pity for a man driven by who seems to be so consumed by self-loathing that he's reduced to seeking anonymous bathroom sex while publicly denouncing the concept of equality for LGBT people. I also question the priorities of the Minneapolis police department. It seems clear to me that the signaling Craig engaged in was specifically designed to be understood only by other men also seeking anonymous bathroom sex. While the enterprise strikes me as degrading and gross (unless men's bathrooms are significantly cleaner, spacious, and more comfortable than the women's loo, LOL), this kind of solicitation isn't publicly disruptive, because the general public is never even aware of it.

But complicated emotions aside, does the man really expect to salvage his political career? Leaving aside the fact that he's deeply embarrassed the Republican leadership, which has thrown him out as though he were so much bathwater, AND leaving aside the fact that he's already, you know, kind of resigned, he's clearly proved he hasn't got the judgment of a cocker spaniel and shouldn't be trusted with making decisions more weighty than picking a restaurant. Consider the following:

  1. He got arrested on June 11th and entered a guilty plea on August 8th. In the interim, he apparently never talked to a lawyer, who would have told him that there were several potential grounds to get the charges dismissed, or at configured in such a way that they would not show up on his criminal record.
  2. He pleaded guilty under a mistaken impression that he could keep the charges quiet, notwithstanding the fact that the plea agreement specifically stated that the disorderly conduct charge would appear on his criminal record. He's a Senator, folks. We expect him to be able to read and comprehend basic English.
  3. When questioned about why he pleaded guilty and why he didn't consult a lawyer, he explained that the Idaho Statesman's "witchhunt" into allegations about his sexual orientation had caused him to "overreact and make a poor decision." This would be the classic slo-mo overreaction. The one that takes nearly two months to manifest itself.
Higher order reasoning and logic at its finest. We're in good hands with minds like that in the Senate.

News flash: According to Politico.com, Craig's possible reversal is royally pissing off his GOP colleagues. Here's my favorite quote: "'It simply defies reality,' said a Senate GOP aide. 'You can't make this up even if you are heavily medicated.'"

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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | September 5, 2007 2:27 PM

I'm not all that up on the relevant criminal law or precedure, certainly not for Minnesota, but assuming that he does wish to enter into proceedings to withdraw his guilty plea, he would have to put himself sufficiently under Minnesota jurisdiction to be charged with the greater offense of lewd conduct/solicitation that doesn't appear to have been pursued in return for his plea. Or there could still be prosecution of the lesser offense. In one or both instances it may well be difficult for Minnesota to establish, but especially in a solicicitation/lewed conduct proceedings it then would appear to make relevant some questions concerning knowledge of "signals", why he may have been in a more remote area of the terminal, etc. My guess is that Craig is really pissed at the way he was quickly and summarily dumped without so much as an acknowledgement of his "long service to the Senate", etc. by his colleagues. And Senator Specter appears to have a score to settle, also. This could just be the gift that keeps on giving.

See a tongue-in-cheek visual of Senator Craig taking a new stance...here:


Michael Bedwell | September 5, 2007 4:09 PM

Great line, Don: "This could just be the gift that keeps on giving."

I've heard a lot of heartbreaking "why I'm still in the closet" stories over the years. I've seen rivers of tears flow; watched men be emotionally blackmailed for contact with their own children when they came out to their wives, and personally known of suicides. But a bad dare I say evil man is no less bad/evil for experiencing the same pain as many of us do while few of us make the choices impacting the quality of life of OTHERS that Craig did. Let kinder hearts than mine wish him well.

• Craig voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
• Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
• Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
• Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
• Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
• Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)
• Rated 100% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
• Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
• Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
• Voted YES on Amendment to prohibit flag burning. (Dec 1995)
• Voted YES on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds. (Jul 1995)
• Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
• Rated 25% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
• Voted NO on $52M for "21st century community learning centers". (Oct 2005)
• Voted NO on $5B for grants to local educational agencies. (Oct 2005)
• Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)
• Voted NO on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction. (Apr 2001)
• Voted YES on $75M for abstinence education. (Jul 1996)
• Voted YES on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer. (Jul 1994)
• Voted NO on national education standards. (Feb 1994)
• Rated 20% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
• Voted YES on rejecting racial statistics in death penalty appeals. (May 1994)
• Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)
• Voted NO on continuing desert protection in California. (Oct 1994)
• Voted NO on factoring global warming into federal project planning. (May 2007)
• Voted NO on disallowing an oil leasing program in Alaska's ANWR. (Nov 2005)
• Voted NO on $3.1B for emergency oil assistance for hurricane-hit areas. (Oct 2005)
• Voted NO on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%). (Jun 2005)
• Voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
• Voted NO on targeting 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010. (Jun 2003)
• Voted NO on removing consideration of drilling ANWR from budget bill. (Mar 2003)
• Voted YES on drilling ANWR on national security grounds. (Apr 2002)
• Voted YES on defunding renewable and solar energy. (Jun 1999)
• Voted YES on do not require ethanol in gasoline. (Aug 1994)
• Voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)
• Voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence. (Mar 2004)
• Voted NO on background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
• Voted YES on more penalties for gun & drug violations. (May 1999)
• Voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows. (May 1999)
• Voted YES on maintaining current law: guns sold without trigger locks. (Jul 1998)
• Rated A+ by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. (Dec 2003)
• Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Apr 2007)
• Voted YES on limiting medical liability lawsuits to $250,000. (May 2006)
• Voted NO on expanding enrollment period for Medicare Part D. (Feb 2006)
• Voted NO on increasing Medicaid rebate for producing generics. (Nov 2005)
• Voted NO on negotiating bulk purchases for Medicare prescription drug. (Mar 2005)
• Voted NO on allowing patients to sue HMOs & collect punitive damages. (Jun 2001)
• Voted YES on funding GOP version of Medicare prescription drug benefit. (Apr 2001)
• Voted NO on including prescription drugs under Medicare. (Jun 2000)
• Voted NO on increasing tobacco restrictions. (Jun 1998)
• Rated 0% by APHA, indicating a anti-public health voting record. (Dec 2003)
• Voted NO on implementing the 9/11 Commission report. (Mar 2007)
• Voted NO on preserving habeus corpus for Guantanamo detainees. (Sep 2006)
• Voted NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods. (Sep 2006)
• Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)
• Voted NO on restoring $565M for states' and ports' first responders. (Mar 2005)
• Voted NO on adopting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (Oct 1999)
• Voted NO on allowing another round of military base closures. (May 1999)
• Voted YES on deploying National Missile Defense ASAP. (Mar 1999)
• Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex basic training. (Jun 1998)
• Voted YES on favoring 36 vetoed military projects. (Oct 1997)
• Voted NO on banning chemical weapons. (Apr 1997)
• Voted YES on considering deploying NMD, and amending ABM Treaty. (Jun 1996)
• Voted NO on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Jun 2007)
• Voted YES on repealing Clinton's ergonomic rules on repetitive stress. (Mar 2001)
• Rated 0% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
• Voted NO on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007. (Mar 2006)
• Voted NO on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates. (Sep 2003)
• Voted YES on telecomm deregulation. (Feb 1996)
• Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
• Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
• Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
• Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
• Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)

They say it defies reason, but isn't self-service kinda the whole reason that there is a GOP?

And speaking of his "long service", Don, I think that's what people are most going to remember about this Senator. I'm just waiting for him to receive a standing ovation for it like one Mr. Vitter did. Oh, well.

I'm experiencing much the same conflict that you describe, Ellen. If he were anyone else, I'd probably be there 100% for him. But a conservative Republican anti-gay Senator? That gives me a few "well, but...." moments. I'm working through these contradicting emotions with a healthy dose of junior high immaturity.

Ellen Andersen Ellen Andersen | September 5, 2007 8:26 PM

Darn it, the server just ate my relatively thoughtful comment. So let me just summarize by congratulating Michael on the thoroughness of his research and agreeing with him on the appalling state of Sen. Craig's record.

One additional point: I'm really pretty stunned by the sheer political ineptness of Sen. Craig's decisions over the past few months. And I can't help but wonder how much of it was caused by internalized fear and loathing and how much of it was the product of a more general stupidity...

And I can't help but wonder how much of it was caused by internalized fear and loathing and how much of it was the product of a more general stupidity...

I've wondered this too, Ellen. From all indications, the Senator is not an ignorant man. He's educated. I tend to believe him when he says the Idaho Statesman investigation had him so freaked out that he panicked and just tried to make it go away. I remember the bit I was in the closet as a time where 1) I had figured out that I was gay but 2) I was terrified anyone else would figure it out too.

People make seriously stupid decisions when they're scared - look at George Bush's use of 9/11... And when you look at his actions of the past week, he's got to be running on adrenaline and not much else. His party left him, his worst fear has become public, he's embarrassed and lonely, and I have to bet his home life isn't the best right now!

And then I look at the record that Michael posted above and I just don't give a damn.