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I’d rather have strep throat than think too hard about Idaho politics. That is, until a scandal like this Larry Craig mess happens. And then general desire to not think about politics is overcome by incessant media attention, conversations at my usually-politics-free dinner table and questions posed by random strangers throughout my daily routine. Some of those questions are pretty weighty, and despite a crazy amount of press on the subject – from 1A on some of the nation’s most serious newspapers to celebrity gossip blogs – some of those questions haven’t been answered. Like I said, I’m not a pundit. I am neither a muckraker, a pollster, a Democrat, a Republican, a carpetbagger, a politico, a Whig, a hanging chad, a Taoist, nor even a former student council president.

Just a Couple of Questions About the Larry Craig Scandal

I’d rather have strep throat than think too hard about Idaho politics. That is, until a scandal like this Larry Craig mess happens. And then general desire to not think about politics is overcome by incessant media attention, conversations at my usually-politics-free dinner table and questions posed by random strangers throughout my daily routine.

Some of those questions are pretty weighty, and despite a crazy amount of press on the subject – from 1A on some of the nation’s most serious newspapers to celebrity gossip blogs – some of those questions haven’t been answered.

Like I said, I’m not a pundit. I neither a muckraker, a pollster, a Democrat, a Republican, a carpetbagger, a politico, a Whig, a hanging chad, a Taoist, nor even a former student council president.

I distance myself from politics as much as any journalist can, until politics comes at me like a tsunami that wants to wash away all care of the resignation of Alberto Gonzales.

I’m not suggesting that Craig is guilty or innocent, I am just remarking on the widely reported news and commentary – if I have it wrong, please feel free to enlighten me. So here are some wonders about the Craig story that came up during today’s dinner table conversation with friends.

According to the Idaho Statesman (kudos to the paper for all the rad, rapid, in-depth coverage), Craig pled “guilty to a disorderly conduct charge — a plea he hoped would make the charge go away.”

First off, let it be known here and now that I have never committed a crime. If I were charged with a crime, however small, that I didn’t commit, I would never plead guilty to it, no matter how easy it made the results.

Besides, one of my lawyer friends told me you should never admit guilt, even if you think you are at fault. Even if you smashed into the back of someone’s green Camry at a red light because you thought there was a bug on you and made the snap decision to shoo it instead of stepping on the brakes. Even if it turns out there was no bug, just a loose hair, he still suggests one not admit guilt.

Next, CNN reports that Craig admitted he did not seek any counsel from either his attorney or his staff.

Why? I’m just thinking aloud here, but if the dude has his own staff, he probably has a lawyer on it. At least one on retainer. In fact, he must know tons of lawyers, what with being one of the guys who makes the laws. He should know better; anyone who has seen a rerun of CSI knows you shut the piehole until a lawyer shows up.

Also, does anyone else feel kind of sucker punched about the Minneapolis Airport as an anonymous sex haunt? I’ve flown Northwest Airlines countless times, so many layovers in Minneapolis, when did it become a popular stop for illicit sex and how has has news of that never circulated even as an urban legend?

Craig also stated publicly: “I am not gay, I never have been gay.” But that certainly leaves the door open for a change in times to come, c’est vrai?

Another thing, in the Statesman article by Dan Popkey, Craig assures that he isn’t concerned with one’s sexual orientation, noting that he has one homosexual staff member. He told the paper, “I hire people based on their talent and their ability to produce,” which is a totally sound standard. But is that lip service – because why did he vote so many times against gay rights, including an amendment to bar gay marriage and civil unions?

Craig was arrested on June 11, so one might naturally wonder how an arrest of this nature went unnoticed for so long. An article in Editor & Publisher addresses that issue by quoting one Idaho newspaper publisher who says that “a misdemeanor arrest in another state does not always get easily discovered.”

I buy that. But so far, that is one of the only things I am buying right about now.

About J. Gelband

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13 comments

  1. Conservative Culture

    Good points. One of the reasons so many are sooooo skeptical. A lie has become the honored way of keeping yourself safe. Are we at the point that we don’t believe much from many of the politicians we hear… knowing that there is always a motive to cover over the truth?

  2. Your Imagination

    Imagine your deepest and darkest secret. Something you do…
    that you are thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed to admit
    you do or enjoy.

    You wake up tomorrow and see your ‘secret’ on the front
    pages of 1,741 newspapers, worldwide.

    What do you do? There’s no hole deep enough for you to
    climb down into. To make matters worse, you are a ‘respected’
    Senator, husband, and father.

    It would be pretty stupid to wander into a public restroom
    at a random airport… walking into a random stall… and start signaling to the
    guy (police officer, no less) next to you that you are seeking a quick sexual encounter.
    Darn the luck.

    I wonder what it feels like to have 1,000,000s of people all
    talking about your ‘awful secret’.

    I am certainly glad our hero did nothing wrong here, and is totally
    innocent. It’s just a big mistake. He’d be in big, big trouble otherwise.

  3. Disillusioned Ex Voter

    It seems to me that at some time before being elected to federal office, all politicians have sold their soul and cannot be trusted.

    I honestly don’t think there is a nickels worth of difference between a Democrat or a Republican once they are in Washington D.C.

    To me politicians are just ambitious “tell the crowd what it wants to hear” folks who are too lazy to get a real job; and the only thing that casting a vote has ever gotten me is jury duty.

  4. Disillusioned,
    Agreed. Wouldn’t it be calmer, more trust-worthy if we elected people who, rather than asserting their own views, promise to vote on behalf of their constituents’ views (and they’d know the majority opinion because they are local, talking to people, participating in local events, etc.).

  5. Wouldn’t it be better, more civilized, if one could vote for whomever one wanted to provided they were citizens, and of a specified minimum age with no campaigning whatsoever. A list of all eligible people could be prepared and distributed. I know you’ll think it’s not practical because it’s more complicated than that and you’re probably right. But those may be the kind of details that could be worked out. However, the crux of the problem is the so-called professional politician.

  6. I don’t know how I found myself on this site, but I did. Good article, and I’d like to add my two cents:
    Craig seems to be more concerned with denying his homosexuality than he is with denying his crime, as if in his mind being gay is worse than being an elected official caught trying to engage in public sex in an airport bathroom. Even sadder is that his self-hatred has fueled him to staunchly support anti-gay legislation (especially the Hate Crimes bill, which come on now, should be a no-brainer — I get how marriage can get people riled up, but hate crimes? How can you deny that?). We are seeing this time and time again — anyone remember Ted Haggard or Mark Foley? A bunch of damn hypocrites who can’t come to terms that they’re gay.

  7. Okay, so let’s get this straight…

    He’s not gay–he just enjoys occasional sex with strange men in public bathrooms.

    That’s healthier, right??

  8. Last year I spent a five hour layover in the same airport. Things I did to occupy my time included getting through customs, eating at Chilis,reading magazines at the news stands without paying, noticing everyone working there were of the Hmong peoples, and drinking too much scotch at the bar. Damn it never crossed my mind to get some action in the bathroom from my senator.

  9. But clem…

    Your not a senator. Of course it wouldn’t occur to you to troll for sex in a public men’s room.

  10. And now on top of all the other things about modern life I have to worry about, I have to stop my eight year old son going into airport bathrooms because he might be solicited or see some men having sex..really, it’s too much. I suppose I’ll have to warp him for life by making him pee in the ladies.

  11. Yolanda, please don’t make your son pee in the ladies – it’s not hygenic and the ladies might object. He should pee in a toilet or urinal instead.

  12. This really isn’t the first time the allegations about Craig have come up. In his first Congressional term there were the stories of he and a gay Idaho staffer visiting the bathhouses in San Francisco and watching Broadway Musicals. Then came the first Page Scandal in 1982 or so I think. Then there the rumors of the Filipino Houseboy after his marriage. Then it all kind of died down and then Roger’s on the radio last fall brought it up again. Either Craig has the worse luck with this issue (You notice it doesn’t come up about Mike Crapo, Mike Simpson, Butch Otter, Bill Sali) or where there is smoke there is fire. It appears to me the guy needs to man up and figure out who he really is. I could care less if the guy is gay or straight. It does gross me out to think he has been reckless in bathrooms like this.

  13. Idaho has so many serious issues, and this guy was an enemy of the environment, and indifferent to the people at best. Healthcare, living wage – you name it – Idaho is in a terrible state. I hate Craig more for being an elitist, who, let’s face it – as long as money was flowing into the coffers from the lobbyists on Capitol Hill, and he had all those perks going from sitting in a senatorial seat – do you think this guy really gave a damn about anyone? Every couple of years I come up and visit for a couple of months, and man! I know so many people that are just barely hanging on by the skin of their teeth! it makes me want to cry.

    The driving laws, all the laws are really strict, and if you don’t pay your child support, or you don’t pay the ticket or whatever, you can’t drive. And you can’t hunt either, so then that subsistance shooting you were doing to put some food in your family’s stomach you can’t do anymore. You can go and get the gov’t cheese, but who the hell wants to do that?! I mean Craig must have been good for someone but I’d really like to know who besides the top 20% earners – everyone else seems to eat dirt.

    I remember when you guys had that idiot Helen Chenoweth in office – I guess her schtick was acting flamboyant so you wouldn’t notice how often she voted and passed laws that were not in the people’s interest. Okay, I’ll quit now, but you get my drift.

    It would be nice to see someone get office that actually did something for you folks, like at least get the kids some healthcare, or do something about supplementing the subsistance wage. You have the opportunity to do it now – now is the time to get someone in that might actually do something for you. Maybe the Creator had this happen to Craig to get him out of the way for you – maybe he thought it was time to get a populist in.
    🙂 christina