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.