Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Closeted Republican Senator Pled Guilty to Bathroom Sex

So the media has finally decided to write on Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) pleading guilty to lewd behavior in the men's bathroom at a Minnesota airport back in June. Roll Call, the insider's paper in DC, finally formally outed Senator Craig recently, although Craig's hometown paper, the Idaho Statesman, has been sitting on the story for months. And this shit has blown up big - his name is all over Google news for having illicit bathroom sex. In an airport, nonetheless! How tawdry of a US Senator. Roll Call via Marc Ambinder:
A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report. At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

So cocky - you would think that if he was truly deeply in the closet, he would try to cover up ANY identifying details and pretend to be a regular Joe instead of rubbing it in the cop's face. But I guess that's typical GOP elected behavior: "Mistakes were made, but I am not responsible, although I wield enormous power."

Meanwhile, Craig's defense was that he should have used a lawyer, and didn't really mean to plead guilty. Yeah, a sitting US Senator didn't know the legal process. The Senate is a process machine! The Mountain Goat Report has the local scoop:

Update 17:11: Craig tried to mitigate his guilty plea with this response to local NBC affiliate, KTVB:

"At the time of the incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct. I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."

It should be noted that from the time of the arrest to the guilty plea was two months. For a politician to not seek legal advice during that time on an incident of this magnitude suggests either incompetence or "scared rabbit" syndrome. Either way this is not good for Craig.

I agree that if he didn't seek legal counsel, it might be because he was too scared of anyone in the legal community finding out and it getting out back home, creating the ripples that we now see.

Wonkette
has this insightful tidbit on a group of Larry Craig supporters and endorsers who are staunchly anti-gay, bemoaning the use of airport restrooms as the gay hookup joint of choice.

Mcjoan over at dailykos has a good analysis of the contenders to replace Craig, and wonders why the Statesman and their lawyers sat on the story, and how a DC insiders' paper decided to place a call to the Hennepin County Records office.

I suspect that Mike Rogers, who writes over at BlogActive, got sick of his investigative work going to naught and slipped a little note over to Roll Call. Rogers has been doing really great reporting on Sen. Craig's faithlessness to his wife for almost a year, and has been harping on Craig in particular because the Senator from Idaho consistently votes against gay rights.

In terms of the political fallout, Senator Craig is definitely resigning, and the Republican Governor would normally name his Lt Gov as the replacement candidate, except that they hate each other with a soap opera passion. So it looks like one Bill Sali might be chomping at the bit to elevate his hatemongering to the next level. Because only by being a US Senator and having a bigger bullhorn to insult Muslims can he truly protect America from the wrath of God. It's a ying and yang - scratch that (too Asian, and foreign) - a perilous balance thing.

But that's Idaho for ya.

PS: The cherry on top is that Craig had to resign as national co-chair for Mitt Romney's campaign.

PPS: The disturbing thing is that even 25 years back, Craig had to combat rumors of improper dealings with Congressional pages (echoes of Foleygate?)

PPPS: I guess this explains why the WH decided to dump Gonzales on a Monday - in between Vick pleading guilty to dogfighting (engages lowest common denominator that cares about sports and violence), and Senator Bathroom Sex (fulfills American need for sex gossip), who cares that the guy who tried to jam illegal wiretaps down our throat is resigning? Hell, I'd rather write about Republican sexual hypocrisies all day than think about the dark deeds that I am sure Alberto and Karl will some day be held accountable for, preferably at Guantanamo. (They and the rest of Bushco can be the sole prisoners.) Uhm, does that mean that I'm swallowing it? I hope not.

Damn you Ed Gillespie - I didn't get why White House insiders were loving your appointment as the new Communications Director, but this is as smart and evil a ploy as it gets. Maybe it wasn't Mike Rogers but actually Gillespie who deftly nudged Roll Call. Cos you know that Craig was gong down anyway, it was just a matter of when, so why not sacrifice a pawn to save a rook?

Does this make you the new Rove? Shit, maybe he's resigning because there's a suitable replacement . . . *cue the horror screams*

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