Senator Craig resigns

Well I for one am disappointed — I was truly hoping this would drag out for a long, long time. Partly because this guy is fascinating in a way that fellow vicious, hypocritical Republican lawmakers (Gingrich, Vitter, Ney, Foley, Abramoff, etc etc etc) aren’t, partly because I was looking forward to what Craig was going to do next. What legal recourses are there available to a man who was caught red-handed (so to speak) in a crime, then pleaded guilty, on tape, and paid the fine? That would have been a fine legal proceeding to follow indeed, and would have, I’m guessing, done much to expose the Republicans for what they are — the party of Nero, drunk on absolute power and engaging not just in lewd behavior in public restrooms but, essentially, engaging in any behavior that pleases them. Honestly, at this point it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that George Bush has sex with animals and ritually sacrifices children on a stone altar in the Oval Office.

(The latter is, of course unnecessary — Bush has no need to ritually sacrifice children in the Oval Office, he ritually sacrifices other people’s children every day in Iraq. And don’t think he doesn’t fully realize that and glory in it every day. Face it — The man likes to kill people. His actions in Texas prove that. I’m honestly surprised he never actually sat in on any of the executions he ordered, licking his thin lizard lips as the condemned man/woman made their last convulsions.)

Meanwhile, once-beloved actor and game-show host Ben Stein has, apparently, lost his mind. Stein argues that the Minneapolis police were using Gestapo tactics on poor, innocent Senator Craig. And in case you’re thinking he perhaps is exaggerating or misspeaking, he repeats it — “gestapo, gestapo, gestapo.” Yes, I see now, that’s why Senator Craig resigned — because he did nothing wrong. Yes, it’s all so clear now. It’s not the blatant hypocrisy, it’s not the staggering levels of delusion and denial, it’s not the no-doubt long list of others who would come forward to say that they, too, had had illegal sex with Senator Craig in public restrooms, furthering damaging his reputation and the Republican party. It’s because of the gestapo tactics of the Minneapolis police.

Stein goes on to bravely confess that he’s been to Idaho, as though it were not a large state within the contiguous US, but some exotic, foreign locale. He characterizes Idahoans as nice, innocent people, rather like one would talk about the Tasaday. Then, his rhetorical bucket almost empty, he reaches down and scoops out another bizarre argument, “and so what if he was soliciting gay sex in an airport men’s room? That’s not a crime.” Um, well, except that it is, a misdemeanor specifically, a point the arresting officer makes several times during Craig’s apprehension.

But Stein isn’t done yet. In a stunning WTF moment, he goes on to suggest that the White House is somehow responsible for setting up a sting operation to entrap senator Craig and destroy his career. Hey, listen, I fully believe the Bush White House to be completely capable of executing such an operation — anyone who can blithely order the surveillance of hundreds of millions of innocent Americans and the torture of American whistleblowers is clearly capable of anything — but I can’t for the life of me figure out why they would do it to Craig instead of, say, you know, A POLITICAL ENEMY instead of a loyal Republican who, as far as I know, served his party and constituency with honor and integrity for thirty years.

In fact, now that I’m thinking about it (it’s always dangerous to think too much about the Republican mindset), I have no idea what the hell Stein is talking about. The issue of Larry Craig is, first and last, the hypocrisy.  There is nothing else to make the story interesting.  I AGREE: there’s nothing wrong with men having sex with each other. HOWEVER: there is a law against soliciting sex in an airport men’s room, and senator Craig BROKE that law, and KNEW he had broken that law, and THEREFORE pleaded guilty and paid his fine. That’s all hunky-dory, and unworthy of a media circus. He didn’t tell his wife or staff or constituency or even his lawyer — well fine, it was an embarrassing predicament to be in.

The only thing that makes the case interesting is that senator Craig is a major, long-standing opponent of gay-rights legislation, and has, with one toe-tap, probably demolished the Republican’s ability to use the threat of gay marriage as a swing-voter (hey, I don’t make up these terms) issue in 2008. That’s why his party has not rallied around him, that’s why they’ve pressured him to resign, now, only days after issuing his stern denial of everything (and I mean everything). Preferably on, say, oh, a Saturday, during a four-day holiday weekend.

But Stein, like all other Republicans today, sees his party’s problems as anything other than their own actions. It’s the newspapers, it’s the cops, it’s the Democrats, it’s the media, it’s Al Qaeda, it’s the pink-gun-toting lesbian gangs.

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12 Responses to “Senator Craig resigns”
  1. ghostgecko says:

    I thought the gay mafia would be the ones setting up the sting operation. Wouldn’t the white house be shooting itself in the foot moreso than it already is by this sort of thing?

    And yeah, Ben Stein has loooooong since taken the last train to loonyville.

    • Todd says:

      I thought the gay mafia would be the ones setting up the sting operation.

      I, personally, am shocked that no one has blamed David Geffen yet.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s all Geffen’s fault

        Ben Stein would have blamed him, but David Geffen has something on him. I’d tell you what, but Ben told me in confidence, so I can’t.

    • Todd says:

      And the nice thing about the train to loonyville is that there is no “last” one — they run 24 hours a day. But it seems that the one that operates out of Washington makes no return trips.

  2. goodtoast says:

    Wait–I thought Craig was going to take this to court to try and overturn his guilty plea?
    I mean he can, but it’s just about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    It would make for some serious prime-time television, though.

  3. Hmmm….

    What exactly is so wrong about having sex in an airport men’s room that it is criminal?

    • Todd says:

      Re: Hmmm….

      I’m not a lawmaker, but I imagine that soliciting sex from strangers in an airport men’s room is, at best, an unwelcome nuisance and, at worst, an incitement to violence (upon the solicitor). I can certainly see why the law is on the books.

      • popebuck1 says:

        Re: Hmmm….

        But as one other columnist said – if asking for sex in public places and getting rejected were a crime, we’d ALL be in jail by now.

        On a more serious note: Women probably have a lot to say about the number of times they turn down unwelcome sexual advances (of various degrees of subtlety/crudity) from straight men, every single day. If that were in and of itself illegal, there’d be a serious jail-cell shortage in this country. Well, a worse jail-cell shortage. But sexual advances from GAY men (no matter how oblique – like, say, foot-tapping in a restroom) are considered SO horrifying, by definition, that the Minneapolis police force sees fit to devote officers to stamping it out. That’s what offends me about this whole deal.

        I’m not a devotee of public restroom sex – I consider it a privilege of living in 2007 America that I, as a gay man, have a lot more options open to me than that. But I feel sympathy, at least to a certain degree, for someone as pathetically closeted as Larry Craig, who feels that it’s his only option for fulfillment. And I don’t think it’s any of the police’s business, in the long run. Still glad it happened to a “Family Values” Republican, though.

        • Todd says:

          Re: Hmmm….

          One of the things that made the Craig story so perfect was that it is exactly politicians like him who create an environment where closeted men have to solicit sex in public bathrooms.

          • ghostgecko says:

            Re: Hmmm….

            Not to mention the nasty ol’queen helped with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policiy, which doesn’t mean you just have to keep your mouth shut about being gay, it also allows the military can investigate you and basically browbeat you into admitting it. I wonder how many people lost their jobs because of that crap?

        • Todd says:

          Re: Hmmm….

          Women probably have a lot to say about the number of times they turn down unwelcome sexual advances (of various degrees of subtlety/crudity) from straight men, every single day.

          But I would say that making an unwelcome sexual advance to a woman in a public restroom is not the same as doing so on the street or in a bar or in an office. The whole thing about a public restroom is that it’s a designated public “private zone.” You go into a public restroom and you can reasonably expect to be left alone, no matter what your sex or orientation.

  4. autodidactic says:

    I’m originally from D.C., and grew up with the black and gay communities there. (A little bit of overlap.) I would hear all kinds of stories about how Republicans were really into their hookers of both sexes. The consensus was that Democrats were either having better sex at home, or they were too broke to afford hookers.

    Ben Stein lost his mind a long time ago. That’s okay, though. The Visine commercials should keep him in Kospiracy-Ade until he’s in diapers again.