Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Senator Larry Craig: The Passionate Conservative - Take II

Hmmm, just when you thought it was safe to vote with a conscience again, here comes another "news of the weird" type story that makes you want to stay home on election day. Not that I recommend that of course, but maybe I'd understand it.

Idaho Senator Larry E. Craig pleaded guilty earlier this month to misdemeanor disorderly-conduct charges stemming from his June arrest by an undercover police officer in a men's restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, a court spokeswoman and the senator's office said yesterday.

Craig issued a statement confirming his arrest and guilty plea, which were reported in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. But the Idaho Republican maintained that he had not engaged in any "inappropriate conduct" and that the airport police misunderstood his behavior.

Roll Call, citing a copy of a report by airport police, said officers had been conducting a sting operation inside the men's room because of complaints of sexual activity there. The police report gives this account of the arrest:

The undercover officer was monitoring the restroom on June 11. A few minutes after noon, Craig entered and sat in the stall next to him. Craig began tapping his right foot, touched his right foot to the left foot of the officer and brushed his hand beneath the partition between them. He was then arrested.

While he was being interviewed about the incident, Craig gave police a business card showing that he is a U.S. senator. "What do you think about that?" Craig asked the officer, according to the report obtained by Roll Call.
Wow, talk about pulling rank. This isn't much better than the "do you know who I am?" defense used by many pro athletes, including one who famously showed his playing card when asked for a driver's license that he didn't have on him. Sorry, I don't have a link to that story, but trust me, it happened.
In 2006, a gay activist said he had spoken with men who had sexual encounters with Craig, including in the restrooms at Union Station. Craig's office told the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., that the allegations were "completely ridiculous." Craig is married and has three grown children.

The activist, Mike Rogers, who runs the Web site BlogActive.com, has complained about Craig's opposition to gay rights. The conservative senator has supported an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s. Craig, who served in the National Guard, has also spoken out against homosexuals serving in the military.
That the guy voted against same-sex marriage and spoke out against "don't ask, don't tell" is hypocritical as hell obviously, but not exactly surprising. After all, if his constituents have wondered for years if he went the other way, it's fair to say that voting for such measures would only intensify these suspicions. You don't see suspected racists voting against affirmative action do you?

Ok, bad example. Anyhow...

Between David Vitter, Mark Foley, and Randall Tobias, this has hardly been a banner year for conservatives leading double lives. Then again, it's not like Democrats are any better. Two prominent California politicians, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have their own extra-marital dilemmas, so, let's just say getting your freak on within the realm of marriage is a bipartisan issue.

Note to Senator Craig: Get some help. And a new career while you're at it.

GOP Senator Pleaded Guilty After Restroom Arrest [WaPost]

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