Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Larry Craig, please go

I took your side last year, in the initial "outing" fight with a despicable gay blogger and the leftist moonbats that hate men like us. And I avoided comment on your legal troubles when they were reported, partly because I wasn't blogging at the time, but also because you quickly fell on your sword and because the sin of anonymous sex is not something on which I have a clean rap sheet.

But last week, you went back on your word to resign if a judge didn't let you withdraw your guilty plea, to disorderly conduct in a bathroom-sex sting. You say you can effectively represent Idaho (after being stripped of your committee leadership assignments?) and because staying in the Senate will give you an opportunity to "prove my innocence" or "clear my name."

The problem is that you don't have evidence that proves your innocence beyond reasonable doubt. If you did, we'd have heard about it long ago. I can only imagine two kinds of things that would suffice at this point, with a guilty plea entered and so the de-facto burden becoming "prove your innocence": (1) a videotape from that Minneapolis airport bathroom that shows the officer accosting you, and you saying "no, I'm not interested in your homosexual come-on, sir. I am not gay"; or (2) proof that your guilty plea was forged -- handwriting samples, letters between the judge and the cops saying "let's frame Larry Craig," proof you were in Australia on the day of the Idaho-postmarked personal note through which you pleaded guilty in Minnesota.

Quite apart from their inherent unlikeliness, we know from the absence of their mention during the hearing where you tried to withdraw your guilty plea that such evidence does not exist. So in the presumed absence of dramatic new evidence, we know that all we'll hear in any attempt to "prove your innocence" is "I was misinterpreted"; "I'm not gay / I love my wife"; "my plea was just a hush bid"; "this was not a crime," etc.

Any Senate ethics commission hearings, which you say you hope to use as a forum to clear your name, will not clear you. (1) There's the inherent evidentiary problems already mentioned; (2) you lack Republican-colleague support or supportive local clamor; (3) three Democratic enemies will be judging you; (4) these panels aren't really investigatory panels in themselves¹; and (5) what they have a tendency to become is a political circus, grist for sordid tabloid headlines about games of hide the cigar or kick the toilet paper.

Your only hope was a plain factual injustice, firmed up by overwhelming support in your own party and doubts in the other. You have neither. In short, if this was false, you had your chance to deny it before the Minnesota court and you chose not to. Bathroom-cruising is now a fact about you, true or not.

As the Los Angeles Times article I linked to above indicates, you have little support in the Senate. And you have become a national punchline even outside the context of political junkies, like Howard Dean's AGHGHGHGH moment made him "that weirdo that growled a lot" and sank his 2004 campaign. You're now, as this ABC News icon indicates, "the gay bathroom senator." Just today, at my job, a coworker said to me, completely outside any homosexual-related matter², that "you look as happy as Larry Craig in a bathroom."

If you have any loyalty to the Republican Party or to conservative principles, you'll simply get off the national stage now, and give your state party and the Republican successor whom the governor will appoint a year to let your 15 minutes of fame fade away, live you down, and keep your seat that you're already planning on giving up. (You are gonna follow through on THAT promise, right?) Republicans should not have a tough fight to keep Idaho Senate seat. Your continued presence assures that we will.
¹ They are more expert at judging and weighing facts given to them by outside investigators, whether the FBI, the Capitol Police or special prosecutors like Ken Starr or Patrick Fitzgerald. Or in legalese, they are like an appeals court in that they defer to other fact-finders, where they exist.
² Well, not exactly. I was expressing my delight at Camille Paglia's latest Salon column being up.

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