"A Benumbed Nation Can Only Look on in Horror at What Has Become of the Democratic Party."

He's taking the expected whacks from the conservative blogosphere, but Glenn Greenwald's roundup of October 2006 commentary on Larry Craig makes for interesting reading. When professional "outer" Mike Rogers claimed to have proof of Craig trawling for sex in bathrooms, the reaction ripped the first two plays from Kubler-Ross: Denial and anger.

The most hysterical outrage of all was from Glenn Reynolds, who went so far as repeatedly to predict -- literally -- that the country would be so repulsed by Rogers' reporting that it might actually swing the election in favor of the Republicans. More absurdly still, Reynolds cited a grand total of two reasons why he voted for GOP's Bob Corker over Harold Ford in the Tennessee Senate race, one of which was actually Rogers' report on Craig ("the sexual McCarthyism from the pro-outing crowd... has convinced me that [Democrats] just don't deserve a victory with those tactics").

As usual, Bush-supporting bloggers like Ann Althouse and Patterico dutifully echoed Reynolds' line: "I truly believe this sort of tactic is going to create a backlash." Identically, Michelle Malkin's Hot Air actually convinced itself, as Reynolds did, that the Craig report was so despicable that it might save the GOP from defeat...

Greenwald, as is his way, ropes in some bloggers who weren't so egregious. (Although Reynolds' "I'm voting Republican because Democratic bloggers outed some people" post remains a monument to weirdness. [UPDATE: See below.]) I still wonder how much the more partisan bloggers calling for Craig's ouster were considering politics ten months ago and are considering politics now. Dean Barnett and Hugh Hewitt are Romney backers, and Craig's endorsement of their man makes Romney look bad. Patrick Ruffini realizes that Republicans will hold Craig's seat if he resigns.

Maybe most importantly, Craig was an apostate on two important issues: He favored immigration reform and, like most of Idaho, he wanted to roll back some of the PATRIOT Act. It's not true, as Matt Yglesias says, that Craig is a "bad senator" who'll be replaced by "another conservative Republican who's just as bad." His replacement will probably be less independent and less libertarian on those issues.

UPDATE: I missed Reynolds' response to this:

I see that Glenn Greenwald has a "remarkably boring and windy post" accusing me of hypocrisy over the Larry Craig affair. No. Craig got himself in trouble here; what I was objecting to in the past were organized Democratic efforts to out gay Republicans for political gain. That's hardly the same thing. If Glenn Greenwald were to find himself in similar trouble I would shed no more tears than I have for Craig; if I felt that GOP operatives had arranged the story to discredit Greenwald, I'd regard it as a dirty political trick.

My tongue was located in the general cheek region when I described Reynolds' 2006 post as "I'm voting Republican because Democratic bloggers outed some people." That was only part of Reynolds' explanation for backing Bob Corker over Democrat Harold Ford. I'll excerpt:

Ultimately the combination of Ford's "F" rating on gun rights and the sleazy "outing" behavior of the Democrats was such that I just felt I had to vote Republican in this race... Not long ago I was thinking that a Democratic majority in Congress wouldn't be so bad; but the sexual McCarthyism from the pro-outing crowd, coupled with the Dems' steadfast refusal to offer anything useful on national security, has convinced me that they just don't deserve a victory with those tactics. That's not Ford's fault, either, really. But I just don't think the Democrats are ready for a majority right now. We'll see how many other voters agree.

Reynolds is saying what Greenwald was claiming he said, that Democrats deserved to suffer for exposing Republicans' sex lives to win votes. But his outrage in both cases was genuine.

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  • Republican Party||

    No fair, we're the ones who are supposed to use dirty tricks to win elections.

  • ||

    I really can't imagine what trivialities are being used to take "whacks" at Greenwald--that post is absolutely devastating. Some of those before and after statements couldn't be more hilariously opposed if they knew he was going to be outed a year lated and wanted to be hilarious on purpose

  • ||

    To heck with the gays, I want to see the agnostics and athiests outed. I'd guesstimate there are 50-100 of them in congress. Hypocrits tick me off.

  • semm||

    Sock-Puppeteer Gleenwald is a dunce. I can't believe people pay him any attention. Glenn Reynolds has never been in a state of hysterical outrage in all the years I've read his blog. The guy is cool as can be.

    The veracity of Rogers reporting seems besides the point. I find what he tries to do to be gross. Partisans love it when a hypocrite gets found out though, which is why they can put aside the feelings of disgust they would have if Rogers where going after anyone but their political opponents.

  • ||

    It's a race to see whom will become Craig's greatest critics? Liberals for his hypocrisy or Republicans who are outraged because Craig is (or presumed to be) gay?

  • Abdul||

    Greenwald's comparing apples and oranges. Mike Rogers' accusations were unsubstantiated. Only now, in light of Craig's guilty plea, do they have any credibility. What does Greenwald suggest is the proper response to unsubstantiated accusations? That a political party abandon and renounce anyone against whom such accusations are made?

    Reynold's post is far more sensible by comparison. I'm sure the accusations that Clinton had Vince Foster murdered lost the GOP more support then it gained them. If the Democrats are supposed to be the party of respecting privacy and chaving compassion for sexual minorities, but go on benders where they invade privacy without compassion, ordinary voters will smell the hypocrisy.

  • ||

    Look, Idaho will have a Republican. They could nominate a chicken, even one slightly baked, and if it had a (R) beside its name it would win. So having said that we could only get worse than Craig, who actually had some principles in the Senate chambers (just lacking in the public bathrooms)...Of course, if I'm a Dem I cry "family values, eh?" til the roof comes down (in relation to Vitter too). But when all is said and done, a worse replacement for Craig is all but certain...

  • Episiarch||

    Accusing Reynolds, who is level-headed almost all the time, of being hysterical is stupid. Glenn may not follow the reason line all the time, but he's pretty damn good overall.

    Greenwald is an idiot, and though that doesn't mean he can't make a good point, he has a bug up his ass about Reynolds and it shows.

  • ||

    Why doesn't Vitter resign too?

  • ||

    Abdul, Greenwald specifically addresses your argument with the fact that none of the conservative commentators had any substantiative reasons the disbelieve the piece, and the majority of them made no accusations about its falsehood. This is because, of course, everyone and his mother knew that Craig was a 'mo going on back to the early eighties. Much like Foley, his ability to stay in office and vote R completely overrode his private sexual predilictions. A useful fagiot, if you will

  • ||

    Greenwald's comparing apples and oranges. Mike Rogers' accusations were unsubstantiated. Only now, in light of Craig's guilty plea, do they have any credibility. What does Greenwald suggest is the proper response to unsubstantiated accusations? That a political party abandon and renounce anyone against whom such accusations are made?

    Greenwald addresses this argument. He pointed out that the complaint with Rogers' report was generally not that it may not be true, but rather that people like Craig should not be outed.

  • ||

    From the linked Instapundit post:

    But when push came to shove, I voted for Corker. I liked him, too, and ultimately the combination of Ford's "F" rating on gun rights and the sleazy "outing" behavior of the Democrats was such that I just felt I had to vote Republican in this race. (In our interview, Corker said he'd look favorably on federal legislation to require states to recognize each others' gun-carry permits.)


    Far cry from "I'm voting Republican because Democratic bloggers outed some people".

  • ||

    Reynolds was being hysterical if he really thought that Roger's accusation was going to swing the election back to the GOP. No rational person would have thought that.

  • Jesse Walker||

    "Greenwald's comparing apples and oranges. Mike Rogers' accusations were unsubstantiated. Only now, in light of Craig's guilty plea, do they have any credibility."

    From Greenwald's post: A couple of commenters have mounted a predictable though clearly baseless defense -- namely, that the difference between October and now is that back then it was merely rumor but it is now confirmed. Simply read the posts I linked to. The outrage at Rogers was not based -- certainly not principally -- on the premise that his report was unconfirmed. The crux of the condemnation, often the exclusive argument, was that Rogers' report about Craig was completely irrelevant even if it were true, because it was only about Craig's private sexual behavior, which should be immune from public consideration.

  • Valtrex Princess Desmond||

    Ah yes another Republican closet case has the door pulled open. Big surprise. When will the RNC buy some new Gaydar equipment? Just when I thought all hope was lost though, The Washington Post posted a step-by-step plan to rebuild Larry Craig's credibility... I don't think it'll work, but it's always worth a try.

  • dhex||

    i will forever be confused by this need of people who engage in illicit/naughty/otherwise forgettable and generally not all that interesting activity who then climb to public office and pursue legislation that runs counter to their private life as a illicit/naughty/otherwise forgettable and generally not all that interesting person.

    what the living hell is that about? a desire to be caught?

  • Bhh||

    I think it's more - "I'm so not gay I'm going to write laws against it. See, that means I'm not gay." Or a gambler, drunk, porn addict, etc.

    I've just been assuming any preacher or politician who goes on and on and on about teh gays is. Why else would it be churning around in their heads so much? Lazy stereotypes exist because they have a bit of truth.

  • ||

    I nominate Senator Larry Craig as the best tap dancer in the Senate since George Murphy left.

  • ||

    Does Larry C hum in a few bars?

  • ||

    I'll read Greenwald when he learns how to write. Turgid, convoluted, interminable, and illogical are not selling points for a blog entry.

  • ||

    I wrote a couple sentences to clarify the Reynolds claims and where I thought he was right and wrong, but I realized it's kind of useless. Greenwald and Weigel are basically one and the same -- never let what somebody actually said get in the way of snarking over what you wish they had.

  • ||

    "Greenwald and Weigel are basically one and the same -- never let what somebody actually said get in the way of snarking over what you wish they had."

    Josh - you are absolutely correct.

    Mr. Weigel - will you please stop tapping Mr. Greenwald's shoe under the stall?

  • ||

    i will forever be confused by this need of people who engage in illicit/naughty/otherwise forgettable and generally not all that interesting activity who then climb to public office and pursue legislation that runs counter to their private life as a illicit/naughty/otherwise forgettable and generally not all that interesting person.

    what the living hell is that about? a desire to be caught?



    My take is that it is shame and the self loathing at continuing behavior that you think is shameful. "If I help make it illegal maybe then I can finally stop" kind of thing.

    (BTW, I don't believe it is shameful to be gay)

  • ||

    Clearly Reynold's brought up the Rogers / Craig thing when talking about his vote in the Tennessee race. He talked about concealed carry and Craig (who is from Idaho and has absolutly zero bearing in the TN race).

    Greenwald and Weigel may have snarked, but you can't deny Reynolds brought it up.

  • Dave Weigel||

    Mr. Weigel - will you please stop tapping Mr. Greenwald's shoe under the stall?

    I'm pretty thrilled at how fast that term's entered the lexicon.

    The answer is no.

  • S.A. Miller||

    Ah it is alright Weigel, we all know you just have a wide stance.

  • DannyK||

    I like Greenwald very much, but I wish he'd let up on the posts where he points to stupid or offensive things that Michelle Malkin or Glenn Reynolds or whoever said. It's pointless, endless and distasteful, like counting the pimples on a McDonalds fry cook's nose.

    But you can't blame Greenwald for digging up every talking point from last year that looks dumb in the current context -- that's just the way the game is played, these days, an endless game of Gotcha! And I think every sentence which contains both "Glenn Reynolds" and "Larry Craig" gets him a point.

  • Gene Berkman||

    It is possible that Larry Craig's replacement will be at least as good as he is on the Patriot Act. If Sen. Craig resigns reasonably soon, the Governor can appoint a replacement. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is a former Congressman, and was one of 3 Republicans in the House to vote against the Patriot Act.

    Hopefully he can find a like-minded Republican to appoint.

  • ||

    My favorite part is how Reynolds transforms "one blogger" into "organized Democratic efforts" without blinking. I swear that Instapundit is an elaborate practical joke.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Somebody in the Slate discussion (linked in an earlier post) mentioned that he thought LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was caught in the men's room in the same manner as Sen. Craig.

    I walked precincts in the Goldwater campaign in 1964, and when Walter Jenkins was arrested, Human Events tried to make a big scandal out of it. Sen. Goldwater refused to take advantage of someone's misfortune, and did not allow the campaign to make a big issue of it.

    Oh for a time when politicians cared about someone's private life being private.

  • Somebody Who Doesn\'t Want to ||

    Somebody in the Slate discussion (linked in an earlier post) mentioned that he thought LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was caught in the men's room in the same manner as Sen. Craig.

    I walked precincts in the Goldwater campaign in 1964, and when Walter Jenkins was arrested, Human Events tried to make a big scandal out of it. Sen. Goldwater refused to take advantage of someone's misfortune, and did not allow the campaign to make a big issue of it.


    This behavior is probably part of why Goldwater lost. If you aren't a dick, don't expect to be elected.

  • ||

    "I have to vote for the Republicans, because I can't stand the Democrats' homophobia" is slightly less plausible than "That episode with that other fella in the men's room was just a big misunderstanding."

  • ||

    You ever read about the Sonderkommando in the Nazi Death Camps? They agreed to operate the machinery of death, in exchange for a few extra months of life and better rations.

    Why am I bringing this up in a thread about Larry Craig, Glenn Reynolds, and closeted homosexuals in the Republican Party?

    No reason.

    Godwin!

  • ||

    Never get in the way of a democrat's hatred of closeted gay men.

  • ||

    "I have to vote for the Republicans, because I can't stand the Democrats' homophobia" is slightly less plausible than "That episode with that other fella in the men's room was just a big misunderstanding."

    Yeah he should have said "I vote Libertarian"....but joe are we to believe that it is impossible to be falsely accused of being gay? By a cop no less? Running an entrapment scheme?

    God it is fun watching you devolve.

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