Craig's Tryst


In case you hadn't heard…

Sen. Larry Craig, who in May told the Idaho Statesman he had never engaged in homosexual acts, was arrested less than a month later by an undercover police officer who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him in an airport men's room.

The arrest at a Minnesota airport prompted Craig to plead guilty to disorderly conduct earlier this month. His June 11 encounter with the officer was similar to an incident in a men's room in a Washington, D.C., rail station described by a Washington-area man to the Idaho Statesman. In that case, the man said he and Craig had sexual contact.

Craig, a drab-but-busy senator who cast key votes to reform the USA PATRIOT Act, has fought off rumors of a gay lifestyle for more than two decades. Gay Patriot says Craig should resign:

When I saw the headline, I thought it was a reference to old unsubstantiated reports about the Senator seeking sexual liaisons in public restrooms.

Given those reports (which now apparently have more substance than I once believed), this man should have been understood that people were aware of his unsavory behavior. That he continued (despite the reports) suggests a terrible lapse in judgment. Terrible.

But, again, Craig had been rumored to hunt for sex in bathrooms for a very long time. In the run-up to the 2006 election activist Mike Rogers tried to spread this story, "outing" him (scare quotes because Rogers said "I won't say he's gay. Maybe he's bisexual. I will say he has sexual encounters with men.") Gay Patriot thanks Rogers for exposing Craig before he could… hah, kidding! Gay Patriot blasted Rogers like this:

That there are those on the left who would attempt to play into the prejudices of the most anti-gay forces in our society in order to help defeat the GOP shows that they are more interested in advancing their own partisan agenda than in respecting the private lives — and personal choices — of individual gay men and women. For them, it's all politics. (I've said this before. As have countless others.) While they may express noble sentiments about helping gay people, they could care less about gay individuals who happen to be Republican.

It's pretty clear that Craig shouldn't have denied Rogers' charges last year: He was simply no good at sublimating his desires, and he's getting no forgiveness from Republicans. They've moved swiftly from denouncing the craven Democrats to plotting for Craig's Senate replacement. 

If Craig heads for the door, this is how I want to remember him:

Republican Sen. Larry Craig is citing Hillary Clinton as the reason he opposes renewing the Patriot Act in its current form, saying Mrs. Clinton is likely to abuse the security measure if she becomes president - unless additional safeguards are built in.

"There will come a day when there will not be a George W in the White House," Sen. Craig warned, after calling top conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday to explain his position. "And tragically enough, and I hope never, it could be a Hillary Clinton."

Craig wondered aloud: "Who will be her attorney general, and what might he or she do to your liberties and mine? There's the question."

The Idaho Republican told Limbaugh: "You know, I've been here a little while, and I remember Janet Reno, and I remember Waco and Ruby Ridge."