Hillary Clinton

Craig's Tryst

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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."

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  1. I wonder if I’ll get this comment in before Weigel realizes Gillespie already made a Craig related post and deletes this one.

  2. Don’t they pay senators enough to hire escorts?

  3. http://www.instapundit.com/

    AN IMPORTANT QUESTION FROM GREG HLATKY: “If Senator Craig purchased sex offsets to live a sex-neutral lifestyle, would this immunize him from charges of hypocrisy?”

    I really don’t see why not. I don’t know who Greg Klatky is, but he makes a good point.

  4. All that he did was tap his friggin’ feet while sitting on the can, which was interpreted by the bathroom police as a sexual invitation. He pled guilty to disorderly conduct, not lewd behavior.

    I know the Reason writers are in love with pointing out hypocrisy, but that healthy skepticism that y’all demonstrate in other cases should not be totally thrown out the window when a story about a conservative senator being called “gay” comes out.

  5. crimethink –
    please note the additional behaviors of touching his foot to the cop’s foot and sweeping his hand underneath/across the stall divider several times.

  6. If all he did was tap his feet, then crimethink you have a point. I don’t care that the guy is guy. I do care that the pervert is out giving and getting blowjobs in public bathrooms. No one should have to see that. It is not 1955 anymore, there is no excuse in this day and age witht he acceptance of gays for men to be cruising for blowjobs in parks and bathrooms anymore. When is the gay community going to knock this crap off? We don’t excuse it when it is Johns out cruising for street walkers, why do we excuse it for gay men?

  7. Hey, GayPatriot,

    Defeating the Republicans IS “advancing their own partisan agenda than in respecting the private lives – and personal choices – of individual gay men and women.”

    Even your fellow gay Republicans want to force you back into the closet and deny your rights. You see what the closet does to people? You see?

    It’s not Democrats’ fault your party’s voters have been coniditioned to hate gay people. I certainly wouldn’t change my vote just because I heard a candidate was gay.

    BTW, in case you haven’t noticed, it was been gay people who led the charges against hypcrite closet-case Republicans. You’re seriously claiming that THEY are the ones using homophobic politics, and not the people who actively campaign against gay rights? Project much?

  8. crimethink,

    All that he did was tap his friggin’ feet while sitting on the can

    Do you EVER bother to find out facts that aren’t convenient for your preferred political outcome.

    He tapped his foot. And then he played footsie with the cop. And then he swiped his hand under the divider to reach into the cops’ stall several times.

  9. When I was alone then, no love in sight
    And I did everything I could to get me through the night
    Don’t know where it started or where it might end
    I turn to a stranger, just like a friend

    I was looking for love in all the wrong places
    Looking for love in too many faces
    Searching your eyes, looking for traces
    Of what.. I’m dreaming of…
    Hopin’ to find a friend and a lover
    God bless the day I discover
    Another heart, lookin’ for love

    I feel a lot of sympathy for this guy. It must be tough being the only homosexual in Idaho.

  10. John,

    It is not 1955 anymore, there is no excuse in this day and age witht he acceptance of gays for men to be cruising for blowjobs in parks and bathrooms anymore. Not in the Republican Party.

    When is the gay community going to knock this crap off?

    The gay community has knocked this off. Right-wing closet cases who do everything they can to shun “the gay community,” and denounce it at every turn to keep up their cover, on the other hand…

  11. I think Craigs problem is that he is out doing this kind of stuff in public. If he had a boyfriend in private, I don’t think that is anyone’s business regardless of what Craig says. The problem is that when you get busted cruising for sex in a public bathroom, you really can’t bitch about your privacy being invaded.

  12. “Right-wing closet cases who do everything they can to shun “the gay community,” and denounce it at every turn to keep up their cover, on the other hand…”

    Frankly Joe, I have never cruised the bathrooms so I really can’t comment on the politics of those who do. However, I find a bit incredulous to claim that only right wing cloest types are out engaging in such activities.

  13. joe,

    Actually, I was going off the story I linked to last night, which only mentioned the foot-tapping but didn’t contain the additional details, which I would have thought they’d put in there. If Sen Craig actually did the other stuff they say he did, well that’s a bit different.

    In summary: I was wrong, but it wasn’t out of political hackery. TBH, I’m not concerned with protecting the rep of any so-called conservatives (esp. Romney supporters) any more than anyone else.

    Now, if Ron Paul were caught in bed with Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, and Jessica Simpson, I would hack for him. NOT because I want sharesies, either.

  14. When is the gay community going to knock this crap off? We don’t excuse it when it is Johns out cruising for street walkers, why do we excuse it for gay men?

    John, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Very few people are making excuses for this crap, and it is most certainly not the “gay community.”

    I agree that what he does in his private life is his own business. But it’s not private if he’s soliciting sex in the restroom of an airport.

  15. Frankly, I can’t imagine a less sanitary venue for sexual congress than a public restroom. How can anyone possibly get turned on with urine, dirty paper towels and santorum all over the place? Ick.

  16. John,

    Well, there are no doubt some holdovers, older guys who grew up doing this.

    But the dynamic you describe – gay men don’t have to go through these elaborate hoops to hook up anymore – is true. It is becoming a thing of the past, as fewer and fewer gay men feel like they have to be so far in the closet.

    Except, as we keep learning, there is one little subgroup of gay men who seem particularly devoted to that closet. Poor bastards. It must be hell for them.

    This is why talking about gay marriage only as a question of contract law, or employment anti-discrimination laws only in terms of employers’ property rights, isn’t sufficient. It is a horrible evil for people to be compelled to live like this, and that is just as true about opinions and norms as it is for laws.

    I don’t care if every anti-gay law on the books was banished forever; people like Senator Craig still wouldn’t be free.

  17. Joe,

    Maybe he was hoping the other guy could spare a square?

  18. Damn, forgot to close a tag…

    The gay community has knocked this off. Right-wing closet cases who do everything they can to shun “the gay community,” and denounce it at every turn to keep up their cover, on the other hand…

    So, all the gay sex that had been complained about before this instance was engaged in by right-wing closet cases? Fascinating.

  19. And I see my point has been asked and answered.

    Damn squirrels.

  20. crimethink,

    I didn’t think you were shilling for Republicans, just that you were knee-jerk dismissing the police’s actions as unreasonable and baseless.

    You…you…LIBERTARIAN you!

  21. LIT,

    Were you to ever find yourself in that situation, wouldn’t you make pretty damn sure there were no misunderstandings?

    “I was afraid he was going to fall down and hurt himself. The man’s pants were around his ankles for God’s sake!”

  22. joe,

    I would, but then again I’m not old, senile and gay.

  23. Craig: “I was only tapping my foot because I had a catchy tune stuck in my head.”

    Friend: “Which tune?”

    Craig: “‘Relax,’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.”

  24. When you put yourself out into the public on an issue, you by definition open your own life up. Yeah it is this guy’s business who he sleeps with but it is also Al Gore’s busness what plane he flys on. If you don’t want people looking at how you live your life, then don’t go out in the public and take positions on parts of your life you want kept public. In tha sense I have no sympathy for him.

    That said, you can be weak without being a hypocrite. If you asked me if I would want my children to drink and have sex and high school, I would say no. Of course, I did just that in high school. Does that make me a hypocrite? No, it just makes me weak. A hypocrite would be for me to say it is wrong fo you or your children to drink and have sex but okay for me. If I realize and admit what I did was wrong, then I am just weak not a hypocrite.

    The people who are hypocritical are the people who on the one hand say that it is okay to be gay but then on the other rip this guy for being gay. If it is okay to be gay, it is okay to be gay no matter who you are. Public sex acts aside, you can’t say this guy is a horrible person for being gay but others are not. Certainly you can say he is wrong about gay marriage, but the fact that he is secretly gay doesn’t make him more wrong about that.

  25. Who, John, that has stated that it is okay to be gay, that are ripping Craig for being gay?

    I see a lot of liberals and gay people ripping him for his homophobic politics. And I see a lot of conservatives ripping him for being gay.

    But I have yet to see a single person who supports gay rights who has ripped Craig for being gay.

  26. Joe, the gay community has not given up cruising in tearooms or other spaces that provide the mixture of public access/limited privacy that provide the necessary opportunties for such cruising. cruisingforsex.com is a popular website that facilitates such cruizing. As a gay man, I can do without your patronizing tolerance for my esxual preferences if it means I have to ape the hypocrisy of hetersexuals who continue to pretend that monogamous sex behind close doors is the beginning and end of “normal” sexual behavior.

  27. I see a lot of liberals and gay people ripping him for his homophobic politics.

    Why do people assume that Craig’s vote for the Defense of Marriage Act and support for Romney are homophobic? Bill Clinton signed the DOMA, is he a homophobe?

    Let’s be honest and admit that Craig is paying the price for the percieved attitudes of his party towards gays and not the actual attitude.

    There are plenty of legitimate non-bigoted reasons to vote for DOMA or support Romney. Maybe Craig’s constituents–much like Bill Clinton–wanted DOMA to pass. Only 81 out of 535 congressmen voted against the bill. Are they the only people in congress who aren’t homophobes?

    Again, I’m not a big Romney fan, but he was elected governor of the only state to legalize gay marriage. He can’t be the Bull Connor of gay rights. And it’s possible for people to support Romney for president on issues other than his stand gay rights. Just like all those gays held their nose and voted for Clinton after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and DOMA.

  28. parse,

    Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap….

  29. parse,

    I don’t give a crap about your feelings, and what can and cannot “do without.” What, did you think I was going to collapse into a weeping mass because a gay person disagreed with me? Spare me your identity politics.

    “Tea rooms,” gay bars, or other places designed and operated for such “open access” situations are quite a bit different than public restrooms, truck stops, and whatnot. The former are not only still around, but seem to be becoming more common, by “stealing business” from the latter.

    Like I said, there is still culture and habit drawing out the decline of the latter sort of pickup spots, but they are basically a relic of a time when being in the closet was mandatory, and any such meetings had to be covert.

  30. Abdul,

    There is a difference between being a homophobe and engaging in homophobic politics. Was Bill Clinton homophobic? No, plainly not. He was also not terribly principled. DOMA most certainly was homophobic politics.

    Only 81 out of 535 congressmen voted against the bill. Are they the only people in congress who aren’t homophobes?

    No, I’m sure many of the people who voted for the bill were not actually homophobes, but did so for political expediency. The people who voted for it on principle, on the other hand, yes, they are homophobes.

    Again, I’m not a big Romney fan, but he was elected governor of the only state to legalize gay marriage.

    Years before gay marriage was legalized, over his objection, and he did everything in his power to get the ruling reversed through the political process and limit its scope through the powers of his office.

  31. “Tea rooms,” gay bars, or other places designed and operated for such “open access” situations are quite a bit different than public restrooms, truck stops, and whatnot. The former are not only still around, but seem to be becoming more common, by “stealing business” from the latter.

    joe, a tea room is a public restroom. You don’t need to give a crap about my feelings, but before you lecture us on the sex habits of gays, get a clue about what they really are. Why not visit crusingforsex.com and find out what’s really going on, rather than assuming that you know what you are talking about and I don’t.

  32. Crap. You mean those guys I met in the sauna today weren’t really inviting me out for tea later….

  33. Sex in a public place is not “normal” behavior, and being gay does not somehow excuse one from that.

  34. Sex in a public place is not “normal” behavior, and being gay does not somehow excuse one from that.

    Rhywun, “public” has a couple of different meanings, two of which I think you are conflating here. Taking a shit in a public place probably isn’t normal behavior either, but it’s perfectly normal to take a shit in a public restroom. Because even though the room is accessible to the public, it’s designed for acts which take place in private. So I don’t think it’s any more abnormal to have sex in a public restroom than it is to have sex in other spaces that give that combination of public and private that makes them useful for cruising.

    Regarding the larger question of whether being gay “excuses” one from normal behavior, you might find Michael Warner’s “The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life,” an interesting read.

  35. Reno and Ruby Ridge???

    huh?

  36. Because even though the room is accessible to the public, it’s designed for acts which take place in private.

    Yes, and sex is not one of those activities. I have no problem with sex in a “quasi-public” place such as a bathhouse, because it’s not really public–instead it’s a place where people consent to sex in that particular place. I have no problem with cruising in public either, but the act itself belongs behind closed doors–it’s just what society as a whole wants. If you want to argue for public sex for everybody, fine. But the idea that public sex is somehow intrinsic to queerness is silly. What it really is is an argument against norms themselves–and I don’t buy that. There ARE norms in society, and recognizing them doesn’t lessen your gayness in any way. Thinking, “Oh, I’m gonna go have sex in public because straights don’t do it” is childish thinking.

  37. I am so glad gays have had their chains thrown off them. They ought to have a parade where they dress in ridiculous gay costumes, go through the streets (with the politicians there to support them of course silly!), and then just go have a massive gay orgy where they can celebrate getting off those icky stigmas of society.

  38. Um, yeah. If that’s what they want.

    Were we supposed to gasp, or something?

  39. Just for the record, Ruby Ridge happened during the Bush I administration.

  40. I am so glad gays have had their chains thrown off them. They ought to have a parade where they dress in ridiculous gay costumes, go through the streets (with the politicians there to support them of course silly!), and then just go have a massive gay orgy where they can celebrate getting off those icky stigmas of society.

    You just described the last gay pride parade I went to except for the massive gay orgy part. I didn’t see that, but I was towards the beginning of the parade route.

  41. Just for the record, Ruby Ridge happened during the Bush I administration.

    Yeah, but it was Clinton’s fault.

  42. Dave (and Nick, if you are reading this, Radley too),

    Apologies if anybody posted these thoughts before.

    How is The Honorable Senator Craig being hypocrytical?

    As I have posted here in the past, I am against the government using marriage for any pupose. Not posted here by me before, I know plenty of people who agree and disagree with that position. As you can read in H&R, no shortage of folks who disagree with me, especially people all for the homosexual marriage list for Big Brother.

    Anyway, I am against marriage, cartainly including heterosexual marriage, and I enjoy heterosexual sex whenever I can get it. Too bad it is not available in public restrooms for the cost of a foot tap, but that is not important.

    So, here on my side of the KB, you have a heterosexual against marriage. Please tell me how that makes me a hypocriate?

    Just because you are all ‘crazy’ for a Big Brother list of “who can do who” does not mean that everybody else is. Having a Senator vote for curbing an expansion of the Big Brother Bedroom Peeking Policy while engaging in anonymouse bathroom encounters hardly hints at hypocracy, but is certainly described by many other words. See Jonah Goldberg’s posts in The Corner at The National Review website.

    Perhaps there is some other motovation to the posts of he Editor and Staff on this topic?

  43. “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.””

    Oh I just have to point out, beond the lunacy of the “wide stance”…

    A freakin’ IDAHO Seantor that doesn’t remember that Ruby Ridge happened under Bush Sr.’s administration. Amazing to me that this happens and no one corrects him or anyone else for that matter.

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