Republicans are taking the public sex racket to a national level.
Not content to let Florida State Rep. Bob Allen have all the fun, Senator Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested in a public restroom for propositioning a male undercover police officer. This is somehow all old hat: Craig was arrested in June, plead guilty on August 8, paid a small fee, dodged jail time, and was given a year of probation. Craig’s staff dismissed the incident as a simple — love this — “he said/he said misunderstanding.”
But wait a minute. Any time a man (or a woman) makes his (or her) name and career by being holier-than-Democrats, the blogosphere has a right to some schadenfreude. So, let’s do the hypocrisy first, shall we? Atrios found a 1999 Craig appearance on Meet the Press in which Tim Russert asks Craig about censuring the president, as opposed to impeaching him. Craig’s response:
…it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s a, “Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You’re a naughty boy.” The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughty boy. I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.
Hmmm… well, you’re basically asking for this, Senator Craig.
[Undercover cop Dave] Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”
The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.
“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.
Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.
“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report…
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.
Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could … see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. … Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene.”
Craig tried to get out of the situation by showing the cop a “business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and [saying], “What do you think about that?””
Okay, by all accounts the guy’s not a horrible right-wing Christian extremist, and the indictment here probably ought to hang as heavily around society’s neck as it does around Craig’s. But the man has been quasi-outed before and could have used that as an opportunity to say proudly who he is, and to use his position of power to address the GOP’s horrible, horrible record on gay rights. Instead, he chose to hide, which forced him into awful situations like the one he was arrested for.
I’m not sure if this whole thing is sad, funny, or just more of the regular GOP hypocrisy. Maybe all three.