Now I’m no particular fan of solicitation of anonymous sex in public restrooms, and I’m even less of a fan of hypocritical, closeted fag-bashing politicians, but what Senator Larry Craig has plead guilty to just isn’t all that bad on just about any hierarchy of offenses you can think of. To me, it is a lot more mild than offenses involving corruption, payoffs, abuse of power or breach of trust. In my view, the conduct involved is much less serious than the driving while intoxicated offenses that many politicians have had with minimal impact on their political career.
However, based on the incident, two fellow Republican Senators (including Presidential candidate John McCain) have called for Sen. Craig to resign. More significantly, the Senate Republican leadership has stripped him of his posts as senior Republican on the Veteran’s Affairs committee and on two subcommittees. In short, they’re pushing him under the bus.
Call me one of those debauched liberals, but I don’t particularly care (nor care to know) how Sen. Craig gets his jollies, so long as it doesn’t involve minors, animals, or coercion. As jayjay has shown in this thread on the practice, anonymous restroom sex has long been an outlet for those struggling with their sexuality. I would much rather he were able to face his sexual choices and desires openly, and prefer that his actions take place away from potential exposure to the innocent public, but frankly, who gives a shit what he does with another willing participant.
I’m sure the people of Idaho will give this matter due consideration when he comes up for election next November (if he choses to run). Though I don’t agree with many of his political views, I don’t see how this really interferes with his ability to be an effective legislator.
Nonetheless, Republicans seem to be extremely quick to jump in to penalize him. Significantly, their actions here are much more vociferous then their muted response to the serious corruption allegations raised against Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. And it is laughable to think that the hypocrisy of acting in opposition to expressed political views might be the reason for the widespread Republican condemnation of Sen. Craig (at least it would be if the hypocrisy was not intimately tied up with sexual conduct perceived by many to be “icky”).
I’d rather that politicians of all stripes were able to freely express their sexuality without fear of electoral reprisals. It bothers me that the Republicans seem to feel the need to jettison Sen. Craig because his offense involves gay sexuality (or sexuality at all). Normally I’m amused to see the Republican party go into a little self-destructive frenzy against one of their own, but here I feel a little bit sad because I don’t see it to be justified, particularly because it involves a guy just trying (in a pathetic way to be sure) to get a little satisfaction despite the confining life that he has built up for himself (and that the Republicans enforce).