Should Sen. Craig lose his job/committee posts for restroom cruising?

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).

Would the Democrats enforce such a penalty on one of their members so caught? Let’s remember that what Craig did is a crime, at the minimum a disturbance of the peace.

That sting operation was in place because that restroom had become an uncomfortable and even dangerous place for people to conduct their regular necessary tasks.

I’d like to think they would - they did not oppose Governor McGreevey’s resignation because his sex life had interfered with the public order. Same here. And I think if Craig resigns, we’d all be better off.

Old story - it’s not necessarily the crime/indiscretion/sleaziness that does you in - it’s the lying and coverup.

This will only snowball until Craig quits. His colleagues know it. He cannot be an effective leader any more.

Given his blatant hypocrisy, I have trouble caring about his committee assignments. Plus, restrooms cruising is creepy and obnoxious behavior at the very least.

Pleading guilty and then professing innocence don’t exactly fit with my idea of inspired leadership. Swearing up and down that he isn’t gay may be fine and dandy, until men start coming out of the woodwork to claim to have been his sex partners. I don’t know that will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s done and everyone knows it but him.

I think a major difference between Sen. Craig and Gov. McGreevey is that McGreevey’s resignation was broadly prompted by a swirling corruption scandal which he was hoping to get out from under, and more specifically prompted by the fact that he had put his boyfriend on the state payroll in homeland security advisor post he was wholly unqualified for.

With Sen. Craig, I don’t see any particular cover-up. He was caught and plead guilty, hoping that it would all fly under the radar. His denial of gayness was slightly more tacky than McGreevey’s “I am a gay American” speech, but it isn’t a crime to insist against evidence that you are firmly in the closet.

That this was “a crime” doesn’t make it any more heinous than DUI or any of the numerous misdemeanors that legislators have been charged with and survived.

Already happened, bro - that’s why he blamed the Boise paper doing the investigation for putting him under so much pressure that he pled guilty. :smiley:

Hix crime is really rank hypocrisy, of course (and of the most expectable kind - if you want to know who’s doing something, just find the people preaching the most sanctimoniously against it). If he hadn’t been an advocate of gay-hating legislation, or if he hadn’t been effectively lying to the voters of his home state for all those years, and if he therefore hadn’t had to go on the downlow, there’d be no problem.

Do you have any basis at all to believe otherwise? :dubious: Or has that response from GOP partisans become merely Pavlovian by now?

Was Jayjay’s behavior also creepy and obnoxious?

Umm…did you read his post? He said he didn’t thought the Dems would call for a resignation if it was one of their own.

But in anycase, I don’t think he should have to resign. I’m all for holding congress critters up to a high standard, but I think getting booted for one misdemeanor is a little harsh.

As for being a closeted gay man, well, I doubt he’s the only one. I’m not really comfortable with running someone out of congress for that, regardless of their voting record.

That said, even though I don’t think he should have to resign, he’s kind of an embarssment to his party and state, so I think he’ll end up leaving regardless.

It’s a matter of credibility and his is shot, for the time being anyway. If he were to own up to his sexuality and start again I don’t see why he couldn’t serve in govenment.

For the Republicans, though it’s easier to just throw him under the bus as a sop to their ‘base’.

He said he’d “like to think they would”. You do understand what an “insinuation” is, don’t you?

Or even the only self-hating one.

Shows you what I know- most of my knowledge of the case came from Tucker last night. :stuck_out_tongue:

Doubtful. But when a Pub, of a party openly committed to “family values” and opposition to gay rights, does this sort of thing, he appears to be not only a lewd sleaze and a lawbreaker, but a hypocrite. The rest of the Republican Caucus has to kick him to the curb or risk getting tarred with the same brush.

I agree in principle. But in practice I think this probably does interfere with his ability to be an effective legislator. He’s not a hardened criminal; he’s a laughingstock. That’s worse in many ways.

Now, I am terribly amused (bad Julie!) by his downfall. I’ll admit that. But just as I both enjoyed racist Ohioans refusing to vote for Blackwell and was amused that he was hoist on his own petard, I feel the same about Craig. It’s regrettable to me that he’s going to suffer for his sexuality, and it’s more regrettable that he wants to punish others for theirs.

Does anyone know what the Senate rules are for reporting convictions? They’re brushing off the ethics committee, so I think this is considered some sort of ethics violation.

Is there any truth to the rumor that the theme song for the 2008 Republican convention will be YMCA? :stuck_out_tongue:

To me it seems a violation of trust. The Senator has campaigned on an anti-gay platform, has led anti-gay legislation, has done many things which would gain him the votes of anti-gay constituents. These same constituents would amost certainly not have voted for him if they knew he was cruising stalls for anonymous gay sex. At this point it’s like he won his office based on lies(yes, a shock to everyone familiar with the US electoral processes, bear with me a bit). I see no reason why his constituents should tolerate being represented by an official who lies to them. The fundamental relationship between electorate and representative is a trust relationship. If the electorate has evidence of a representative being a liar they should withdraw their consent to have that official represent them. And yes, they’re all liars, but we can’t prove that in most cases like we can in this one.


Just as long as they don’t do it in a public restroom!

Depends on the committee, IMHO. For something like Veteran’s Affairs, I don’t see any problem. If was on the Committee to Stop The Godless Queers From Fucking And Sucking Each Other In Public Restrooms (CSTGQFASEOIPR), well, I could see that being an issue.

Of course, that’s because the affairs those veterans are having must be good old red-blooded American heterosexual affairs, because the Army, the Navy and even that slightly swishy Air Force never had any of those godless queers among their ranks. :wink:

I don’t have any problem with Sen. Craig’s remaining in the Senate, nor would I have any problem with his being reinstated to his committee assignments. I have no problems with people being gay.

I think cruising public restrooms for anonymous sex is a bit skeevy, but I don’t equate skeeviness with a breach of the public trust.

Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor) if I have the fact straight, and I hardly think that should disqualify one from the Senate either.

The ‘problem’ here is strictly an intra-GOP problem, between the party organization and its religiously/culturally conservative (i.e. anti-gay) voting base. For us libruls, it’s time to pull up our lawn chairs and our beer coolers, and watch the action. :slight_smile: