Jay Reding.com

Sen. Craig Should Resign

I’m with Hugh Hewitt on this one. There’s no excuse for a United States Senator to act in such a way, attempt to use his Senate credentials to get out of trouble, and then fail to take responsibility for it. As little credibility as Congress has, that goes far beyond anything that is acceptable.

Undoubtedly had Craig been a Democrat, this story would be largely over, those criticizing the Senator would be labeled homophobes, and Craig would be already planning his memoirs — see disgraced New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey or Barney Frank — both of whom put their trysting partners on the government payroll.

That doesn’t change the right course of action: Craig should either resign on his own initiative or be forced out. Members of Congress have a duty not to allow themselves to be put in compromising positions (and this is one hell of a compromising position). Craig has tarnished the Senate, and his continued presence only inflames the scandal. Partisan concerns are immaterial, and even if they were material, Idaho is safely Republican.

Sen. Craig should resign immediately and allow the Governor of Idaho to appoint a replacement until next year’s elections.

7 responses to “Sen. Craig Should Resign”

  1. Eracus says:

    Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
    — Mark Twain

    Washington, DC is the sex capital of the world. The effete elite of our governing institutions put themselves in compromising positions every single day. It’s one of the perks. They get caught too, just not very often in a public restroom. Small change, really. Ironically, if the idiot Senator had not identified himself as an idiot Senator, he probably would not have been treated like an idiot Senator.

  2. Janek says:

    I am sure I must be missing something here. What exactly has Craig done? From what I have read, he tried to peep into a toilet and his right foot touched another man’s left foot. He also gave his card to a police officer and asked what the officer thought about that.

    Is that enough to justify calling on him to resign?

    If you assume the worst things, what you end up with is that he tried to initiate sexual activity in a public place and tried to impress the police man into letting him go by identifying himself as a Senator (no blackmail, no bribary involved).

    Is this all there is to it?

  3. Eracus says:

    “Is this all there is to it?”

    Oh, no, of course not. Craig is a Senate Republican using a public restroom, for chrissakes! Compared to Barney Frank using his Washington, DC townhome as a bordello while fixing his pimp’s parking tickets in return for the procurement of underage boys, what Craig did is a stain on not only the U.S. Senate, but the U.S. Congress if not America itself. Don’t you get it??

    With Frank, we had to solemnly observe the sacred liberal twin pillars of tolerance and sexual diversity. Afterall, it was just about sex. But with Craig, the prohibitions against toe-tapping and improper placement of personal accessories in a public restroom stall is strictly forbidden and must be punished not only by the law and court of public opinion, but by destroying his career, his family, and every friend he ever had to say nothing of his future.

    You know, like with Alberto Gonazales, a Republican, who never committed any crime but was hounded out of office, as compared to, say, William Jefferson, who was captured on tape accepting a $100,000 bribe but who remains in office today in solemn observance of the sacred liberal twin pillars of tolerance and financial diversification.

    I hope that helps explain things for you. Cheers!

  4. Jay Reding says:

    If you assume the worst things, what you end up with is that he tried to initiate sexual activity in a public place and tried to impress the police man into letting him go by identifying himself as a Senator (no blackmail, no bribary involved).

    Yeah, that’s pretty much it. He did plead guilty, which makes it a lot harder to argue that there’s nothing going on.

    There aren’t a lot of innocent explanations for what he did, it’s pretty clear he was “cruising” — looking for anonymous gay sex in an airport restroom. That’s the sort of thing that A) isn’t even remotely appropriate B) illegal and C) could easily lead to being blackmailed or worse. It doesn’t seem like the police officer made a mistake, and it sounds like Craig’s actions were pretty clear to someone who was trained to look for that sort of thing.

    Politicians do stupid things all the time, and if all he’d been doing is having an affair (straight or gay), I don’t think it would be fair to ask him to resign. (Unless it was with a subordinate, in which case it would also be illegal under sexual harassment rules.) However, when you’re doing something so massively stupid and so likely to cause all sort of legal and personal problems, the last place you should be is somewhere where you’re in the public trust.

  5. Janek says:

    Ah… I begin to understand. It is not so much about what he did, but how he handled things afterwards. The whole what-will-he-do-under-pressure thing. Thanks for clarifying.

    J.

  6. Eracus says:

    You make a number of assumptions here, Jay, which, while I tend to agree with your conclusions, have no real basis in fact or at the very least cannot be proved. Craig pled guilty to a breach of privacy gross misdemeanor and disorderly conduct misdemeanor concerning an incident that allegedly occurred over a 20-minute interval in a public restroom in an international airport while he was in transit from point A to point B. That he would seek to resolve the matter expeditiously in absentia seems perfectly reasonable. It does not, however, establish that he was soliciting homosexual activity in a public restroom.

    First, there is no suggestion any illicit activity or lewd behavior ever took place. Second, there are no eye witnesses, which is odd given the level of activity cited in the police report and the nature of the arrest. So all we really have here is the Senator’s presence in a restroom stall opposite a “trained” police officer whose job it was to apprehend persons engaged in soliciting illicit sexual activity in a public restroom. To wit, a difference of opinion between the chicken and the egg.

    So….. Senator Craig was observed standing outside a restroom stall. Senator Craig was observed placing his roller-bag against the door of the stall. Senator Craig was observed tapping his foot inside a restroom stall. Senator Craig’s fingers were observed passing beneath the restroom stall divider. No verbal exchange ever took place. No lewd conduct or obscene behavior ever occurred, and yet this seemingly inoccuous behavior, itself observed through a breach of the Senator’s expectation of privacy, was enough for a supposedly “trained” airport police officer to make an arrest.

    How patently absurd.

    Public restrooms, particularly in transportation terminals, have been notorious for illicit, anonymous sexual activity since time immemoriam. That Senator Craig occupied a stall in one such public restroom, even one as notorious as this, does not establish that he was “cruising” for anything. Neither does it establish probable cause for the violation of privacy the officer committed, nor does the Senator’s alleged “signal” activity provide any basis for his arrest and detention. This was just plain lousy police work any way you cut it, the obvious results of which are the puny, catch-all, and cover-your-ass sort of charges every police officer asserts whenever he cannot establish the actual facts of the alleged crime, which in this case would be at a minimum criminal solicitation, which, according to the police report itself, did not in fact occur.

    So all we really know is a GOP Senator in a DFL town was arrested inside a public restroom at an international airport terminal on two misdemeanor charges alleging he violated someone’s expectation of privacy and engaged in offensive conduct tending reasonably to cause alarm, anger, or resentment in others. The very same crimes, coincidentally, that the police officer himself committed in the course of this arrest.

    I don’t know why Senator Craig was in that bathroom and could not care less. The law exists to protect him, as well as you and I, and it did not so. For I am quite certain you and I would not have been arrested had we engaged in similar behavior because on the basis of this police report alone, we’d have that officer’s badge and a $1 million check from the Minnesota Airport Commission together with their sincere apologies for having violated our Constitutional rights. And we’d have it all, soup to nuts, in about 2 weeks.

    What we really ought to be asking is how long did that police officer wait for Senator Craig in the stalls of the most notorious public restroom in the Twin Cities? I bet it wasn’t long.

  7. Seth says:

    I find it interesting. I just did a search of this site for “Vitter.” And his biggest sin was pork barrel politics.

    So wait. I can see an argument made that there are two differences here. The first is that Vitter took responsibility for his actions and has seen the light of the Lord or something, and therefore deserves a second chance. Of course, one could say that a man who truly regretted something would express remorse before a reporter uncovered such transgressions, before running for public office on a “pro-family” platform and before voting to “strengthen the sanctity of marriage” repeatedly. A man that regrets his actions after he gets caught is only regretting the fact that he got caught, not his actions. The only thing that separates Vitter from Craig in that respect is the fact that Craig is still delusionial in his own mind enough to think he can actually convince the public he did not do what he did.

    The other difference, and the one that I find more compelling given the nature of the party, is that Vitter was soliciting women, and Craig was soliciting men.

    The funny thing is that GOP leaders agree with you. No ethical concerns have been formally raised from the Vitter fiasco, and he was not forced to give up his committee posts. Your party’s deranged morals state that Vitter can be a married man who gets caught paying women to have sex with him, and there is no outrage. Craig on the other hand, allegedly tries to have sex with a man, and all of the sudden the sky is falling. It is, quite frankly, something that objective people would agree is delusional if there weren’t a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ in front of the men’s names.

    And now, on a lighter note, here are some questions I have: What is an adequate salary for an NRSC spokesperson these days?

    Do you think the next week that goes by that doesn’t feature a Republican Senator either publicly denouncing the Bush war strategy or becoming embroiled in a sex scandal will come before or after September 2008?

    And, how funny are the NRSC “family values” ads going to be in 2008?