Poor old Larry Craig. He had the world by the tail. Big job, loving wife, three (adopted) kids, somewhat famous, etc. He seemed to have it all.
Well, apparently Larry's idea of having it all meant a little more than what it means for most of us.
Now Larry has fallen. The victim of a police vice operation in a men's public bathroom at the Minneapolis airport. A victim of a wide stance, restless leg syndrome, and over-zealous police work.
Whammo . . . suddenly Larry is in handcuffs for lewd behavior for . . . well, you know, tapping his foot and putting his hand under the stall wall. Pretty lewd stuff. Though apparently no actual penis was seen during the lewdness.
So Larry pleaded guilty, but only to being disorderly. An ambiguously defined "crime" rooted in biblical admonitions.
Larry, mortified, says, "I'm not gay!" He says it a lot. Maybe that makes it more true. Or maybe it's a fleeting truth in need of regular recharging.
Frankly, I doubt many people care if Larry is, was, or thinks about being gay. I certainly could not care less.
What gives this whole weird tale it's yucky factor is the setting. A public toilet? Eeewww. Who are these people who want to have sex in a public toilet? The germs! The smells! The noises! The random, misplaced drops! Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Plus, there are kids in there! That is what pisses a lot of us off. If my kids were in a public bathroom, and two knuckleheads decided to do the boofoo choochoo, I'd call the cops.
The setting is where Larry went wrong. If Larry had been having a discrete rendezvous back at the Marriott, this would not be such a mess for him. He could declare himself mentally exhausted, check into rehab for a couple of weeks, and voila! He could come back 100% heterosexual.
It worked for Ted Haggard. It could work for Larry.
Larry quit in disgrace after his fellow republicans declared him to be "disgusting." But now he wants to un-quit, with Arlen Specter's support. The only sensible explanation for Senator Specter's position is that he believes Larry's story. Arlen may be all alone on this one.
There are too many holes in Larry's story for it to be credible. Why was he in the public bathroom? He should have been in one of the airline's club lounges. And how do you have a wide stance with you trousers around you ankles? And the hand under the stall wall? I've never heard of that before.
Larry also wants to un-plead guilty to the disorderly conduct conviction. He may actually have a chance at this. If he can establish that he has a legislator's travel immunity from arrest while travelling between Washington and his district, then he can establish that the sheriff had no right to arrest him and the court had no right to try him. Federalism! Separation of Powers! Lack of Jurisdiction! Voila! Larry gets off! Wouldn't that be a hoot?
Politically, it is also questionable whether the Senate should kick Larry out if he refuses to resign. After all, the people of Idaho elected him. So what right do the other Senator's have to tell Idaho it cannot have the Senator it wants? After all, Larry didn't take bribes, or kill the Treasury Secretary in a duel. He wasn't even looking for a prostitute. He was just looking for love in all the wrong places.
As usual, most of our tv pundits have missed a pretty important point about Larry's hypocrisy. Chris Matthews, Matt Lauer, et al rhetorically ask how hypocritical it is for a "family values" pontificator like Larry to look for anonymous, gay sex. Aside from assuming that Larry wanted something "anonymous," as well as unconsciously buying into the bigotry that homosexuality and family values are mutually exclusive, they have the hypocrisy argument exactly backwards.
A person, such as Larry, can believe in an ideal (like marriage and heterosexuality)that he should strive for, knowing that he will occasionally fail or fall short. This is where Christians look for forgiveness. The hypocrisy is to be such a man who falls short, but instead of preaching forgiveness for others, and a path toward redemption, offers only harsh judgment and condemnation. This is the essence of the Republican's hypocrisy on social issues, especially when it comes to bigotry against homosexuals. If Larry would announce that his humiliation has helped him to understand this, a lot of people might be in more of a mood to forgive him.