I'll be honest - I haven't been paying really close attention to the whole Larry Craig (R-Idaho, but probably not for long) saga. Yet another right-wing Republican yanked out of the closet because of a run in with the law. Ho-hum. But now that Craig seems reluctant to go gentle into that political good night, it's making for some interesting peripheral issues.
For one, as Glenn Greenwald points out, the right-wing noise machine is falling all over itself to call for Craig's resignation. In the process, it shows an enormous amount of homophobia-fueled hypocrisy. For one thing, the allegation that Craig is gay have been around for decades (indeed, he was involved in a 1982 House page scandal and ended up with a freeze dried family - new wife with kids - that some suspect is cover), but the commentators on the right have argued that, even if the allegations were true, it didn't matter. Is it the illegality? Not really, since the same folks didn't call for the resignation of Louisiana Congressman David Vitter after it came out that he was a client of a high-priced DC madam who had been charged with various offenses. Makes it look awfully a lot like Craig's sin, in their eyes, is not extramarital sex or minor criminal charged but his homosexuality.
Another thing is that, across the political spectrum, lots of bloggers are arguing that what Craig allegedly did either was not actually criminal or should be criminal in the first place. A New York Times blog has the round up here, while The Volokh Conspirators have some thoughts here. The latter issue is an interesting one and isn't necessarily linked to the legal proceedings against Craig.
The former, on the other hand, is pretty much a moot point given Craig's guilty plea, which he now claims was a "mistake." He's making noises that he will withdraw the plea, if possible (it's not likely - buyer's remorse isn't simply enough). For what it's worth, Craig's claim that he entered this guilty plea without legal advice is either a lie or Exhibit A of such colossal stupidity that the man is not fit to serve in the Senate. Over at TalkLeft, Last Night in Little Rock suggests that even if the plea gets withdrawn, the result won't be good for Craig:
Does he want a trial? Can he win a trial? I don't think so.Of course, if Craig is about to be thrown under the political bus by the GOP, he might not have much to lose.
I have tried about a dozen cases involving men arrested in bathrooms or in similar situations. My record: 1 and 11. Why? These cases are hard to win because the credibility determination always favors the officer. Judges feel compelled to rid their communities of gay men trolling for anonymous sex in public bathrooms, as a 'quality of life' crime.
This is a bit like watching a car wreck, from his opening line from yesterday's press conference ("thank you all for coming out today") to his blaming of just about everybody but himself for his predicament. He admirably left out Bill Clinton in the blame fest, but Mitt Romney got there later, anyway. As long as Craig keeps fighting, people will keep watching.