Larry Craig Sticking Around

23:37 Sun 07 Oct 2007. Updated: 00:38 08 Oct 2007
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So apparently even if you plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of “disorderly conduct” for trying to solicit sex in a men’s room, you can stay in the Republican party… and remain a Senator.

That’s right, Larry has rescinded his prior resignation declaration. In fact, he seems to have handled the whole thing rather well. He almost got away with a quick guilty plea that might have stayed out of public view. When it did come to light, he was under a lot of pressure but first refused to resign, and continually insisted that the whole thing was a mistake and (especially) that he wasn’t gay. Then when enough Republicans moved against him, he managed to mollify them by making his resignation dependent on his misdemeanor conviction, and saying that he wouldn’t go if the conviction were overturned.

He couldn’t make that happen, although he gets additional points for being cute about it—he tried to claim that the conviction was based on insufficiently-detailed evidence presented to the court, when he was responsible for that minimal presentation because he mailed in a guilty plea and didn’t appear in court, with the exact intent of making sure details didn’t become public. But he managed to hold out until the end of September, and then simply said he wasn’t going to resign after all, even though he didn’t have the plea overturned.

I get the impression that he hasn’t been making many press appearances recently. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell cancelled a press conference to avoid talking about Craig’s decision to stay. Also, again demonstrating considerable chutzpah, Craig claimed that he’s staying on as a Senator partly to “clear his name” in a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, which he couldn’t do if he were no longer a Senator…

I don’t know if the Ethics Investigation will get anywhere, since the Republicans have little to gain from hashing the affair out in public—I suspect they’re going to try to wait the whole thing out, and if possible come to some deal with Craig where he gets out of the way before the next election and they insert some palatable candidate. They threatened him with airing out embarrassing details in the Ethics Committee if he didn’t resign, but he must have realized that that will do the national party as much harm as it’ll do him, and that he has a great chance at simply getting away with the entire thing. And why not? If you can’t roll rank hypocrisy, non-mainstream sexual practices, self-imposed closeting and utter denial, blatant dishonesty, and eye-popping chutzpah together and still be fit to sit in the Senate, what is this country coming to?

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