Thanks in part to a phone call he received from Sen. Arlen Specter, embattled Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign from the Senate at the end of this month. Craig announced his intent to resign, but did not actually resign or file any paperwork to do so. Craig has hired a crack legal team to attempt to withdraw his guilty plea and handle damage control.
Craig was thrown overboard since it came out last week that he pled guilty to disorderly conduct during a Minnesota sting operation. For some, it was just an opportunity to oust a Senator they didn’t like. For others, such as the GOP Leadership, it was an attempt to handle a scandal quickly after disasters with Senator David Vitter and Rep. Mark Foley. In any event, it was a rush to judgment.
Craig’s reconsideration will cause a major headache as we attempt to limit our losses in the Senate next year. Craig has been wronged. As analysis of the facts continues, it becomes less and less clear that Craig actually did anything wrong.
What is also unclear is why this situation differs from Sen. David Vitter’s. It seems to me that there are two possibilities. Vitter voted against amnesty and Craig voted for it, meaning that many were ready to dump Craig through whatever means necessary, facts be damned. The other is that Craig’s alleged action was homosexual in nature. Assertions that it has anything to do with the fact that Craig pled guilty or that it took place while Craig was in the Senate are ludicrous. We know, beyond any doubt, that David Vitter committed a crime. Which side of the Hill he happened to be on at the time is irrelevant. We do not know whether Craig committed a crime, yet the lynching has already happened.
The GOP “Leadership’s” handling of these matters has been a disaster. They have sent four messages, all bad. The first is that sex scandals are okay as long as they are heterosexual in nature. The second is that only gay people can engage in activity that does not reflect family values. The third is that peoples’ sex lives should impact their ability to serve. The fourth is that they are willing to throw anybody under the bus, regardless of the facts, if they vote against the Leadership on a given issue.
Personally, I’m torn on Craig’s most recent statement. I don’t think he should be hung for something that he didn’t do. Even if he did something, it was not related to his official duties and was non-violent in nature. At the same time, it would be politically much easier if the issue just went away.