Chicago Journalist Roger Simon of the Politico (not Roger L. Simon, the mystery writer and conservative blogger) does not like conservative Senator Larry Craig one bit, but even the liberal Simon thinks Craig should fight to keep his Senate seat.
Larry Craig should not resign from the Senate.
He should force the Senate to expel him, which the Constitution provides for, but which the Senate has not done to any of its members since 1862.
If he can, Craig also should withdraw his guilty plea to what police say was “lewd conduct” in a public restroom at Minneapolis airport in June.
I have no doubt that Craig, an Idaho Republican, did what a cop says he did.
But I have a big doubt as to whether any of it was a crime. And I think a jury would have a reasonable doubt that he is guilty as charged.
Larry Craig committed a lewd act in that restroom? Larry Craig committed disorderly conduct in that restroom?
Let the prosecutors prove it in court.
Just because Craig is a jerk doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get civil rights in this country. ...
According to the Senate website: “Since 1789, the Senate has expelled only 15 of its entire membership. Of that number, 14 were charged with support of the Confederacy during the Civil War.”
The non-Civil War expulsion was that of William Blount of Tennessee, a Democratic Republican, who was expelled in 1797 for “a plan to incite the Creek and Cherokee Indians to aid the British in conquering the Spanish territory of West Florida.”
Larry Craig is no William Blount.
Larry Craig is a hypocrite, a liar and a fool.
But if we kicked people out of the Senate for that, how many senators would we have left?
Bryan Fischer points out one little detail which we in the blogosphere and the MSM both absentmindedly overlooked. And he’s quite right.
As word comes of Sen. Larry Craig’s reconsideration of his announced resignation from the U.S. Senate, it turns out that his best ally in getting rid of his guilty plea for his conduct in a Minneapolis airport restroom may be the United States Constitution.
If the senator had been a better student of the U.S. Constitution, his arrest may never happened at all, and if the U.S. Constitution is followed, as of course it should be, the senator’s arrest and guilty plea will have to be vacated.
This is because the Constitution, in a straightforward and unambiguous manner, states in Article 1, Section 6 that “Senators and Representatives. shall. be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same.” (emphasis mine) The only exceptions are for treason, felony and breach of peace, and the senator, of course, was charged with a misdemeanor.
Since the senator was on his way to Washington, and did in fact cast a vote on the evening of the day on which he was arrested, his arrest and subsequent questioning were, technically speaking, unconstitutional.
If the senator had flashed the Constitution at the officer as soon as the officer flashed his badge at him, the officer would have had no choice but to release the senator to go on his way.
This little detail (which I should have remembered, having discussed it myself in relation to the FBI search of Congressman Jefferson’s office) provides quite a plot twist.
It is difficult to imagine a court seeing any alternative to throwing out that Minneapolis misdemeanor on Constitutional grounds. Senator Craig, therefore, winds up with no conviction, and does not need to resign. The State of Idaho, and the rest of America, gets to retain the services of a senator with a 96 ACU rating. A happy ending for all but the democrats.
Michelle Malkin isn’t happy that Larry Craig is reconsidering that resignation.
Think about it, Michelle. We can’t afford to operate this way.
Democrats don’t resign over sex scandals. They only use them to force Republicans out of office.
Do you remember Bob Livingstone? The slimy pimp Larry Flynt hired private detectives to hunt for Republican pecadillos he could use to avenge the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton for perjury, and Rep. Livingstone immediately resigned, giving up the Speakership of the House, as soon as news of his marital infidelity was released.
Politicians are human, alzumenschlich commonly in fact. Are only democrat adulterers, only democrats who spend time in the company of prostitutes, only leftwing and democrat homosexuals to be allowed to remain in public office?
If only sinners in private life who are democrats get to survive in office, we are probably conceding a permanent democrat majority.
The press is full of nonsense this morning about the imaginary negative impact of all this upon Republican political prospects. Even if Senator Craig were guilty of soliciting sex in men’s rooms (which is far from proven), what do the private actions of a single individual have to do with the overall standing of a national political party?
Members of the democrat party in Congress include Senator Edward Kennedy who has served almost four decades in the Senate after being convicted of the considerably more serious offense of leaving the scene of a fatal automobile accident, and House Members Alcee Hastings, removed from the federal bench for bribery and perjury; William Jefferson, currently under federal indictment for corruption; John Murtha, who survived being named an unindicted conspirator in the Abscam scandal; and Barney Frank, who hired a gay prostitute and then allowed him to operate a prostitution service out of his Washington apartment.
What would a democrat party member of Congress do if he found himself the subject of a scandal? What would Bill Clinton do?
The answer is: they would fight back.
Bill Clinton would turn the tables on his accusers, claiming to be the victim of an unfair and highly partisan attack.
And Larry Craig is certainly in an excellent position to make the same claim. It was no accident that the Minneapolis June arrest report reached the desk of Roll Call on August 27th. Senator Craig has been the victim of an organized effort at political assassination.
Kirchik writes: “...Craig isn’t a hypocrite for seeking anonymous sex in an airport bathroom. He’s a hypocrite for (insert obligatory “allegedly”) being gay and opposing gay civil rights. The airport arrest was just confirmation—albeit, pathetic and unfortunate confirmation—of the Senator’s sexual orientation.”
James should look up the word “hypocrite.” It means to betray a belief you actually hold, not to betray a belief some New Republic staffer says you should hold. Craig is surely a hypocrite for violating his wedding vows and his “family values” talking points. He is not a hypocrite for being gay and opposing gay marriage or “gay rights” — nor, necessarily, is any other gay man who strays off the reservation. They may be wrong, corrupt or some other bad thing, but hypocrisy isn’t the issue when it comes to Craig’s positions on gay marriage etc.
By Kirchik’s bullying logic, gays must all think alike about homosexuality (at least in terms of public policy). If they don’t, they’re hypocrites. But there are gay people who oppose gay marriage. There are gay people who oppose hate crimes laws. And so on. Even if Craig came out of the closet tomorrow, that would hardly mean he couldn’t still think gay marriage is bad public policy.
Mark Steyn reflects upon the entrapment of Larry Craig.
My general philosophy on public restrooms was summed up by the late Derek Jackson, the Oxford professor and jockey, in his advice to a Frenchman about to visit Britain. “Never go to a public lavatory in London,” warned Professor Jackson. “I always pee in the street. You may be fined a few pounds for committing a nuisance, but in a public lavatory you risk two years in prison because a policeman in plain clothes says you smiled at him.”
Just so. Sergeant Karsnia is paid by the police department to sit in a stall in the men’s room all day, like a spider waiting for the flies. The Baron von Richthoven of the Minneapolis Bathroom Patrol has notched up a phenomenal number of kills and knows what to look for — the tapping foot in the adjoining stall, a hand signal under the divider. Did you know that tapping your foot in a bathroom was a recognized indicator that a criminal act is about to occur? Don’t take your i-Pod in with you! Or, if you do, make sure you’re listening to the Singing Senators: Hard to tap your foot to “Sweet Adeline,” and if you do it’s unlikely to be in a manner sufficiently frenzied to attract the attention of the adjoining constables.
What else is a giveaway that you’re a creep and a pervert seeking loveless anonymous sex? Well, according to Sergeant Karsnia, when the Senator entered the stall, he placed his wheelie bag against the door, which (according to the official complaint) “Sgt Karsnia’s experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall”.
No doubt. But, if you use the men’s room at the airport, where are you meant to put your carry-on? There’s not many other places in a bathroom stall other than against the door, unless Minneapolis is planning on mandating overhead bins in every cubicle. In happier times, one would have offered some cheery urchin sixpence to keep an eye on one’s bags. But today if you go to the airport bathroom and say to some lad, “Would you like to take care of my wheelie for five minutes?”, you’ll be looking at 30 years in the slammer.
I’ve no doubt Senator Craig went to that bathroom looking for sex. Listen to the tape of his encounter with Sergeant Karsnia and then imagine, as Jonah Goldberg suggested, how the conversation would go if Senators McCain or Webb had been in that stall and were accused of brushing shoes with the flatfoot. Not being privy to the codes of the privy, it would take ‘em 15 minutes even to figure out what Sarge was accusing ‘em of and, when it became clear, the conversation would erupt in a blizzard of asterisks and, shortly thereafter, fists. Instead, Senator Craig copped a plea. Because of that, he should disappear from public life as swiftly as possible and embrace full time the anonymity he cherishes in his sexual encounters. Not, as the left urges, on grounds of “hypocrisy” — because he’s a “family values” politician who opposes “gay marriage” yet trawls for rough trade in men’s rooms. A measure of hypocrisy is necessary to a functioning society. It’s quite possible, on the one hand, to be opposed to the legalization of prostitution yet, on the other, to pull your hat down over your brow every other Tuesday and sneak off to the cat house on the other side of town. Your inability to live up to your own standards does not, in and of itself, nullify them. The Left gives the impression that a Republican senator caught in a whorehouse ought immediately to say, “You’re right. I should have supported earmarks for hookers in the 2005 appropriations bill.” That’s the reason why sex scandals take down Republicans but not Democrats: Sex-wise, the Left’s standards are that whatever’s your bag is cool — which is the equivalent of no standards. Thus, Monica Lewinsky was a “grown woman” free to make her own decisions on the carpet of the Oval Office. Without agreed “moral standards”, all you have is the law. When it’s no longer clear something is wrong, all you can do is make it illegal.
And so we have the bizarre situation of a United States senator convicted of the crime of brushing his foot and placing his carry-on luggage in the only available space of a men’s room stall. Larry Craig feebly accused Sergeant Karsnia of “entrapping” him but, in fact, the officer didn’t even need to entrap him into anything other than an allegedly intrusive shoe movement. That’s a crime? On the tape, Craig sounds sad and pathetic, a prominent man cornered in a sordid transaction. Yet Karsnia sounds just as weird and creepy: a guy who’s paid to sit in a bathroom stall for hours on end observing adjoining ankles. I’d rather hand out traffic tickets.
Today some Republicans pat themselves on the back for their “courageous” stand against liberal charges of hypocrisy as they were early in their denunciation of Craig. Now, these would be the same liberals who show routinely their hypocrisy embracing Bill Clinton (accused of rape), Barney Frank (accused of allowing his home to be used for male prostitution), and the late Gerry Studds (who had sex repeatedly with a seventeen-year-old page). These Republicans fear the “culture of corruption” label the liberals have assigned them and aren’t quite sure how to respond to it. Mostly, they refuse to fire back by highlighting the numerous examples of demonstrable sleaze involving William Jefferson (alleged bribe), Alan Mollohan (alleged self-dealing), John Murtha (earmarks related to his brother), Dianne Feinstein (her husband profiting from military contracts), Hillary Clinton (Norman Hsu, et al), and, of course, the aforementioned Clinton, Frank, and Studds examples.
There is indeed a culture of corruption, and it extends well beyond any single politician. It swirls around big government. It always has and it always will.
Ben Stein had some sensible remarks, which I quite agree with, on Fox News with Neil Cavuto. The clip is, unfortunately, derisively linked by the left, so please ignore the monkey noises and watch out for thrown feces as you approach the cage.
John Cole believes that Senator Craig really was sexually soliciting, which I do not. But if John Cole was right, I would agree that his proposed speech is nearly exactly what Larry Craig ought to have said.
Good afternoon, citizens of Idaho. Good afternoon, friends.
I have an important announcement to make, although it is not the announcement many of you think it will be. I am here to announce to you that yes, I did attempt to solicit sex in that bathroom, and that no, I am not going to resign. I made a mistake. I have some personal issues that are my business, and my business alone, and I will work to resolve them.
I am sorry if I embarrassed you, but I fail to see how a personal transgression somehow makes me unable to fulfill my duties in the Senate. I will not run again in 2008, but let me be clear- I will not resign.
As to my ‘alleged’ friends in the Senate and elsewhere in Washington, let me extend a large and erect middle finger to each and everyone of you. To all of you who came to me privately as a friend over the past few days and told me it was best for the nation and Idaho if I resign, but who did not have the courage to stand up for your friend when a camera was on, let me say this: “GO TO HELL.” Each and every one of you.
I know a black sheep old-time member of the Conservative Movement, who would often complain lugubriously over his cups (in relation to the unhappy consequences to his conservative career of his own pecadillos) that “the Conservative Movement does not know how to tend its wounded or bury its dead.”
I was tempted to apply that observation to the behavior of Republicans in the case of Senator Larry Craig, but listening to the 8:23 Minneapolis police tape (NY Times transcript) it isn’t even obvious to me that Senator Craig was genuinely wounded.
In the first place, it is perfectly clear that no sex, not even any explicit sexual proposition, ever actually occurred. It is also clear that the covert signals Senator Craig supposedly made were in dispute between himself and Sergeant Karsnia, the arresting officer, and that Karsnia’s version features at least one very major implausibility. Karsnia claims that, as a signal, Craig reached below the divider between his bathroom stall and the stall to his right, with his left hand palm down, and rubbed the bottom of the divider. How could anyone possibly physically do that in the cramped confines of a typical public bathroom stall?
It is also quite apparent, listening to the tape, that Karsnia is artfully and intensely manipulating Craig. He is continuing to sell Craig on the plea deal, and he is also doing his level best to persuade Craig to assent to his own preferred version of the facts. The tape does not contain the whole of their conversation, and the portion released was clearly made in order to support the guilty plea which had been previously negotiated.
Common sense tells us that Karsnia must have threatened Craig with far more serious charges, charges involving the possibility of felony convictions, life-time sex offender status, public scandal and personal ruin, then offered a deal. In Karsnia’s deal, Craig would plead guilty only to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. It would be like a speeding ticket. Craig would simply plead guilty to disorderly conduct, pay $575 in fine and court fees, and walk away a free man. He would even be able to catch his original flight. And, best of all, there would be no publicity, no scandal, no ruinous sexual charges.
We can see just how well the Minneapolis Police Department kept its side of that plea bargain. So why should we believe one of its members’ allegations of about intrinsically ambiguous signals?
Just how plausible is it that a married 62-year-old Senator is in the habit of passing the time between changing planes by finding himself some sort of awkward and unseemly sexual encounter featuring heaven-only-knows whatever precise activity which may be conducted beneath the divider between two lavatory stalls?
As Eric at Classical Values observes, that this is the second major national sex scandal involving a Congressional Republican with no actual sex.
The problem is not one of Republicans not knowing how to tend their wounded. The problem is that Republicans don’t know how to handle scandals, either defensively or offensively.
The Administration’s opponents leak the highest level National Security secrets to the Press, and only one single Intelligence Community official is ever accused, no trial ever takes place. There are no convictions and no punishments. On the other hand, the mere identification of Ambassador Wilson’s wife’s role in assisting his trying to impeach British Intelligence reports of Saddam’s efforts to secure uranium (for a second time) from Niger, in democrat hands, shook the Bush Administration right down to its timid and quivering foundations.
Barney Frank survived a gay prostitution ring being run from his Washington apartment by a gay prostitute he himself had previously hired. But, in the case of a Republican, it only takes a mere accusation for the Party leadership to run for cover, our own editorialists to demand summary execution, and the accused to slink away, his career permanently destroyed.
Bill Clinton sexually exploited a 22-year-old White house intern, and the democrats persuaded a substantial portion of the public that it was downright evil of Republicans to pry into the President’s private sex life.
Republicans need to develop the capacity both to take the heat of the unfair accusations of their adversaries without flinching and to fight back.
Larry Craig has one of the best voting records in the Congress. I don’t personally care if he has a habit of enjoying relations with Idaho sheep by the light of the full moon, and I’m skeptical that he is guilty of anything in Minneapolis. I hope that he will tough it out, and not resign.