"Idaho senator Larry Craig quit his Senate seat,
saying that he wanted to spend more time not being gay."
— David Letterman
The arrest of Senator Larry Craig (Perv-ID) in an airport bathroom sex sting and his vacillations about resigning make writing a column just plain fun. Craig said he kept the incident quiet so he could consider his options. It was yet another good decision by bathroom-stall enthusiast "not gay" Craig, deftly avoiding a media circus.
The mix of politics and religion has always been a hypocrite-magnet and brings to mind my award-eligible column about the Rev. Ted Haggard (who opposed gays even as he was hiring a male hooker and buying drugs with church money in a hotel room) entitled, "Ministers Should Do More Than Lay People."
But this story floors me. At first, I thought Craig was like many of our grandfathers and dads — an out-of-touch old man who did not know the gay signals. After all, he was caught in this sex sting in a state that elected a pro wrestler as governor. Perhaps they took a hard line on bathroom-stall toe-tapping for fear it would lead to more musicals. Then, when his fellow GOP leaders did not defend him, and he did not even get a "you're doing a heckuva job" out of President Bush, I figured that Craig probably had a history of such conduct.
The Democrats were handed yet another election-year gift and thought they had seen the last of yet another GOP right-winger. There they were, standing around Craig's twitching body, poking him with a stick (which I bet he likes), when suddenly the Craig camp (a camp you do not want to send your son to) said he might not resign. Dems, who were afraid they might actually have to come up with a reasonable alternative agenda to defeat the GOP in the fall, fretted.
Gays were torn over whether to be happy that Craig was forced to reveal his actions or offended that this creep is gay.
Craig's June guilty plea in Minneapolis and rumors that he had done this before in a train station in Washington, D.C., created a dilemma for Democrats. On one hand, they had a great chance to embarrass a Republican, but they had to do so by condemning a gay guy who supports public transportation. When events defy logic, you can rest assured politicians are involved.
Craig said that he is not a guy who will go down easy. I bet the arresting cop disagrees. Standing beside his wife and adopted kids, he said that he wanted a do-over on his guilty plea. His defense is going to be — and I am not kidding — that his plea was not intelligently arrived at. Now if you ever wonder why our legal system is messed up, look no further than Senator Craig — a "lawmaker," remember.
I would argue that, unlike openly gay males, closeted ones like Craig hurt their families by perpetuating a fraud about their sexual orientation. For you homophobes out there, you should be more supportive of those who come out. Richard Simmons is not going to sneak up on you in a bathroom in his candy-striped short-shorts. He's out. It's the guys with secret sex lives who are the problem.
I have long said that the GOP is misguided when it espouses minimal government and individual freedom yet seems obsessed with pushing laws to make it difficult for consenting adults to do what they want as long as no harm is done to anyone. We haven't caught bin Laden. We're running massive federal deficits. We have bigger problems than persecuting people for what they do in private with a consenting partner.
It is hard for Craig to think about the surge when he is constantly fighting an urge.
Incidentally, what sort of cop signs up for sitting in a toilet and tapping his toe in hopes that a gay dude will hit on him? The cop from the Village People?
It is comforting to know that our phones, e-mails, and bathroom stalls are now monitored by our government. It seems the only two things they are not watching are their spending and our borders!
Ron Hart is a Southern libertarian who writes about politics and life. His e-mail address is RevRon10@aol.com.