Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sen. Larry Craig: "I am not gay!" (...they always are)
So, once again, “those Republicans” implode on scandal and their own personal hypocrisy, it seems. This time, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), stands up in front of reporters and issues his denial. “I am not gay. I have never been gay.”
No wonder. He comes from the second most Mormon state, from a culture that sees marriage and children and openness to transmitting life as a moral obligation, both as payback, as a ticket to a preferred existence in the afterlife (eternal marriage) and even as a component of respect for life, in a culture that views loyalty to the group and family as a prerequisite for anything else. When that is so, “changing” or “pretending to change” becomes necessary. It's interesting that a culture with so much psychological socialism and community would demand that men "compete" to see who is the best provider for his progeny.
Of course, the scandal brings back memories of Walter Jenkins in the Johnson Administration in 1964. Craig was arrested in a men’s room in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport – in a city as far from the right wing as you can get – in an ordinary police sting for lewd conduct, on Blue Monday June 11 (remember that 60's song about that day of the week?). He plead guilty to make it “go away.” As Jeffrey Toobin noted on CNN, his explanation now is hardly credible; Toobin points out that even though what he pleaded to is a misdemeanor, it is still a crime and "you can't serve in the Senate if you're a convicted criminal" (what about minor traffic tickets?) Psychiatrists deny that this is a “cry for help”; it is more a stretching to see what one can get away with in terms of eroticism. And now he faces calls for resignation.
Of course, gay activists see this as a symptom of “the closet” – Le Placard, as it is called in that French comedy (2001, Fraicois Verber)). Men in the closet are forced by default to misbehave in public spaces. As far as conservative politicians in the closest when they get caught – they have their loyal wives beside their side (The Washington Post online has such a picture today). As for being married, “They always are.” In fact, Craig had been a bachelor for a long time, and was criticized (because of the culture he comes from). However, now he is married and reportedly has three children. Today, the notorious Idaho Statesman has a story by Rocky Barber, “Sen. Larry Craig asks forgiveness; Senate seeks ethics probe”.
Actually, as I recall, Mark Foley (from Florida), defrocked in 2006 when exposed by a lone blogger in the Congressional Page “non-scandal,” was single. (The exposure, started by one blogger Lane Hudson (check this ), acting on his own without compensation, may have turned the entire 2006 mid term election. That was certainly a valuable public service.! One man, acting alone, did more than entire organizations like HRC, which actually fired him. But that’s how it is in a flat world.) So it “ain’t so” that “they always are.” But what seems true is that the most vocal social moralists in Congress and elsewhere in politics seem to have lots of secrets and lies. Dem Republicans! The High and the Mighty do fall, and that does not include The Duke.
Update: On Thursday Aug 30 major media sources made the intimate and embarrassing police tapes available ("I am a fairly wide guy...."), and they quickly became the butt of late night comedy reenactments. The calls for his resignation within the GOP continue to mount with no exceptions. Some attorneys on CNN commented that he might have been able to defend himself in a trial since it was just a "one on one" case.
Sen. Craig is announced his resignation from the United States Senate from Boise (a city infamous in the 50s!) Sat. Sept. 1 at 12:30 EDT, effective Sept. 30. But hecklers in the crowd demanded that he leave right now.