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Larry Craig: The Deep Fried Famous Potato

by Mark Simpson

Whether or not Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig likes cock or not, following his arrest for ‘lewd conduct’ in a men’s room at Minneapolis airport this week one thing is for sure: a lot of cock has been written about him. Here’s Melissa McEwan offering a typical – if relatively kind – commentary in the Guardian:

‘Voting against the interests of the LGBT community displays either a callous lack of feeling towards people with whom he shares a vested interest, or it’s a hypocritical attempt to ensure his longevity as a politician.’

Call me pedantic, but tapping your foot or putting your hand under a toilet stall partition doesn’t make you particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. Or part of any community with whom you share ‘vested interests’.

Judging by the rush to ‘out’ Craig as a ‘hypocritical closeted gay’ by hordes of callous bloggers and columnists, and the scorn poured on his claims that he’s not gay, it seems that liberals are equipped with even better and stricter sexpolicing instincts than Minnesota’s Finest. Liberals don’t just finger your collar, they finger your soul – divining your innermost desires, making identifications on your behalf and working out what your own vested interests are for you. Even though they’ve never met you or shared a bathroom with you.

After all, Minnesota’s sexpolice, as the (cute, young) arresting officer (pictured above) makes clear in the taped interview with Craig, are not concerned whether someone is gay or not – merely whether they might be soliciting sex in a bathroom. Or whether they respond to their own flirtatious footsie. And by the way, I know I’m being pedantic again, but we don’t even know that Craig was looking for sex in that bathroom. Yes, of course, it seems quite possible, very likely even, but we only have a policeman’s word for it. And liberals don’t usually fall over themselves to believe a policeman, especially when he’s paid to hang around toilets all day like ripe cottage cheese in a mousetrap. Let alone one that seems to have, on the tape, possibly a self-righteous political axe to grind (‘no wonder this country is going down the tubes!’).

Unless of course they’re entrapping a conservative politician.

Even if Craig was definitely, unquestionably a dick-craving, tap-dancing cottager, it wouldn’t mean that he was gay, or that he should feel any affinity to the gay community. As safer-sex educators can tell you, rather a lot of men have casual anonymous sex with other men without seeing themselves as gay, or even bisexual. Or Democrat.

Now, you may think them wrongheaded. You may think them closeted and self-loathing and in denial. You may consider them creepy. But that’s just what you think – it’s not necessarily who they are. You may wish the world was a tidier place, where any departure from official heterosexuality was ‘Gay’ or ‘Lesbian’ or ‘Bisexual’ – and proudly identified itself as such – but sexual behaviour isn’t like that. Sexual behaviour into identity doesn’t go. Cripes, desire into identity doesn’t even fit very well. As police officials admit, most of the men they arrest in bathrooms are married (and probably the main reason, along with the repeated threats of jail-time from the arresting officer if they don’t ‘co-operate’ and ‘make it easy on yourself’, why most, like Craig, don’t fight the charge in court).

If sexuality is a murky business, even what we mean by ‘sex’ is not always as clear as we like to pretend. In the teeth of the state -sponsored witch-hunt by sexpoliceman (and judge and jury) Ken Starr, Bill Clinton’s denial that he had sex with Monica Lewinsky was not simply the lawyerly sophistry or bald-faced ‘lie’ that almost everyone, however they estimated the importance of it, denounced it as being at the time. A good Southern Baptist, Clinton wouldn’t have considered that oral sex constituted ‘sex’ – and in fact he was careful never to have intercourse with Lewinsky. Nor is this simply Baptist, or fuddy-duddy thinking. In the same decade, the American Medical Association found that 60% of American college students didn’t consider oral sex ‘sex’. In other words, probably most of the Americans condemning Clinton for his ‘lies’ were being… hypocritical.

Then again, America is a country that likes to call a toilet a ‘bathroom’ – when there is no bath in it. Or a ‘restroom’ – when there is precious little resting going on. Especially in Minneapolis International Airport.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot (straying under the stall partition) the same kind of sanctimonious solidarity appears to have been ranged against Craig – but with interest. His own party, appalled at the merest whiff of the men’s room, have glanced at the toilet paper stuck to his shoe and run off screaming. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, just a few days ago, a friend and close political ally, wrinkled his Mormon nose, described the affair in his best Lady Bracknell as ‘disgusting’ and disowned Craig; faced with zero support from his GOP comrades Craig now seems likely to resign. Politically, he’s toast.

Yes, Craig is a Senator for a Party I have no love for, a party which panders to the gay-bashing of the religious right and which launched a criminal war. Craig has supported policies like ‘Don’t ask, don’t’ tell’ which drum out men and women from the Armed Forces for less than he was accused of. And yes, he may well be – like much of the Republican Party – pretending to virtues he doesn’t possess. He is, after all, a politician. He may also have lied through his teeth. (Again, he’s a politician.) But I can’t help but have some sympathy for a hunted, rural thing (Idaho is the home of ‘famous potatoes’) and everyone of whatever political stripe in the US appears to want to throw Craig into the nearest deep-fat fryer.

When talking about people’s sex lives, liberals should probably think twice about hurling the world ‘hypocrite’ around with as much relish as conservatives like to use the word ‘immoral’ or ‘pervert’. It’s much the same kind of public shaming. It used to be called stoning. Let him who is without sin cast the first blog.

Moreover, I’d like to venture, somewhat controversially, that ‘hypocrisy’ is a word that has had a bit of a bad press, especially in the confessional culture of the US. What is a ‘hypocrite’ anyway? Someone whose private life fails to match up to his public image? That’s not even the definition of a politician – that’s the definition of a human being. Besides, sometimes hypocrisy might simply be the voice of experience.

Craig may cut a preposterous figure, but what’s even more preposterous is the sight of a long line of liberals forming to hammer on the stall door this married-with-grandkids Republican’s been locked in by the media – and his own ‘moment of madness’ – yelling, ‘COME OUT!! YOU’RE GAY, YOU GODDAMN HYPOCRITE!! YOU’RE SHOWING A CALLOUS LACK OF VESTED SELF-INTEREST TO YOUR LGBT COMMUNITY!!’.

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13 thoughts on “Larry Craig: The Deep Fried Famous Potato”

  1. Whether you think he should be outed as a hypocrite for his attempted sexual act with a man, he IS hypocritical in other ways. He voted many times to introduce measures to tighten public morality and public lewd behaviour. Even if it was a women he was soliciting he’s still a hypocrite.

  2. Craig is a politician and, call me an old cynic, but they’re all hypocrites. None of them really practice what they preach.

  3. To me any act that makes you cum is sex. IF Larry Craig was up for it then he was intending to have sex with a man, ergo he must be at least slightly bisexual. Im gay and would NEVER let a woman anywhere near me in that fashion, thats because im not bi! It seems clear to me. How cute the policeman is is totally irrelevent, straight men do not have sex with men just because they are ‘cute’!
    I agree there are many shades of grey in sexuality, but basically if you have sexual contact with both sexes you are bi, even if its only a BJ.

    Voting as he has would therefore indicate that he is a hypocrite. He may not identify with the gay community, hell i dont either and im 100% gay as the come, but he is still doing the old ‘do as i say not as i do’.

  4. Paul – I think that’s the point – it’s business as usual. It matters not to those who get entrapped whether the cop hates it or not. I’m sure the senior officers who decide on these entrapments care not whether the cops who get put on it hate it or not. But it’s those senior officers who the liberals really ought to be attacking, not some guy – however good or bad – for not saying what they want to hear. What the liberals are saying is that they care not if someone’s life is ruined, just so long as they can prove that what they think is ‘right’ and everyone else is ‘wrong’.

  5. I don’t think there’s anything all that unusual about the entrapment that went on here; which is to say that I don’t think Craig’s arrest is setting a dangerous precedent. Stings of this variety have been part of standard police procedure for as long as there have been organised police forces

    I know a few cops, and boy do they hate working the public loo beat. Worse than directing traffic.

  6. mark – any thoughts about wilhelm reich and his ’emotional plague’ theory with regards to this story?
    public moralizing, control and hatred combined with the same hidden needs as the ones he’s vilifying?
    there seems to be more and more of this personality type – rove, that evangelical preacher – happening lately, as control over individuals grows and grows.

  7. Yet another example of the way that liberals in general miss the real issues whilst declaring that they are right and everyone else is wrong. As Glen H says, the real issue here is the use of a Pretty Policeman in a clear example of entrapment. That’s what will affect others more than what some politician admits or not. The irony of this might be that the Senator, whether gay, straight or corkscrew, will do more in the future to get police entrapment banned than all the liberals baying for blood.

  8. Meh, just another “Family Values” type imploding.And personally would we realy want to claim him as gay?The entrapment thing by the police is rather worrying,though!

  9. Schattenfreude in the setting of the conspicuously righteous getting caught with their knickers down is one of life’s great pleasures.

    The phenomenon of moral grandstanding, homophobic or otherwise, on the part of demogogues whose private behavior is quite the opposite is as old as politics itself: a textbook example of what shrinks would call ‘reaction formation’, a ‘primative’ defense.

    Of course I’m with you 100% in your opinion that the occasional bit ‘o the other in a public loo does not a ‘gay’ make. Horny straight men frequent tea rooms in search of someone who will gladly perform a certain intimate service for which their wives, girlfreinds, or mistresses would demand at least an expensive piece of jewelery in exchange. They close their eyes and think of . . . Angelina.

    I’d want to know what’s on Senator Craig’s IPod before branding him with a lavendar ‘G’. Barbra? Madonna? Also, do his well tailored gaberdine trousers conceal aussieBums?

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