Larry Craig has decided not to resign from the Senate after all and vowed to fight on, despite a judge’s rejection of his attempt to withdraw his guilty plea to the ‘disorderly conduct’ charge levelled at him after his arrest in that airport men’s room.
‘[the judge] rejected that as a good reason to withdraw the plea. Any pressure Craig was under “was entirely perceived by the defendant and was not a result of any action by the police, the prosecutor or the court,” he wrote.’
The police tape flatly contradicts this. The first question Craig asks is ‘Will I have to fight you in court?’ It’s clear his main concern, like most of the married men arrested in these situations, let alone conservative politicians, is avoiding publicity – at whatever cost. The entrapping/arresting officer repeatedly mentions the ‘jail time’ and courts that loom if Craig doesn’t ‘cooperate’ – and plead guilty. In which case: ‘There’ll be a fine. You won’t have to explain anything.’
In fact, the whole of America has demanded – and keeps demanding – Craig explain himself. To come out – with his hands up.
In the tape, Craig never accepts that he was looking for sex. The arresting officer becomes hotly indignant when Craig contradicts his version/interpretation of events in the men’s room (interpretation is what it comes down to since this is, in effect, a ‘crime’ of intentionality – or foot-tapping). In fact, he seems outraged that someone could dare to do this. No doubt most of the cop’s victims, horrified at the thought of ‘jail time’, or simply drawing attention to the case by fighting it, comply meekly.
And it was certainly true that Craig was under unusual pressure as his local newspaper was on an (anti) gay witchhunt against Craig.
Even if you consider entrapped, pressured Craig, now denied his day in court, guilty as sin, because you always believe policemen – he’s only guilty of a demeanour. Something which should not end his career. Unless of course you think that tapping your feet in a men’s rom is much worse than, say, using female prostitutes (after admitting he used female prostitutes, Senator David Vitter was greeted with a standing ovation in the Senate from his Republican peers).
I say: best of British to Craig in his fight to stay on. Unlike most of liberal America, which jeers at every attempt he makes to fight for his career and name, I don’t suddenly think that sex police are a great thing if they entrap a conservative and then pressure them into an ill-advised confession. Nor should the GOP be allowed to hurriedly flush him like a dirty tissue as they have repeatedly tried to do.
Everyone’s had their fun now and made all their sophomoric Larry Craig jokes – so perhaps American liberals can now wake up to the real issue here and stop scoring cheap shots and show some non-partisan principles.
What’s the real issue? Well, it’s a bigger issue than Craig, bigger than accusations of ‘hypocrisy’ (which often turn out to be. er, hypocritical), bigger than ‘coming out’, and bigger than Republicans v Democrats.
It’s about justice.