Beginning of the End for Sen. Larry Craig

Republicans stripped Sen. Larry Craig of his leadership posts today.

A statement by the Senate Republican leadership said Mr. Craig “has agreed to comply” with a request to step down as the top Republican on the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior and the Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee on public lands and forests.

“This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee,” the statement said.

Senators John McCain and Norm Coleman, and Rep. Pete Hoeckstra have called for his resignation.

Craig, in his statement yesterday, said he is now seeking legal advice about his Minnesota conviction for disorderly conduct. As LNILR opined earlier today, that's not likely to do him much good.

If he's really sure he isn't gay and that he never had encounters with men in public restrooms, he might be better off hiring Lin Wood (Richard Jewell and John and Patsy Ramseys' attorney) to bring a libel suit against the media outlets that alleged otherwise. While a settlement or favorable ruling is unlikely to be timely enough to end the calls for his resignation, if he won, he'd get his good name back.

What does it say if he doesn't bring a libel suit? That no lawyer would take it or that he's pulling our leg with his denials?

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    I hope he stays and fights! (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by TomStewart on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 07:11:40 PM EST
    Yeah! Defend that innocence from the floor of the Senate and c-span, go on Fax (who doesn't seem to know that Craig is a Republican) and show those fair weather Repubs what for!

    It's all about anti-gay on the Repub side, and the 'hoist-in-his-own-petard' case for the Dems. Gotcha written across the media.

    Really, if he was caught patronizing prostitutes, would his Republican friends be calling for him to resign? I think we have Vitter as an answer to that.

    if the guy had (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by cpinva on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 10:45:29 PM EST
    any brains at all, he'd drink a big cup of STFU. go find a nice cave somewhere, crawl in it for a month or so, and hope something big blows up in baghdad.

    Good name back? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jarober on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 08:21:26 AM EST
    I'd like Craig to go simply for trying to pull the "do you know who I am" trick with the cop.  A side point though - you state that going the civil route would restore his good name?  I think your other story about Richard Jewell demonstrates just how hard that is.  Once your name gets associated with something bad, it's really, really hard to unstick it - and winning a libel suit won't do it.  It might make future behavior on the part of the losing side better, but it doesn't really help reputation-wise.

    What about Vitter? (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by OkieFromMuskogee on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:12:11 PM EST
    The Republicans are all running toward what they think is the moral high ground on the subject of Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom accident.  But where is their outrage about Sen. David Vitter?

    "Diaper David" admitted that he engaged prostitutes in both DC and New Orleans.  That means that he 1) broke the law, 2) was unfaithful to his wife, and 3) has fallen far, far short of the "sanctity of marriage" and "family values" that he has been preaching to the rest of us.  Would a card-carrying Republican please explain to me why they are throwing Craig under the bus, but care nothing about what Vitter did?  What's the difference?

    Actually, I can think of two differences.  

    First, Craig's offense was about homosexuality, which horrifies Republicans.  It was Gov. Edwin Edwards (like Vitter, from Louisiana) who said that he couldn't lose an election unless he got caught in bed "with a dead girl - or a live boy."

    Second, if Vitter resigns he is likely to be replaced by a Democrat.  Craig's seat is safe for the hypocritical Republicans.

    Oops.  "Hypocritical Republicans" is redundant.

    huh??? (none / 0) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Aug 31, 2007 at 11:24:43 AM EST
    It was Gov. Edwin Edwards (like Vitter, from Louisiana) who said that he couldn't lose an election unless he got caught in bed "with a dead girl - or a live boy."

    Edwards was a Demo. His base was Demos....

    Now your point is what? That Demos wouldn't vote for him??

    BTW - You really want to use him as a Demo role model??

    Edwards was found guilty on 17 of 26 counts, including racketeering, extortion, mail fraud, and wire fraud; his son Stephen was convicted on 18 counts.

    Senator Craig is a public figure; the other (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:25:43 PM EST
    three were not when press coverage centered on them. I welcome the end of public attention to Senator Craig.

    public figures can sue for libel (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:56:35 PM EST
    it's just tougher to win. Think, Gary Condit and Lin Wood.

    What? (none / 0) (#12)
    by eric on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 09:37:13 PM EST
    I'm clueless.

    Pulling our leg? Wrong metaphor to use. eom (none / 0) (#2)
    by Geekesque on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:36:26 PM EST

    Libel (none / 0) (#3)
    by roy on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:37:37 PM EST
    It's damned hard for a public figure to sue somebody for libel and win.  As I understand it (IANAL), he'd have to prove A) the information was false, B) the people distributing it knew it was false, and C) the people distributing it acted with actual malice.

    Since the press was working mainly from police reports, B probably wouldn't fly, and C would be hopeless.

    Then the press reports that Craig lost his libel suit against the people who implied that he's gay.  The legal technicalities are not reported, or not reported well, as the MSM sucks at reporting such things even under normal circumstances.

    So suing for libel would probably strengthen the accusations that Craig is gay, even if he isn't.

    Caveat: he's probably gay (none / 0) (#4)
    by roy on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:38:34 PM EST
    Wrong libel target (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:55:53 PM EST
    I'm talking about the Idaho paper that did the 5 month investigation and published interviews with anonymous men saying they had encounters with Craig. And a blogger who published similar stories. If Craig believes both are lies, he could bring a libel suit against them, public figure or not.

    As for public figures, Lin Wood also got a settlement for Gary Condit in the Chandra Levy case.


    No case (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 07:00:48 PM EST
    Actual malice standard.

    He's toast but the libel suit angle is a nonstartet imo.

    Disclosure: I represent Media clients.


    it think it's tragic (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:53:23 PM EST
    that a good, god fearing, heterosexual, biblically correct man like sen. craig can't accidentally put another man's "little soldier" in his mouth, in a public restroom, probably while searching for his dropped car keys, without risk of being accused of untoward acts.

    it happens. you go to the bathroom, minding your own business, drop your pants, the keys fall out, you're nervously tapping your foot as you search for them. next thing you know, the guy in the next stall is putting his "little soldier" in your mouth, and accusing you of heinous acts!

    it could happen to any of us.

    with apologies (none / 0) (#8)
    by cpinva on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 06:59:06 PM EST
    to jesus' general! :)

    You can lawyer this to death all you want... (none / 0) (#11)
    by rdandrea on Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 08:09:00 PM EST
    ...but if someone else comes forward with a tale of having been solicited by Craig, he's toast--both in public perception and in front of a jury.

    If Craig and his attorneys are double damned sure nobody else will come out of the woodwork, good for him.  He should avail himself of the legal system.

    However, if there are people out there that have had other experiences of the same variety with Craig, he keeps this story alive at his own peril.

    I have a feeling that what we see from him in the near future is going to have a lot to do with what else is out there.

    Craig's actions suggest a long trail of encounters (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ellie on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 01:59:05 AM EST
    Craig's behavior upon being caught, and even at his press conference, underscore what the Statesman's investigation was bringing up.

    When Craig's target revealed that he was a policeman, Craig tried to pull rank by announcing that he was a US Senator. He also picked his hunting ground outside his home base. (NB: The cultural history of trolling restrooms been detailed elsewhere, including here at Talking Points Memo.)

    This power play is suggestive of a history of using harassment and intimidation when he doesn't get his way, and to ensure silence in addition to other complicity from his targets.

    The hypocrisy is a separate douchebaggery. Apart from issues relating to his (ab)use of office, I doubt many people outside Craig's own moral values phonies care who and what Craig's doing on the DL. The very attitudes of fairness, acceptance and discretion that Craig persecutes for personal gain would have saved his bacon.

    I welcome his Fall from Phony Grace.

    He could have gone to a bar or bistro with a primarily gay clientele and discreetly hooked up. He'd have had no problems explaining his presence either: apart from the big loud meat markets on downtown strips, smaller bars and bistros are welcoming to a mixed clientele and chances are great of getting superb food and service.

    Craig's alleged history suggests (to me, anyway) that soliciting sex in restrooms was -- hinky as that is -- the least of his hypocritical sleaze. It suggests the pattern of an experienced sexual predator who used his standing in the community and power of office to intimidate minors or young adults that he targeted.

    As I posted in another thread here, it's not the easily buried adult encounters on the DL that Craig (and his fellow moral values phonies) are likely worried about.

    There's a strong probability that he preyed on minors and young adults, and used his standing and power of office to intimidate and harass them. If they felt powerless to object years ago, they might feel more empowered to come forward now.


    I believe (none / 0) (#16)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 08:49:30 AM EST
      Jeralyn was being facetious with the "he should sue" line.

      Craig SHOULD resign, stop the media posturing  and go home and try to fix things with his family if that is possible. People don't always do what they should.

    he's a hypocrite (none / 0) (#17)
    by BanVick4Life on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 10:28:51 AM EST
    So I am going to enjoy the schadenfreude. I had a longer post but I'm pretty sure it's all been said above.

    that's never stopped anyone before (none / 0) (#18)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 10:31:48 AM EST
    This guy's self-hatred is off the charts (none / 0) (#19)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 11:27:19 AM EST
    And I'd be surprised if it didn't kill him at some point in the near future.  Literally.

    Craig stripped of leadership posts (none / 0) (#20)
    by Empire on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 02:57:49 PM EST
    Exactly what the Dems should have done to Lieberman last year. How about trading Lieberman to Idaho ? He'll fit right in.

    And still, on a human level... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 03:42:57 PM EST
    ...after a few afternoon gimlets at the Indian casino, I really feel for this guy on a completely non-partisan, fellow mortal level.  He was probably raised in an environment where to be gay was to be essentially satan incarnate.  As a person who endured a lot of childhood abuse, and who hid and lied about the miserably negative effects it had on me for decades, I can only, on the most humane of levels, hope that this man is able to ultimately live a life of personal acceptance and emotional honesty, and that the ability to do this transforms his relationship to everyone else in a positive, giving, productive manner.

    Touchy-feeling to the nth power, I know, but true.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#23)
    by squeaky on Thu Aug 30, 2007 at 04:33:36 PM EST
    A lot of really nasty leaders had it bad as children, and a lot of good leaders had a rough childhood as well.

    All in all Craig seems like a creep that regularly abuses his power.