Tuesday, September 04, 2007

My Quick (or Not-So-Quick) Take on Larry Craig

Larry Craig is a fool and a hypocrite.

Wow, that was fast.

Not so fast. I've got more to share.


I'm reading a fascinating exchange on a legal ethics listserve to which I belong. Various experts in the legal field (and I do mean experts -- big names in legal ethics circles) are debating whether there's such a thing as a public-private dichotomy when it comes to legal ethics. Question: does how one acts in private life necessarily mean they are unfit for their (more public) job? If Larry Craig engages in sexual liaisons in bathrooms, does that make him per se unfit as a legislator?

Some say no; that a whole constellation of reasons could exist for the foot bumping and the finger-reaching. (Oh, and the guilty plea.) These are reasons we don't know, the argument goes, and as such, we can't necessarily judge the whole of the person based upon this once incident that may very well be a huge (HUGE!) misunderstanding.

I can't buy it. Not because I necessarily disagree with the principle that one act does not necessarily condemn the entire person, but because I have given some though to what constellation of events may have caused Senator Craig to "accidentally" bump his foot against the foot of the guy next to him (twice!, I think) and to reach under the stall, and I come up empty.

According to the cop, there was no paper on the floor for him to pick up, and if there were, who picks that shit up? Unless it was a piece of legislation that you were reviewing while on the can, or even a newspaper, most people just leave it. (Early reports were that he claimed there was a piece of toilet paper on the floor. Really now, who makes the effort to reach down a pick up a piece of errant toilet tissue in a public bathroom?)

He doesn't deny tapping the cop's foot, he just claims a takes a "wide stance" when taking a crap. Uh, please. Every American male who has ever used a public restroom knows the rules of public toilets: unless absolutely necessary, never stand at a urinal that's right next an occupied one; never talk to anyone; and always look straight ahead while urinating. And never, ever, invade another man's space, for any reason. Memo to Sen. Craig: This generally includes not letting your leg drift into the next guy's stall, no matter how "wide" your "stance." It just doesn't happen. Unless you want to initiate some chicka chicka bow bow. And let's face it, Sen. Craig knew those rules. And he knew the rules on who to solicit sex in a public restroom.

Oh, when you're in a stall an realize there's no toilet tissue there? I would vote for a stage whisper to the guy next to you along the lines of "Hey dude, I seem to be out of paper here. Could you pass me some?" Oh, and doing that before running your hand under the bottom of the stall.


In the aftermath (though I suppose it's still continuing, WaPo ran an article about Mike Rogers entitled "The Most Feared Man on the Hill?". Mr. Rogers is the gay activist who spends a good chunk of his time identifying and outing anti-gay lawmakers (those whose legislative activities are homophobic -- including not just voting records, but also campaign-related issues). Sen. Craig was on his list.

I mention this article because there's a wonderful quote in there which needs to be called out. It's on the third web page of the article.

Context: Rogers outed Dan Gurley, a national field director at the Republican National Committee, whom Rogers believed signed off on a flier sent to conservative voting districts which played upon those voters' base fears about gay marriage. Gurley eventually lost his job and moved to North Carolina. But here's his money quote:

[Gurley] adds: "Who does Rogers think he is? God? What gives him the right to bully people around and tell us what to think or how to conduct our lives?"

The hypocrisy is rank. Does he not notice that if you substitute "the Republican Party" where "Rogers" shows up in that quote you come up with the exact reason gay people should reject GOP social conservatism??


And, just for fun, Keith Olbermann:

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