Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CRAIG vs. VITTER....Lots of conservative bloggers, following Hugh Hewitt's lead, have called for Larry Craig to resign even though they didn't call for David Vitter to resign when he was outed for visiting prostitutes last month. Is this because Craig was trolling for gay sex and Vitter was trolling for straight sex? Probably, but before we go too far down that road I think Scott Lemieux is merely stating the obvious with his alternative explanation:

In the specific case of Hewitt, though, there's probably a more important factor: Louisiana's governor is a Democrat, and Idaho's is a Republican. Craig resigning would mean a Republican incumbent going into the 2008 election; Vitter resigning would mean another Democratic Senator. So no conservative pundit should get credit for standing on principle for demanding that Craig resign, and that goes triple if they haven't made the same call for Vitter (who actually violated the law, although he did so in a more heterosexual way that will help to earn forgiveness from conservatives.)

Does anyone seriously want to argue that Scott is off base here? Of course conservatives are turning against Craig secure in the knowledge that they're running no actual political risk. We're not children, are we?

Kevin Drum 3:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (157)

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Comments

[Deleted]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the Democratic-Republican governor angle had been obvious to all.

As an aside, I'm not sure why Lemieux thinks it's distinctive that Vitter "actually violated the law." So did Craig, who just got a misdemeanor conviction for this. Vitter so far has not even been charged.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

HE has probably spent some time on the Idaho Beef Council as well, I'll wager.

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

John Cole at Balloon-Juice was way ahead of the curve on this one LOL.

Posted by: dreggas on August 28, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

[Deleted]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop: I assume it's obvious too. But you can't be too careful, can you? I just figured it was worth a quick post.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on August 28, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is this because Craig was trolling for gay sex and Vitter was trolling for straight sex?

First of all, I think we should consider what we have is a rogue cop (like Mark Fuhrman) going after Republican politicians. Nothing Craig did was even remotely sexual, but the cop knew Craig would have to cop a deal to admitting his guilt because otherwise the cop would publically embarrass him with his false allegations. Just like Scott Thomas at TNR, the right roots should thoroughly investigate if the the cop is a liar trying to damage Craig with his lies.

But even accepting his plea, there's a reason to treat Craig and Vitter differently. Craig pleaded guilty to committing a sexual crime. vitter has not said he committed any crime. In America, we believe people are innocent until proven guilty. Since Vitter has not been proven guilty, good Americans must believe he's innocent until proven otherwise. All Vitter said was he committed a sin. But good Christians like Vitter believe lust for a woman itself is a sin. So Vitter might just have felt some lust for a attractive woman, and that is the sin he committed. Although Vitter's lust is certainly a sin, it is not a crime, and I shall believe he is innocent until proven otherwise.

Posted by: Al on August 28, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, teh Gay is a sin against God while visiting a prostitute is simply an expression of a free-market exchange of goods and services.

Posted by: Cheney's Third Nipple on August 28, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

[Deleted]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I wasn't criticizing the post; I was agreeing with you. Hugh Hewitt isn't the only one on the right whose conscience is being driven by the political affiliation of the governor in question.

It doesn't hurt, either, that Craig is 62 and was considering retirement--or saying he was--even before this broke. Cutting him loose is a no brainer.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "In America, we believe people are innocent until proven guilty."

Hence the need for electrodes on their genitals.

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"My wife, Suzanne, is a dietician and has helped me realize the importance of proper nutrition, especially for those who are older."

You'd think he'd know, then, that virtually all American RDs spell it "dietitian."

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

[Deleted]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dang, Vitters still hasn't resigned? I guess the R's have no decency at all. Anyway, we don't need another Mary Landrieu right now. If he doesn't resign, I just hope Vitters runs again (and loses expensively).

Posted by: jussumbody on August 28, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

[Deleted]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

That rogue cop was a genius!

Posted by: jri on August 28, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Have to agree with the argument that Craig has been convicted of a crime and Vitter has not. After all, if simply being accused of a crime, sexually oriented or not, was cause for resignation, where would Congressman Jefferson be?

After all, what Jefferson's accused of is more serious than either Craig or Vitter. Heck, Congressman Bob Filner's assualt charge is more serious. But, no conviction, no calls for resignation. What's fair for Jefferson and Filner is fair for Vitter

As I see it, until someone's actually convicted of a crime, it's up to the voters to decide whether what they're accused of should cause them to be removed from office. In the next election.

Posted by: Strick on August 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it has something to do with Vitter still having a 66% approval rating.

Posted by: Nemo on August 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

"We're not children, are we?"

Damn. Guess I'll have to keep looking.

Posted by: Mark Foley (R-FL) on August 28, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

What's behind the right's different response to David Vitter's call girls and Larry Craig's boy trouble? In a nutshell, the boys.

As the old expression goes, you are what you eat. And that imagery, apparently, is behind the growing conservative chorus calling for the resignation of disgraced Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig.

For the details, see:
"Behind the Right's Double Standard on Craig and Vitter."

Posted by: Furious on August 28, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hugh Hewitt, nice voice but that is about all. Contradictions to his politics always seem embarrassing when they show up on his show, even from fellow conservatives. The guy is a ends over means thinker, and really not that bright as a result.

Posted by: Matt on August 28, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, I think we should consider what we have is a rogue cop (like Mark Fuhrman) going after Republican politicians.

Ah, yes, the "they framed OJ, too" defense. That should be easy to sell.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho on August 28, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's a little different also, because when visiting a prostitute, the sex acts would ostensibly take place in private, while a public bathroom is, uh, public. Unless you plan public sex with the prostitute...

Posted by: luci on August 28, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Anon, we're begging you....links, not yards of cut and paste...thanking you in advance...

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

--Can we please stop with the cut and paste or is that some kind of troll tactic.

I find it ironic that the wingnuts are asking that he resign and over at Talking Points Memo they are making Al's argument: Craig didn't actually "Do" any thing and that the cop arrested him of Flimsy evidence. Josh goes on to explain that Senator Craig was caught in a Catch 22 and had to plead guilty.

Its a funny world when the Left and Right switch places.

Posted by: henk on August 28, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, there isn't much doubt regarding the motivations of people like Hewitt, but there can be a principled argument made that paying adults for sex in private is not a legitimate area of government prohibition, and thus violating such a law is tolerable, whereas having sex in airport restrooms is something government can legitimately prohibit.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 28, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

[Knock it off. --Mod]

Posted by: Anon on August 28, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Please ban these people who copy and paste entire freaking articles in the comments.

>>I think we should consider what we have is a rogue cop (like Mark Fuhrman) going after Republican politicians.

The police, just like the CIA, have been infiltrated by liberals.

I'm waiting for Craig to say that he offered to have gay sex with the officer because he "didn't want to end up just another statistic."

Posted by: Orson on August 28, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Jackass. If you don't stop the cut and paste I am going to make a donation to Larry Craig. Asshole.

Posted by: Pat on August 28, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Guess his wife is also a member of the Idaho Beard Council.

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it would be better if Craig did resign. Then the republican going into the next senate election will have been forced to cast a few pro-war and pro-bush votes he will have to defend, instead of campaigning on a blank slate claiming to have opposed the war.

Posted by: Hugh on August 28, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Craig is now claiming that he is not gay and never has been gay.

He is right. His alleged behavior -- as reported -- is not gay. Rather, it borders on assault -- unseemly, aggressive, and very risky.

Anonymous oral sex in a public restroom is deviant behavior -- pure and simple -- whether between two men, a man and a woman, or two women.

My gay friends are especially appalled by this behavior.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 28, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - I wish you would quit projecting your philosophy of situational ethics onto honest people like Hugh Hewitt. A much more coherent explanation is that Hewitt, like most evangelical conservatives, is personally repulsed by homosexuality. He is willing to be civil in the public arena but will not tolerate those he considers degenerates harrassing the uninterested in public restrooms... Vitter called an escort service, hardly likely to impose on third parties.

Posted by: minion on August 28, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Guess his wife is also a member of the Idaho Beard Council.

I'm baking you cookies for that one.

Anonymous oral sex in a public restroom is deviant behavior -- pure and simple -- whether between two men, a man and a woman, or two women.

I think of someone "relentlessly and viciously harassed," as he put it, by rumors of his trolling for anonymous sex. I think of him giving that interview in May in which he vehemently denied ever getting it on with a guy. I think of the fact that when people choose public life, they make the decision to give up some of the activities--not just sexual--which private people engage in. I think about how, after all that, after he's been fully put on notice that he's being watched and scarcely one month has passed since his big denial, he's trolling for sex from a stranger in an airport bathroom.

That makes me think, "Compulsive. Joyless, self-hating, furtive, compulsive."

And I almost feel sorry for him, until I remember how hard he's worked against gay and lesbian civil rights and liberties. And then I laugh.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Larry Craig is a psychological mess. What a totally sad and pathetic sight he presented today at his press conference, denying the charges he pled guilty to.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Craig issued a completely unsolicited denial of unleveled charges during the 1982 congressional page scandal (though not during the more recent Foley page scandal), which indicates his guilty conscience and fear of being implicated.

Good job, Idaho. Thanks a lot for these wonderful human contributions to American democracy.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 28, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Oy. This is painful to watch. Clearly, the guy's really horny & really stupid, but count me among those who question the criminality of this.

As for your gay friends, Econobuzz, if they're appalled by the idea of gay men cruising, they don't get out much. Not saying they all do it, or even that those who do go to municipal airports for it, but it's not that bizarre among the Brotherhood.

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

count me among those who question the criminality of this.

What Craig actually pled guilty to was not lewd conduct but interference of privacy. I'd say standing in front of a bathroom stall peering into the door crack for two minutes constitutes same.

As for your gay friends, Econobuzz, if they're appalled by the idea of gay men cruising, they don't get out much. Not saying they all do it, or even that those who do go to municipal airports for it, but it's not that bizarre among the Brotherhood.

I know you weren't talking to me, but just to clarify my post at 5:32: Cruising is cruising. It is what it is. But what gets me here is Craig's believing that he's being viciously persecuted by rumors and relentlessly dogged by the press, and not waiting for all of it to die down, going looking soon afterward for sex in a public bathroom. That's compulsive, man.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

minion: "[Hugh Hewitt] is willing to be civil in the public arena but will not tolerate those he considers degenerates harrassing the uninterested in public restrooms."

You've been watching way too much porn.

The vast majority of gay people do NOT "harrass the uninterested", or even troll for anonymous sex in public restrooms. Those who do engage in deviant public behavior will get what they deserve when they're inevitably caught, just like Larry Craig. Further, well over 90% of sex-related crimes are in fact perpetrated by males who insist that they are heterosexual.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 28, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I feel soooo sorry for poor Larry - He heads a Council on Aging - Poor guy became lost and thought he was in the Woman's Lounge.

Another Chicken Hawk - Graduated from the U of Idaho in 67 - Did not serve - Grad school - Normally, I would not care one hoot, but somehow he was placed on the Veteran's Affairs Committee, where he has been a leader in trying to remove Non-Combat Vets from the rolls, and if he could not, then he wanted co-pays to increase dramatically.

But, Walter E Wallis, where are you? When there was another dustup in October 06 about Craig having 3 different affairs with men, you commented on another site, with some rambling about some strange sexual events not meriting marriage or public aprobation. Come in, Walter E.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly, the guy's really horny & really stupid, but count me among those who question the criminality of this.

Count me as one of the people who is growing increasingly appalled by people on the Left defending this kind of behavior.

I think David Kurtz's comment over at TPM that Craig's behavior was simply "tactless" is especially egregious.

Take the "gay" out of it. If Craig were soliciting women for het sex in a women's restroom, would there be any doubt that his actions were criminal?

This is looking more and more to me like the same kind of double standard that allows one to abhor sexual assault by men against women, and yet blithely look the other way wrt to the epidemic levels of men assaulting other men, eg, in prison.

Wake up, people.

Posted by: Disputo on August 28, 2007 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, to me the important question is whether Craig will, in fact, resign over this.

After all, what kind of life is a hypocritical Republican politician who has been exposed as gay likely to lead? What Republican connected lobbying firm or company is going to hire him? He's going to be a pariah.

And what will actually force him to retire? A conviction on a misdemeanor? I hardly see him being thrown out of the Senate over that.

And his performance today strongly suggests he has no intention of resigning.

Of course, the best possible thing for Democrats would be to have Larry Craig to kick around. So here's hoping.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 28, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

What Craig actually pled guilty to was not lewd conduct but interference of privacy.

I thought that he was charged with 1) Interference of Privacy and 2) Disorderly Conduct, but only pled to the latter.

Posted by: Disputo on August 28, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: "... what gets me here is Craig's believing that he's being viciously persecuted by rumors and relentlessly dogged by the press, and not waiting for all of it to die down, going looking soon afterward for sex in a public bathroom. That's compulsive, man."

No question. While I'm no authority on the psychology of public & closeted men, my guess is that of his comments are just the last very desperate gasps of a very desperate man. (His desperation is what got them into this in the first place.) From this point, whatever comes out of his mouth is theater -- if not to save his seat, then just to preserve some scintilla of dignity.

Anyway, I guess I'm more of a sucker than you are, because I actually do feel sorry for him. Everyone's welcome to pile on me for that, but before you all do, I understand the hypocrisy, I understand the recklessness. I still feel sorry for the guy. I didn't care about Clinton's extracurriculars, and I don't really care about Craig's.

Okay. You can now consider me a glazed ham in a roomful of Dobermans.

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin wanted to know whether Hewitt was influenced by the effect on the senate, he should ask Hewitt, who I assume would honestly respond.

I think Craig is probably "guilty" and the idea of looking for sex in a men's room at an airport is pretty low, but the fact that grown men do it and law enforcement spends the time and effort to trap them doing so makes you shake your head.

As to resignation, it would be better for the country if guys like Craig, Vitter and Barney Frank resigned when they were exposed as engaginig in immoral behavior. But, our political systems lets the voters render judgment if they don't resign.

I also think that it would have been better if Clinton had resigned rather than first lied to the people and then fought impeachment. Instead, it is a great example of how dishonesty worked in saving his job. And in the big picture, it possibly hurt the democratic party. Al Gore possibly would be completing about 10 years as president if Clinton had done the honorable thing and resigned.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

The same thing happened to some guy at work. He had been frequenting a park where males were known to 'gather.' He was known to take his lunch there, yet it was well known as a pick up spot.
A flash of the lights on the highway would be the cue, and consenting adults would head to the designated area. The guy went into the bathroom area; however, the other fellow there happened to be an undercover policeman.
He was first accused of soliciting an undercover officer, and ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. His reputation was in tatters and he really never recovered. It was the random sex aspect, and the fact that he was married. There was a huge element of hypocrisy that haunted him.

Posted by: consider wisely always on August 28, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't hurt, either, that Craig is 62 and was considering retirement--or saying he was--even before this broke. Cutting him loose is a no brainer. Posted by: shortstop

Yeah, retirement. Probably Key West or San Francisco. He and the missus might have problems finding bridge partners in Payette.

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Resign?

Vitter should go to fucking JAIL. The poor madam is looking at something like 40 years. It's a travesty.

Craig? He's looking at what, a little probation? I think he should do that, and maybe just S.T.F.U. about "Family Values" for like, you know, the REST OF HIS CAREER. It's not like we (the left) didn't know they're all a bunch of hypocrites, and that (the right) will vote for anyone who says "I found Jesus" (. . . in a restroom stall at a bus station in Texarcana).

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 28, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Okay. You can now consider me a glazed ham in a roomful of Dobermans.

Aw, no need to be dramatic, juney.

And his performance today strongly suggests he has no intention of resigning.

It does. And yet...these kinds of revelations have a way of opening the floodgates. More to come? And his Republican colleagues in the Senate are not standing up for him; McConnell wants an ethics committee investigation.

So this may not be over, and his career may be...soon.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: "Take the "gay" out of it. If Craig were soliciting women for het sex in a women's restroom, would there be any doubt that his actions were criminal?"

I don't know that you can take the "gay" out of it. I mean, that's a context that matters. First of all, his mere presence in women's restroom would get him in trouble, and for good reason. There's nothing illegal, though, about propositioning a woman -- so far as you're not negotiating prices. I'm not saying that what the guy did isn't creepy, but characterizing it as assault is a stretch.

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Some lady from Idaho is looking for a leopard skin dress over at E-Bay - I, smell, press conference.

Yeah, junebug, I could feel more empathy for the Vitters and Craigs of the world, if they had not displayed such dispassion against gays and such strong support for family values - Lots of wearing their creds on their sleeves - Didn't even take Borax to clean those creds off. That sound of glass, is all of the homes of the purest of the pure stone throwers a'crumblin.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

"no need to be dramatic"

But I like teh role-playing.

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Good job, Idaho. Thanks a lot for these wonderful human contributions to American democracy. Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

Yeah. Morally upright (up tight?) Idaho. Second time in about a decade that the Gem State loses a member of Congress to a sex scandal. The first one to go (her name escapes me) having the gall to pig-pile on Clinton during the Lewinsky mess.

Idaho would be a great state if you could just empty it of most of its inhabitants and start over again.

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Taranto at the WSJ has an interesting piece about why liberals should be more compassionate toward closeted gays who oppose gay rights. It actually makes a lot of sense, or at least is thought provoking (of course, Craig still adamantly denies he is gay).

http://opinionjournal.com/best/

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

I know Al is not to be taken seriously, but really if that is the best they can do it says a lot about the situation.

So what your saying is this undercover cop knew in advance that Senator Craig would go to that rest room and which stall he would use. So he staked the place out and went there 13 minutes before Craig arrived and waited around for him.

Wow those cops in Minnesota are amazing.

Posted by: Eric K on August 28, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Helen Chenoweth.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

As for your gay friends, Econobuzz, if they're appalled by the idea of gay men cruising, they don't get out much. Not saying they all do it, or even that those who do go to municipal airports for it, but it's not that bizarre among the Brotherhood.

Posted by: junebug

Knowing that something goes on and approving of it are two different things. The gays I know do not approve of anonymous oral sex in public restrooms.

Posted by: Econobuzz on August 28, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

brian: "Taranto at the WSJ has an interesting piece about why liberals should be more compassionate toward closeted gays who oppose gay rights."

And I have an interesting piece about why Republicans should be -- oh, I don't know -- human when dealing with anyone with whom they disagree. It actually makes a lot of sense, and it's definitely thought-provoking. (Of course, I still adamantly deny you have the intelligence of a house fly.)

http://giveitarest/jackass

Posted by: junebug on August 28, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, The Perfect Batting Machine nailed it, once again - Helen Chenoweth has gone to that great rifle range in the sky, but who can forget her comments about the salmon not being endangered because one could buy them in cans at Albertsons?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

[Persistent Trolling Deleted]

Posted by: mhr on August 28, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, at least the Gem State could go back to Frank Church.

Posted by: stupid git on August 28, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

I still feel sorry for the guy. I didn't care about Clinton's extracurriculars, and I don't really care about Craig's. Posted by: junebug

Huge differences. Clinton was a known womanizer yet Craig was one of the probably dozen or more gay Rethug legislators who made lots of noise about being anti-gay.

What Clinton did was wrong, but it wasn't happening in public restrooms or even at Lewinsky's apartment (calling JFK!), and he never should have had to answer a single question about it, except to his family because it wasn't happening in public.

Craig's preferences could have stayed private as well, though he's apparently been somewhat careless over the years. However, because he's, supposedly, an anti-gay Rethug from a very (underline three times) conservative state, he had it coming.

I'm just waiting for someone to finally admit that Bush has been drinking again for years.

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Just because I was carrying a Trojan when I assaulted Troilus doesn't make me gay...

Posted by: Achilles on August 28, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just wondering what Bush's 24%-er's would be more upset about.

A love-child with Condi?

Or the blackmail photos of Bush giving service to Jeff Gannon being made public.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on August 28, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, The Perfect Batting Machine nailed it, once again - Helen Chenoweth has gone to that great rifle range in the sky, but who can forget her comments about the salmon not being endangered because one could buy them in cans at Albertsons?

She was very strange. In more strangeness, I remember asking "Whatever happened to her?" on this very blog one day last spring or summer, and later finding out that she had died in a car crash, I think the same day of my query.

She was thrown from the car. As a paranoid, militia-loving Idahoan, she believed seatbelts and speed limits were government plots to infringe upon her personal liberty. So she lived free and died.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

junebug is an example of how liberals oftern are unwilling to engage on an respectful and intellectual level. Taranto makes some interesting points about the question of why liberals are not more compassionate towarad closeted gays who oppose gay rigths. Junebug will not consider them.

Now that Craig has adamantly denied he is gay, doesn't that put him in one of two categories: (1) a liar to the public about his sexual activities, just like Clinton; or (2) a wrongly accused man. This is not the point that Taranto made, but isn't it a further basis for liberals to give him some slack?

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

She was thrown from the car. As a paranoid, militia-loving Idahoan, she believed seatbelts and speed limits were government plots to infringe upon her personal liberty. So she lived free and died.
Posted by: shortstop

Gaffaw! Loudly.

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Achilles,

Well, at least you had the foresight to carry a Trojan Pack.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some non-intellectual disrespect for you, brian: Shut the fuck up with your never-ending "thoughtful" suggestions, coincidentally always focusing on how liberals can improve their behavior. Craig pled guilty and was convicted. It's a done deal.

Posted by: shortstop on August 28, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

The main thing I know about Larry Craig is that he's been a relentless, vicious enemy to all things environmental since the Reagan Era. We used to refer to him as the Congressman from Big Timber, but of course he is also a true-blue friend of Big Oil and Big Mining as well.

Put simply, he never saw a wilderness he didn't want to level and -- like so many others in the GOP -- his idea of "balance" on matters of environment is for industry to get 101% of what it wants and conservationists to get nothing. That's no exaggeration: in recent years, we've seen repeated instances where Craig and legislators like him actually shoveled MORE out their corporate buddies than the lobbyists had actually asked for.

When I think of all the wilderness that's been mowed down thanks to Craig's personal efforts, I just can't find it in my heart to have any sympathy for his current plight at all. I'd likely be more forgiving about it were it not for his lifetime of hypocrisy, but given all that I know about him, I can only think that it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

Posted by: Roger Keeling on August 28, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Craig broke the law because he wanted to perform homosexual sex in a public restroom. Had he just gone to a gay bar and rented a room or put an ad in the appropriate singles section on craigslist or a local paper, he would not have broken the law.

Sen. Craig is a pitiful man, I agree with Junebug, but not because he was busted. Sen. Craig is pitiful because he is in denial about his homosexuality and what his homosexuality means for an old cowboy in Idaho. He is a broken man now, and although I take some pleasure in having his hypocricy exposed, it is only because of his membership in the political faction that seeks to continue the cultural oppression that forces men like him to seek out sex in public restrooms. His legacy should be used to expose the inhumanity and latent homosexuality of the homophobes.

Posted by: Brojo on August 28, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: "If Craig were soliciting women for het sex in a women's restroom, would there be any doubt that his actions were criminal?"

Well, yeah -- the question would immediately beg as to why he would be hanging out in a women's restroom. That's not a very good analogy.

And further, not everybody on the Left is defending Craig's behavior, any more than most people on the Right are blindly protecting a Republican up for re-election in 2008.

Let's at least make an attempt to understand that this issue isn't about sex per se, because you can't regulate an innate personal characteristic like sexual orientation. This is about how we as a society define inappropriate personal public behavior, specifically behavior that constitutes unwarranted or unsolicited harrassment, which is something that is regulated all the time, and for good reason.

I'm certainly not a prude when it comes to sex, and I really don't care much for those persons who are easily offended by that which is inherently subjective in taste or desire.

I also don't give a rat's ass what kind or amount of mess people make of their personal lives, as long as that particular mess remains distinctly private, and does not involve risky activity that endangers the health or safety of other persons.

But once someone's personal behavior crosses that fine line to constitute a legitimate public concern, then all bets are off.

Therefore, count me as one confirmed leftist who will say, without any equivocation, that lewd public behavior in a common area frequented by others is at once deviant, intrusive, and amoral. And as such, the punishment should be in accordance with relevant local ordinances and state law, and left to a local magistrate's proper discretion.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 28, 2007 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just wondering what Bush's 24%-er's would be more upset about. A love-child with Condi? Or the blackmail photos of Bush giving service to Jeff Gannon being made public. Posted by: osama_been_forgotten

You're kidding, right? Nothing will move the dead-enders. Hell, Dave "I took way too long to nail the Green River Killer" Reichert had the dumb son-of-a-bitch (try and dispute that appellation) in Bellevue last night for a fund raiser.

(They know better than to hold them in Seattle as the protests would dwarf the WTO riots.)

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I certainly hope that this will not affect his singing in the Barbershop Quartet with Lott, Ashcroft and another - Their rendition of "YMCA" was really great.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Their rendition of "YMCA" was really great.
Posted by: thethirdPaul

Gaffaw! Loudly. Again.

Posted by: JeffII on August 28, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, maybe I've seen too many Law & Orders, but doesn't Craig's assertion that he "did nothing wrong" have the potential to nullify his plea bargain? I thought copping to a lesser charge meant having to admit what you did. If ever any action went against that spirit, this would be it.

Anybody help on this>

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII,

But, a reprise of the WTOs could have had Dave "Wake me when you catch him, so I can make the photo-op" Reichert a hero, once again. Wading through the crowds waving his nightstick, ah, the days of old. Foaming at the mouth as he hits protestors - "Take that Ridgway, take that". Malkin drools in the background.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Being female, I really never thought about how uncomfortable and stressful it must be for men to go to public restrooms. It's bad enough having to take a crap in a public restroom without having to put up with another man peeking, tapping his foot in your stall, sticking his hands under the partition, etc. Yuck. I'm not a homophobe, but I do think this behavior should be illegal because the poor guy trying to take a crap is a captive audience. It's an assault, really, because I imagine some men would feel very threatened. This kind of stuff doesn't happen in women's rooms. I can certainly imagine why the travelers at the airport had complained. I'm surprised more people don't get their lights punched out for that kind of thing.

BTW, I live in New Orleans and I am NOT one of the 66% of Louisiana voters who support Vitter. I want to see him go because he's an a**hole, and I felt that way long before the DC hooker revelations surfaced. I believe you are correct that Republicans can safely oust Craig but not so much with Vitter, and that's a major part of the difference in their reaction. As a human being, though, I have to say I find the unwanted pestering of others for sex in a restroom more reprehensible than screwing a consenting prostitute for money, whether male or female. At least Vitter and the prostitute were both there for the same reason.

Posted by: dangerblond on August 28, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yeah, I think the ReThug/Demo governor has something to do with it, but don't underestimate their loathing of the "homosexual lifestyle."

I mean, to them heterosexual prostitution is only illegal and an afront to "family values," but homosexual prostitution is downright icky. It makes their stomachs turn, it nauseates them. It's not so much a matter of "morals" as of repulsion.

Posted by: Cal Gal on August 28, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Well, good for Larry Craig standing up and placing the blame squarely, upon, no, not his shoulders, but, that of the Idaho Statesman - Damnable newspapers.

But, at least he is more open and available than most congressional people - Almost all have a means in which the public can contact them - Usually, it a web site - For Larry, he makes it easier - Not only a web site, but the addresses of the Minneapolis Airport Men's Room and the ones at the Union Station in DC.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 28, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, how come nobody is speaking up for the right of folks to fool around in a bathroom if they damned well feel like it?

I mean, why are cops spending time prosecuting men for having sex in public bathrooms? What year is this, 1964?

Maybe I've just spent too long in New York City and the SF Bay Area, but I think the cops are totally out of line here. The description of the senator's foot nudging and hand waving is just heartbreaking. The guy wants to get off. If some innocent bystander wasn't into it, he could have finished his business and walked away. What is so awful about Craig's sexual behavior? I mean, at least we hope he's practicing safe sex.

Now, I certainly approve of exposing his hypocrisy - that is rich. But I really don't approve of the "public lewdness" laws. And I'm really surprised nobody else is commenting on this aspect.

I thought we had a terrorism problem that cops were supposed to be looking out for at the airport. Why is any cop in the country lurking in bathrooms hoping to catch adult homosexuals having sex? Grow up!

PS - I am a respectable, monogamous, married heterosexual female, middle-aged and a mother. I even believe in God. Men have always fooled around in bathrooms and always will. Leave 'em alone.

Posted by: Leila on August 28, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Keith Olbermann pointed out the irony of Senator Craig thanking reporters for "coming out today."
And there is hypocrisy related to conservative views, the chastising of the Big Dawg a few years back on the monica matter--calling him a 'naughty boy." Ironic.
Rachel Maddow is pointing out the glass house stone throwing issues, saying Craig is absolutely, positively sunk.


Posted by: consider wisely always on August 28, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just to make the metaphor more perfect, Helen Chenoweth wasn't killed after being thrown from a speeding car while not wearing a seat belt, it was a actually a speeding SUV (of course).

Posted by: fafner1 on August 28, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

What Craig's "guilty" of, in addition to whatever the hell he pleaded to in Minnesota, is being from Idaho. Being perceived as teh gay there will certainly get you not reelected to congress. End of story.

Ciao Larry, nice knowin' ya. Maybe some play dates with Helen Chenoweth?

Posted by: Trollhattan on August 28, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Well, yeah -- the question would immediately beg as to why he would be hanging out in a women's restroom. That's not a very good analogy.

No, it's a perfect analogy precisely because neither in the real case nor the analogical one was he (would he be) in the restroom for what a person is supposed to be in a restroom for. The only difference is that in my analogy, that is obvious.

And further, not everybody on the Left is defending Craig's behavior

Nowhere did I say or suggest "everybody" on the Left is. Can we try to avoid the strawmen?

Posted by: Disputo on August 28, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

"junebug is an example of how liberals oftern are unwilling to engage on an respectful and intellectual level."

ROFL.... Nope, sorry, brian, but it's nothing more than an example of someone refusing to engage an idiot and/or a troll.

"Taranto makes some interesting points about the question of why liberals are not more compassionate towarad closeted gays who oppose gay rigths."

Not really. In fact, not at all. There was not one argument in Taranto's piece that was worth engaging. It was nothing more than a hit piece on "liberals," full of ad hominem attacks and definitely not "respectful," nor "intellectual," nor worth responding to. That you think it was revealed enough about you to warrant Junebug's response.

Posted by: PaulB on August 28, 2007 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

"No, it's a perfect analogy precisely because neither in the real case nor the analogical one was he (would he be) in the restroom for what a person is supposed to be in a restroom for."

No, sorry, but the analogy is so fundamentally flawed that it's just not worth considering. You have to do so much hand-waving to get past the differences that any conclusions you reach would be worthless.

If you really want to do a comparison, then pick a non-gender-specific place where people of all persuasions can "cruise."

Posted by: PaulB on August 28, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

"I mean, why are cops spending time prosecuting men for having sex in public bathrooms? What year is this, 1964?"

It usually comes down to, "But think of the children!" That argument almost always prevails, even in 2007.

Posted by: PaulB on August 28, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Senate Republicans are now pushing for an "ethics investigation" of Senator Craig. To me, this suggests two things:

(1) Unless Craig resigns (and gets replaced in short order by another Republican), he is about to be strung up by his own party for political reasons. Consider how the GOP turned on Bob Packwood.

(2) If it happens, the GOP will likely use the ethics investigation as a two-edged sword that will at once burnish their own respectability (as being opposed to anonymous blow jobs between men and suchlike) AND to distract the public from the war in Iraq.

If the investigation coincidentally shuts down Congress and keeps everyone distracted from actually passing any legislation ... so much the better, since they were looking to stifle the Democrats' initiatives anyway. Worked pretty well during the Clinton impeachment.

-- Bokonon

Posted by: Bokonon on August 28, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, well, well - its sad when Bush goes and makes the Repug Partys ONLY Constituency the Christian Right - the 29 percentile of radicals that have reduced the Repug party to third Party status.

The GOP owes it all the ever brilliant architect Karl Rove - it's that tiny close knit group of radical Christian righties that completely control the GOP now - Thanks to Mr Turdblossom and his lingering presents and may Mr. Turd stay with the Party in spirit for ever and ever, amen.

Posted by: Me_again on August 28, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII, the notion that Clinton should not have had to answer any questions about having sex with Ms. Lewinsky would be less ironic if not for the fact that Bill Clinton had fully supported expanding civil discovery in sexual harrassment lawsuits to allow question pertaining to all other sexual partners. Bill Clinton though such questions were fine for other poor slobs, but certainly not for him.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 28, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

So, nobody has a notion a to whether Craig could have mooted his lesser plea by announcing that he's "not guilty" today? Anybody else?

Posted by: Kenji on August 28, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Except, as Will "Republican Apologist" Allen knows full well, the judge in the case clearly stated that the questions about Lewinsky weren't relevant. In fact, even Will "Democrats Are Always Wrong" Allen also knows, the Jones suit was dismissed under summary judgment - a ruling that requires the judge assume all of the plaintiffs facts are true.

All of which means that Will "Just Because I Always Defend Republicans and Attack Democrats Doesn't Mean I'm Not An Independent" Allen is also aware that this was a frivolous lawsuit and Clinton should not have had to answer questions about his sex life. But our own Slick Willy doesn't care - so long as he can pretend ignorance and attack a Democrat he's happy as a pig in mud.

Posted by: noel on August 28, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Leila: "But I really don't approve of the 'public lewdness' laws. And I'm really surprised nobody else is commenting on this aspect."

Leila, you got me on my knees.
Leila, I'm beggin', baby, please,
Leila, darlin', won't you ease my worried mind ... and let me do you in the Minneapolis airport's main lobby?

Well, of course you wouldn't! That's what private bedrooms and "No Tell" motels are for -- especially for two married, middle-aged but still very attractive and highly desirable people like ourselves, if we were ever thus inclined to stray. It would be irresponsible to suggest that we do otherwise.

Being an adult means that you take personal responsibility for your own actions. And those those so-called "adults" who can't maintain at least some semblance of composure and self-discipline regarding their expressions of sexual desire -- or further, would allow that desire to dictate their personal activities, completely heedless of time, place and / or circumstance -- are hardly worthy of any appellation implying wisdom and maturity.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 28, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Trollhattan: "Ciao Larry, nice knowin' ya. Maybe some play dates with Helen Chenoweth?"

I'm sorry, Trollhattan, but Ms. Chenoweth has since departed this earth, and has gone on to her greater reward -- which, if there were truly a God, would be an Albertson's supermarket that's stocked with nothing but canned salmon.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 28, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Noel,

You cannot ignore that Clinton paid about $800k to settle the lawsuit. The summary judgment ruling was on appeal. It is not accurate to call a case on appeal settled for $800k a frivolous lawsuit.

Posted by: brian on August 28, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, everyone! We want to talk about Clinton! Let's make this thread about Clinton! Please?!

Posted by: brian and will, who met in a stall earlier this eve to plan this line of discussion on August 28, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Next up: Why liberals should be more compassionate to chicken-hawk draft dodgers that launch illegal wars.

Posted by: WSJ Editorial Board on August 28, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

President Bush Reassures His Hundreds of Remaining Supporters Following Routine Rectal Roto-Rootering

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans: Recently, I briefly surrendered my reigns of power to Vice President Dick Cheney, on account of I had to get a colonasstomy in case the loving God who appointed me ruler changes His mind and tries to kill me with the ass cancer. I know it's uncomfortable for my adoring public to think of me, their super-macho El Hefe, all drugged up and helpless, de-pantsed, with a ten-foot robot python jimmying so far up my gayhole, it could taste yesterday's Cheetos – but don't worry: I'm OK. And to every fucktard standup comic and late show host who's wondering: NO, they did not find another copy of my Iraq war plan up there!

The colonectomy itself only took like, a few minutes, but since it’s not every day I get a free pass to dive headfirst off the Narcotics Anonymous wagon, I told them to juice me up but good with the morphine. And so I want to thank Uncle Cheney for taking care of things while I was out. He did a heckuva job while the docs were plucking meat berries outta my fudge tube. I'd also like to officially support each of the 127 executive orders issued by President Dick during the three hours he had the nuclear football handcuffed to his wrist. Most important of these where:


Executive Order # 293828: Seizing Property of Loudmouth American Citizens Who Point Out How the U.S. is Simultaneously Arming Sunni Insurgents and the Shia Government They’re Fighting

Executive Order # 293855: Total & Complete Amnesty For All Members of the Executive Branch, Their Lobbyist Concubines, and Platinum-Patriot Level GOP Donors

Executive Order # 293871: Establishment of the Lynne Vincent Cheney Task Force Conducting a Thorough Cataloguing of the Epidemic of Hot Girl-on-Girl Double Dong Pornography

But I’m back. And it’s good to be back. Feeling great. No lingering side effects – and my poop pincher's still tight as a VICE.

Thank you, and may God Bless Me.

Posted by: The Prez on August 28, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

One way to figure out just where you may stand on the illegality and/or immorality of Craig's act is this: what punishment, if any, does he deserve at the hands of the Senate?

Apparently, Republican Senators are calling for an ethics investigation, so the question is hardly academic.

Personally, I can't see any grounds for the Senate to exact even the mildest kind of punishment or even rebuke over his conviction.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 28, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

noel is the sort of dolt who thinks lawyers surrender their license to practice law and are cited for contempt because they should not have had certain questions asked of them under oath.

franklyo, I think it quite possible that if Craig had pled not guilty, and demanded a jury trial, it might have been difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was soliciting for sex in a public restroom, that is to say, that he wanted to have the sex in that particular place. However, once a person pleads guilty, he pleads guilty, and I don't think the Senate is asking too much of it's members when it demands that they get a room if they want to have sex with someone.

Posted by: Will Allen on August 28, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen, he plead guilty to a misdemeanor. I just don't think it rises to the level of something requiring a rebuke or punishment from the Senate.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 29, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

franklyo, is it really asking so much of a Senator that he refrain from committing misdemeanors, under penalty of official rebuke? This was more than a minor speeding ticket, and I feel the same way if a Senator was convicted of, say, reckless driving.

Gosh, get elected Senator, and you can put in six years of service, get on the public payroll for life, along with getting a lot of other benefits, without danger of being ordered to die, as a member of the military can be. For that sort of fat life, I don't think it is asking too much that they avoid misdemeanor offenses, under penalty of rebuke. Why demand so little?

Posted by: Will Allen on August 29, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii - pretty funny - although singing Clapton's "Layla" at me was guaranteed to get a guy ignored back when I was single and young.

Your argument is that people who have sex in public bathrooms are immature. That doesn't cancel out my argument, which is that people do immature things like have sex in public bathrooms, and why are the cops spending valuable law-enforcement time on such penny-ante behavior? It's really not that important in the scheme of things.

If they really don't like it, why don't they just say - police - move it along. And the guys will just move along.

I mean, guys used to drop to their knees in front of me, throw their heads back and wail "Layla" while flailing air guitars. This is not exactly mature behavior, but I wouldn't sic the cops on them for it.

I repeat my original point - men have been fooling around with each other in public restrooms since time immemorial. Don't the cops have something better to do than arrest them for it?

Posted by: Leila on August 29, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Leila, I appreciate your feedback and willingness to continue this discussion.

Having worked in the public sector, I would note that most police officers would more often than not agree with your position that they do indeed have better things to do than bust guys in a men's room for lewd behavior. They would also point out that they only target selected locations for such sting operations after those locations have become a focus of multiple complaints from the general public.

For sure, men have been forever fooling around in public restrooms. I don't care who or what other people screw around with, but I do care when they do it in public areas where other people are around, including young children. Such self-absorbed behavior shows a marked insensitivity for other people's rights and feelings.

I'm not going to deny a guy his inalienable right to masturbate himself into a eye-rolling frenzy if he wants to, but my young children also have the right to be children when visiting a public facility, and they should not have to prematurely endure a crash course in human sexual behavior simply because some horny clowns feel like getting their rocks off at a particular moment. Kids have an entire lifetime to develop and accept their unique sexual personae; they don't need the kind of jump start that could leave them jaded and desensitized to their own sexuality by the time they're 20.

You can tell the guys to move along, but they'll eventually return, as Sen. Craig was apparently observed doing even after his arrest. Sometimes, you have to make an example of someone in order to provide the public a sense of deterrence. And frankly, that deterrence does work -- well, for a little while, anyway.

I don't believe that law enforcement should ever again be allowed to harrass gay men and lesbians with impunity, or interfere with their right to assemble peaceably for purposes of socializing, etc. I also find laws prohibiting public nudity regardless of locale to be quaint and absurd. But there is a profound difference between social interaction and trolling for sex, and I've long since learned to appreciate the distinction.

Talk to you later. Take care, and Aloha.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 29, 2007 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

People who are familiar with bathroom sex ettiquette, as I am, understand perfectly what happened here. The undercover cop entrapped Craig. The cop was sitting in the stall for a lot longer than would be necesasary to take shit. And if he really was taking a shit, Craig would have known it and left. It is possible to know if the person sitting next to you in a stall is taking a shit or cruising for sex. The cop proabably made eye-contact through the crack, maybe even showed his cock, like in the George Michael incident. Isn't anyone a bit disgusted that we are paying people to hit on gay men and then arrest them? Imagine if the situation involved a woman and a man in a unisex bathroom. Is it right to lead someone on just to arrest them? I would have been happier if Craig had given a chance to come out first on his own and then if after refusing, he should be outed, but this kind of entrapment is as disgusting as Craig's hypocrisy.

Hang Craig out to dry for his anti-gay voting record, but let's put an end to entrapment. In Berlin, police monitor bathrooms and parks in order to ensure gay men's sasfety. Here people understand that some gay men have stronger libidos than others and will and always have searched for sex in bathrooms. Here it is tolerated. Even children are aware of the myriad sexual procilivities of the human species. it is discussed here. It is not a taboo dirty secret that people of many types engage in sex in many ways and in many places.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

And for the record, when I have engaged in bathroom sex, I and anyone I have ever observed doing it, have stopped as soon as someone enters or is even heard to be entering. Never have I witnessed men continuing to have sex while others could see.

What people here refuse to acknoledge is that anomymous sex is a reality in every segment of our society, gay and straight. Either we accept that about the human species or we can continue to see scenarios like this play out, which might be fun for political theatre, but it is essentially entrapment and that is wrong.

Accuse me of all the things you want, but at least recognize that I have put my real name here and make no attempt at hiding this experience in the closet as many of you posters here are probably doing. I would venture to say that at least 10 % of the male posters here have experienced bathroom sex, but will never admit it publicly.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 5:20 AM | PERMALINK

And be careful before you say, 'Bathroom sex is disgusting and there should be strict penalties for it!' because the, 'me thinks he/she doth protest too much' would be the appropriate reaction to that.

And advertisers even love to show bathroom sex, as long as it is hetero and the bathroom is stylish, then it is just naughty and fun. Two guys at the airport, now that's just disgusting. The taps aren't stainless steel and tile's not even italian. Yuck!

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

One final point, then I'm through. I believe Craig should be outed, but not prosecuted for any crime. And the police should find better things to do with their time, or they should be laid off. Police trolling the bathroom to entrap gay people is about as sick as being a closeted politician.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

One final, final point. Any time a politician starts spouting anti-gay rhetoric, the names of all these outed republicans should be the only answer necessary. The family values BS ends today.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

If they can impeach Clinton over getting a blow job from a female aide in the Oval Office, they should at least censure Craig for soliciting a blow job from a man in a public restroom.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on August 29, 2007 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

And for the record, when I have engaged in bathroom sex, I and anyone I have ever observed doing it, have stopped as soon as someone enters or is even heard to be entering. Never have I witnessed men continuing to have sex while others could see.

Not while others could see, perhaps, but the "everyone stops when someone comes in" bit is nonsense. Perhaps it's because I live in a big city, but I've heard numerous anecdotes from guys I know who've heard loud sex in men's bathrooms.

Because they tend to be laid-back, live-and-let-live people, they mostly shrugged it off or smiled about it, but the ones who'd had kids with them were not amused at having to answer questions or find another bathroom to take their children into. Nor would I be in a similar situation.

Posted by: shortstop on August 29, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

In an ABC News report, then US House Rep. Larry Craig issues a preemptive denial regarding any involvement in a congressional sex and drug scandal...in1982

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RntWGPEjoo

Posted by: Thin White Guy on August 29, 2007 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

He's a hypocrite. Certainly. His politics suck. Absolutely. But really, what is the crime here? If you are honest, I think you will admit it's only illegal because it's gay. Women get (and reject) crude, clumsy, pathetic advances from men all the time. Is it annoying? Yes, it frequently is. Is it illegal? In most cases, no. But somehow when a gay guy makes a pass, it's jail and public death.

I'm willing to admit I'm wrong, though. I seem to be one of the few people who think the Mike Vick public outcry thing is overblown too. Did he break the law and should he be punished? Absolutely. Does it merit the level of outrage and coverage we've seen? I just don't think so.

Posted by: Pat on August 29, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

There is a simple answer to this 'problem' without resorting to law enforcement. In Europe, if the owner of a public bathroom would prefer to keep it family freindly, they simply hire toilet attendants, a person who sits in front of the door with a little table for payment, usually between 20 and 50 cents. Payment is not obligatory and the attendants keep away unwanted cruisers. They also keep the toilets relatively clean and make sure there is always paper. And it provides jobs for people who need them and they don't need to be undercover police officers out to harrass gay men.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Idaho Paper Attacked By Senator Craig Hits Back

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003632658

Posted by: Thin White Guy on August 29, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Quick question: did Larry Craig vote to convict Bill Clinton of lying to a court about his sex life? And didn't that same Senator Craig just go on national television and say that he lied to a court in Minneapolis about...wait for it...his sex life? Who cares about the sex part (i don't) Senator Craig just admitted to lying in a plea agreement, that's perjury, ain't it?

Posted by: Northzax on August 29, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Rep. Barney Frank and Bill Maher talk about Larry Craig, Barney's gaydar and gay hypocrites in the GOP

Added: October 20, 2006

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlyJmhwa1c0

Posted by: Thin White Guy on August 29, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I guess this really is a case in which I feel the pull of arguments in both directions as to whether and/or how soliciting for sex in a public place such as a bathroom should be policed.

Although I don't feel strongly about it, I find myself coming down on the side of the view that it should be policed, and a penalty should be exacted. I'd say this penalty should be a small one, though enough to be some sort of deterrent. I don't know that what Craig did was enough to merit such a penalty; I can see the argument that it was a kind of entrapment.

But it does seem to me that there is really no good reason that someone should be entitled to solicit for sex in a public bathroom, particularly if this may involve invasion of privacy (such as peering into stalls for minutes on end, and rubbing someone else's foot across a stall).

Look, there are ways to get anonymous sex that don't involve that sort of activity, right? Aren't there gay bars and cruising areas where the protocols don't involve invasion of privacy and intrusion into other people's lives?

Why not adopt the view that if you're going to go to a public bathroom for sex instead of these other venues then you're simply taking a risk of some penalty?

Of course, I'd suspect that a major reason places like a public bathroom are so popular is precisely to deal with closet cases like Craig, who are desperate not to be easily identified by others. I don't, however, see that as a compelling reason to allow this sort of activity, in the face of its intrusion into the lives of other people.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 29, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ms or Mr Moderator,

Please strike the comment of 10:09 AM - Really uncalled for.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 29, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

How could Craig be intruding on the cop's privacy when he was there for the specific purpose of luring Craig into the next stall in order to spring a trap on him? This would be a different scenario if someone's actual privacy was invaded. In this case, no one's was.

And gay bars are not places to have anomymous sex. They are places for drinking and dancing. Bath houses would be an appropriate venue. There are no places, to my knowledge, where cruising for sex is allowed outdoors. Cops do this kind of thing everywhere, parks, bathrooms, parking lots, etc. They are basically chasing gay men around the city, but they will never bring the activity to an end. It is as effective as the war on drugs and just as ridiculous.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Why strike it? It was my experience and he was also on the Bill Maher panel when this issue was discussed. He was completely silent. If he wants to dispute my claim he can, but it is the truth whether you think it is uncalled for or not.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK
But really, what is the crime here? If you are honest, I think you will admit it's only illegal because it's gay.

Uh, no.

People get arrested for engaging in or soliciting lewd acts in public places from members of the opposite sex, too. Now, police baiting operations like this are probably driven, at least partly, by complaints because an area has become unpleasant because of repeated lewd acts, and people probably complain more where the regular acts are gay because more people have stronger reactions to gay interactions to start with, so its probably true that there is some inequality in enforcement, but it is not at all "only illegal because its gay".

Posted by: cmdicely on August 29, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, I'd suspect that a major reason places like a public bathroom are so popular is precisely to deal with closet cases like Craig, who are desperate not to be easily identified by others.

Well, that and what appears to be Michael Buchanan's peculiar argument: that nothing can duplicate the particular joy of anonymous bathroom sex, that he considers bathhouses and other non-public accommodations to be a poor substitute, and that everyone else should give a damn about this.

I'm not sure how one comes to consider the inability to have sex in a public place to be evidence of persecution. If cops were still raiding private enterprises a la Stonewall, that'd be an outrage. But we are discussing public accommodations here.

It not being 1967, and there now being all sorts of places for men/men, men/women and women/women to get it on that aren't public bathrooms, I don't find "but bathroom sex is convenient and uniquely fun" to be a compelling argument for its legality. Do your thing, but don't whine if you have to pay the penalty.

Posted by: shortstop on August 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Probably true that there is inequality in enforcement? That was the understatement of the year considering that it is NEVER enforced where heterosexuals are concerned. If two straight teenagers are necking in a car, do you think they are dragged downtown and photographed and fingerprinted? Of course not. This is like some kind of gay witch hunt. There are police officers who are experts at gay cruising. They go to places where gay sex happens, not straight sex.

As I said, it is disgusting to me that we pay people to do this for a living. i can think of a million ways that money could be better spent.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you so much, Senator Craig, for ruining a good thing for the rest of us.

Posted by: Hot Lesbian Cheerleaders on August 29, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Michael,

I doubt that cruising in public places outside per se is generally cracked down on by police. I'm sure it depends on how its done.

For example, many years ago, fresh to NYC from California, I was walking at night along the Esplanade in Brooklyn Heights -- as I discovered, a well known cruising area. A guy walked by me, and stared at me. I realized pretty quickly what was up, thought better of being there, and started home. The guy followed me, and asked me if I wanted to come up to his apartment. I said no.

Now I certainly at the time found it pretty disturbing, having never encountered this sort of thing before. But I couldn't imagine why what the guy did should be considered illegal, even back then.

Of course, if he wanted to have sex in a public place, that would be another matter.

Again, if you're looking for anonymous and/or immediate sex, I don't see why anyone would need to go to a public bathroom. The real point of such a place, it seems to me, is that one can have sex with someone with minimal risk of being easily identified by others. And that is a need primarily of closeted people.

Posted by: frankly0 on August 29, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the point is that it is free.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the point is that it is free.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

No one here seems to understand the lengths that police go to to harrass gay men. They do go to cruisy areas and try to engage in sex with gay men. Maybe the victim would rather go to an apartment or some place private, but an undercover police officer will try to get them to do anything outside in order to bust them on public lewdness.

What I do in the privacy of my bathroom stall with another man is no one else's business. Why can't people keep out of the bushes while some one is in there? If it is a straight couple, people may giggle or point, maybe shake their head, but they certainly aren't setting up sting operations to bust them. That is reserved for the gays.

Posted by: Michael Buchanan on August 29, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I doubt that cruising in public places outside per se is generally cracked down on by police"

Unfortunately, this statement is incorrect. This kind of police crackdown is actually quite common.

Posted by: PaulB on August 29, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

What I do in the privacy of my bathroom stall with another man is no one else's business. Posted by: Michael Buchanan

If that bathroom stall happens to be in your house or apartment, you are correct. However, a public facility is another matter, and not a protected domain for private conduct. It's not your bathroom stall.

Posted by: JeffII on August 29, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

No one here seems to understand the lengths that police go to to harrass gay men.

We do understand it, and most people here are sympathetic to it. But you lose your rightness when you argue that you should be allowed to have sex in public bathrooms and other people's rights be damned. You don't seem to get that the admittedly biased treatment by cops is not itself a justification for having sex in public places that other people use. Sting operations aren't fair. But that fact by itself doesn't make having bathroom sex fair.

What I do in the privacy of my bathroom stall with another man is no one else's business.

This made me laugh out loud. You really don't get it. It's not your bathroom stall; it's a public accommodation used by other people who have the right not to have to listen to you get off.

This isn't hard, Michael. The bottom line is that you can have sex in public. You cannot credibly cry about having to pay the price for it if you get busted.

Posted by: shortstop on August 29, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, I'd missed the profoundly Darwinistic twist of fate Helen's life took. Nevada's very handy, BTW, for answering the question, "What'll she do?" (Not recommended for ess ewe vees.)

Instead then, how about Wide-Stance Larry (tm) taking some fishin' trips with Ted Stevens? I'm certain they'd have lots to discuss in their respective forced retirements.

Donald from Hawaii wrote:
I'm sorry, Trollhattan, but Ms. Chenoweth has since departed this earth, and has gone on to her greater reward -- which, if there were truly a God, would be an Albertson's supermarket that's stocked with nothing but canned salmon.

on August 28, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Trollhattan on August 29, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Taranto makes some interesting points about the question of why liberals are not more compassionate towarad closeted gays who oppose gay rigths. Posted by: brian on August 28, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Because as republicans they make life hell for the rest of us with the laws they pass and the speeches they make. The sexual hypocracy is just icing on the cake.

PS Taranto doesn't make intersting points, he makes partizan ones. He is one of the most dedicated ideologues in America.

Posted by: Northern Observer on August 29, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

There are no places, to my knowledge, where cruising for sex is allowed outdoors.

You can cruise for sex all you want outdoors. You just can't have sex outdoors in a public place. If you want to have sex, you're free to go to your apartment.

Posted by: Stefan on August 29, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK
Probably true that there is inequality in enforcement? That was the understatement of the year considering that it is NEVER enforced where heterosexuals are concerned.

Except that it is.

If two straight teenagers are necking in a car, do you think they are dragged downtown and photographed and fingerprinted?

Frequently not, though the "straight" is not as important as "teenagers" in distinguishing that scenario from Craig's.

Then again, I personally know of at least one case where teenagers were caught having sex in public and arrested (though released later, IIRC, without charges), but then civilians attending ROTC Basic Camp at Fort Knox probably aren't a case to generalize from.

There are police officers who are experts at gay cruising. They go to places where gay sex happens, not straight sex.

Yes, I'm sure the police officers that are experts at gay cruising usually go to places where gay sex happens, not straight sex. Similarly, I'm sure the police officers that are experts in other areas of criminal behavior are sent where those kind of criminal behaviors happen. This is called "efficient allocation of resourceS".

If you are saying no police officers are detailed to locations where heterosexual public sex is well-known to occur, well, you are just wrong.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 29, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'm reminded of the recent case at Qwest Field in Seattle, where a male and female engaged in very vocal sexual congress in the female restrooms during a football game. The male (I believe) was a deputy prosecutor in Olympia and subsequently lost his job.

So much for not patrolling both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: bigcat on August 29, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty common for heteros attempting to join the mile high club to be charged for bathroom behavior when the plane lands. All this persecution mongering by the Craig appologists on this thread is ridiculous.

Posted by: minion on August 29, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, Michael Buchanan, you sure have a strange sense of entitlement. Obviously gays are discriminated against in a variety of ways, but that doesn't mean we as a society are obligated to adhere to your tortured logic in order to make it up to you. Apparently, when Larry enters the men's room, everybody else better clear out or you're considered fresh meat. The cop was entrapping Larry because he spent so much time in the stall? And Larry would "know" if he was taking a shit or not? So next time I'm in an airport men's room, and I'm having a little trouble going, or I'm finishing an article in the paper, I should realize that I'm entrappong the Larry Craigs of the world. Perhaps you could provide us with some of the signals we need to use to make sure Larry knows we're actually taking a shit. Is it a noise? A certain shuffling of the feet? Because God knows I don't want to be infringing on Larry's rights when he's staring at me through the crack in the door, or wiggling his fingers under my stall, or rubbing his foot up against mine.

Or maybe we should just take Michael's suggestion and force every establishment with a men's room to hire an attendant to shoo away the gay cruisers. I can't think of any other solution, except perhaps for people like Larry to take responsibility for their actions and leave people alone when they're trying to poop.

Michael, the reason people get offended by this kind of behavior in bathrooms is because it's about the most vulnerable place you can be outside of your house. Even if he doesn't make a pass at me, if I catch a guy staring at me while I'm sitting on the toilet I'll punch his lights out.

And could we please stop the whole "don't the cops have better things to do" meme? People say this whenever they're being arrested for anything short of murder. Right, the cops should spend all of their time trying to catch terrorists, and all of the little laws that keep our society safe and sane should be ignored.

Posted by: ChrisO on August 29, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

I assumed that Michael was making a hyperdramatic point when he claimed cops never bug XY/XX couples in the act--he can't believe that's true. I don't think it's all that helpful to try to argue that cops harass/confront/arrest as many straights as gays when they catch them in flagrante in public. That sort of thing is hard to document other than anecdotally, not that I have any anecdotes I feel like sharing.

It very likely is true that cops bug men having public sex way more often than they bug men/women doing it (leaving out lesbians for the moment), and of course there's an element of bias to that. But it's a little hard to determine whether some of it's attributable to way more gay men than straight couples getting off in public. I don't know how you untwist the tangled threads of propensity and prejudice to arrive at any valid numbers--which is why I said that even given the cops-aren't-fair point, Michael does not have an automatic right (or sense of entitlement, as Chris aptly put it) to do the deed in a public bathroom. He's just wrongly conflating these two points.

Posted by: shortstop on August 29, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK
.... honest people like Hugh Hewitt....minion at 5:27 PM
Hewitt is many things, but intellectual honesty has never been in his repertoire. The term brownshirt thug suits him well.
Taranto at the WSJ has an interesting piece about why liberals should be more compassionate .... brian at 6:29 PM
Because of the hypocrisy factor, those situations are irresistible, especially when Republicans have nothing but contempt and scorn for anyone they use in their wedge issue attacks.
.... It is not accurate to call a case on appeal settled for $800k a frivolous lawsuit. brian at 10:00 PM
When the only proof the plaintiff could adduce was that she did not receive any flowers on Secretary Day, it's frivolous. The fact that she was supported by unlimited funds by right wing sleaze like Dickie Schaife proved costly for Clinton, but in the final analysis it was frivolous and fraudulent lawsuit.
...That sort of thing is hard to document other than anecdotally....shortstop at 4:24 PM
Just one example will prove him wrong. Posted by: Mike on August 29, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

No, sorry, but the analogy is so fundamentally flawed that it's just not worth considering. You have to do so much hand-waving to get past the differences that any conclusions you reach would be worthless.

Shocking then that you cannot articulate a single flaw....

If you really want to do a comparison, then pick a non-gender-specific place where people of all persuasions can "cruise."

Fine. Then expand that brain of yours to imagine a unisex (omnisex?) bathroom where a theoretically het Sen Craig was cruising for women, peering at them in the stalls, brushing up against their feet, and wiggling his fingers under the stall at them.

Can we all agree that that should be illegal?

Fine. Now explain why men should have to put up with the same shit when they are trying to take a shit?

When I go to a gay bar, I expect to be hit on by men. That's happened. And I don't mind.

When I'm out at a public place, such as a bookstore, I might get hit on by a man. That's happened. And I don't mind.

But when I am in a public bathroom, I do not want some creep (whether a man or a woman, btw) following me from urinal to urinal watching my dick. That's happened. And I do mind.

Posted by: Disputo on August 29, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

ChrisO starts by saying:
>Obviously gays are discriminated against in a
>variety of ways...

And then, incomprehensibly says:
>Even if he doesn't make a pass at me, if I catch
>a guy staring at me while I'm sitting on the
>toilet I'll punch his lights out.

This is not okay. It is never okay to respond to a look, a 'stare' with violence. And I'm more than a little pissed off to be the first person to comment on this.

ChrisO -- maybe gays are discriminated against because it's clear that even relatively moderate types think it's okay to punch their lights out if they stare at you when you percieve yourself as vulnerable.

Posted by: Sandy on August 29, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Eric K: I know Al is not to be taken seriously, but really if that is the best they can do it says a lot about the situation.

So what your saying is this undercover cop knew in advance that Senator Craig would go to that rest room and which stall he would use. So he staked the place out and went there 13 minutes before Craig arrived and waited around for him.

Wow those cops in Minnesota are amazing.


And Hillary was behind it all!

Posted by: rnato on August 29, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

This is not okay. It is never okay to respond to a look, a 'stare' with violence.

It's amazing how readily so many in this thread are strawmanning what others say. He's not talking about a mere "stare" -- he's talking about a peepy tom watching him take a shit. Otherwise I agreed. Don't resort to violence -- just pick up your cell phone and press 9-9-1.

And I'm more than a little pissed off to be the first person to comment on this.

That was all of four comments ago in an all-but-dead thread. Chill.

Posted by: Disputo on August 29, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a precedent for stripping someone of committee assignments and calling for their resignation after a misdemeanor?

Not really paying attention but the reactions seem a little crazy. Is it for lying about the reason for pleading guilty?

Posted by: B on August 29, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Second time in about a decade that the Gem State loses a member of Congress to a sex scandal. The first one to go (her name escapes me) having the gall to pig-pile on Clinton during the Lewinsky mess.

Some scandal: Helen Chenoweth accuses opponent Dan Williams of standing with Clinton during the Lewinsky affair. A newspaper reveals a six-year affair she had years ago. She not only doesn't lose her seat, she wins re-election, and keeps her pledge to retire after three terms.

Some scandal.

I shook Chenoweth's cold, limp, clammy hand in a receiving line after a speech she gave in Nampa in 1999. It was like holding hands with death.

The Black Heeliecopters of Destiny finally caught up with her on that lonely stretch of remote Nevada road.

Posted by: KDR on August 30, 2007 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Sandy said:
"maybe gays are discriminated against because it's clear that even relatively moderate types think it's okay to punch their lights out..."

Just to clarify Sandy's attempt to find discrimination where there is none. I never said I would punch someone's lights out for being gay. I was specifically talking about someone peeking at me while I'm using the stall in a public restroom. I don't care what their motivation is, it's a gross invasion of privacy. And I was pretty clear about that.

So go be pissed off someplace else.

Posted by: ChrisO on August 30, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I think Craig ought to consider moving to Denver or somewhere and setting up shop as the greater Denver area's leading personal injury attorney (these people are all lawyers aren't they?).

Eventually he'll cease to be the infamous former senator and become that guy with those ads on daytime tv: Larry H Craig got me 2.1 million.

Posted by: Linus on August 30, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

That's easy. Vitter was patronizing a small business. Or several of them -- how Republican can you get? Craig was looking for free gratification like a damn hippie.

Posted by: a on August 30, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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