This summer alone, we've been treated to the following:
• Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) popping up in the D.C. Madam's "little black book";
• Florida State Rep. Bob Allen (R-Merritt Island) getting arrested for offering to blow a guy in a park restroom;
• Michael Flory, the former head of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans, pleading guilty to sexual battery;
• Glenn Murphy, the leader of the Young Republican National Federation, stepping down after allegations that he sexually assaulted a dude; and, just for fun,
• Thomas Ravenel, South Carolina state treasurer and Rudy Giuliani's state campaign chair, getting indicted on crack-distribution charges.
So after all that, I guess it wasn't actually too surprising that Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) got charged with soliciting sex in an airport men's room. But what is surprising is his handling of said charge:
Craig issued a statement confirming his arrest and guilty plea, which were reported in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. But the Idaho Republican maintained that he had not engaged in any "inappropriate conduct" and that the airport police misunderstood his behavior.
"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct," Craig said. "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
So basically he's saying he pleaded guilty just to speed the process along? Look, I've never been accused of soliciting sex in a men's room, so I cannot state with absolute certainty how I would handle it if I was, but I'm fairly sure my attitude wouldn't be "Well, I'm heterosexual and have never tried to have sex with a guy in a men's room, but I'll go ahead and admit guilt if it'll just speed this thing along. I mean, I'll be known publicly as a guy who tries to hook up with dudes in bathrooms, but I figure my reputation can recover from that."
Christ, Larry, even Bob Allen's smarter than that, and he offered a guy twenty bucks to let him blow him.
What struck me today as I was reading the details of Craig's arrest was how similar it was to the Bob Allen incident in Florida last month. As he was being led away from the men's room in question, Allen reportedly asked if "it would help" that he was a state legislator; when Craig was being questioned at the airport about what he was doing in the restroom,
Craig gave police a business card showing that he is a U.S. senator. "What do you think about that?" Craig asked the officer, according to the report obtained by Roll Call.
I guess the only thing left to comment on is the odd reaction from GOP sycophant Hugh Hewitt, who says:
I realize that I did not say this about Senator Vitter, but Craig's behavior is so reckless and repulsive that an immediate exit is required.
Well, at least he's good enough to admit point-blank that he's running a double standard here, but honestly I don't see how you can parse the differences between the offenses here. Craig cruised for sex in men's rooms, which is illegal; Vitter availed himself of the services of prostitutes, which is also illegal. He describes Craig's behavior as "reckless and repulsive," but I'm sure many of Vitter's Louisiana constituents might find his own behavior repulsive, and whatever else you can say about a sitting U.S. senator banging hookers within a few blocks of Capitol Hill, it certainly seems "reckless" to me.
I suppose it's just a coincidence that Idaho is a safely Republican state, while Vitter just barely avoided a runoff in his 2004 race with 51 percent of the vote.
But anyway, this has all provided some fascinating insight into the way the Republican mind works with respect to sexual morality. To recap: Democrat has adulterous sex with intern, bad (in fact, we'll go ahead and kick it up to impeachably bad); Republican has adulterous sex with prostitutes, not all that bad. But Republican tries to have gay adulterous sex with guy in airplane restroom, bad again.
The lesson: Republicans, keep your extramarital affairs restricted to chicks. If the powers that be in the GOP find out you were chasing cock, they'll drop you like a bad habit. But as long as you were only going after poontang like the rest of us normal folk, you're golden.
(For more insight into the bizarre right-wing reaction to CruisingForCockInTheMensRoomGate® -- yes, I'm copyrighting that -- go here.)