It now seems apparent that at some point on Saturday, Idaho Senator Larry Craig will announce his resignation from the Senate in the aftermath of what is at least a very embarrassing arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In what I can only consider a rare moment, though, I find myself agreeing with the New York Times Editoral Board when they point out the hypocrisy of the Republican outrage over Craig’s alleged infraction:
The Republican Party is in quite a rush to keelhaul Senator Larry Craig for his run-in with the vice squad in an airport men’s room. Disclosure of the senator’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct set off a frenzy to demand an investigation by the Senate’s somnolent Ethics Committee and to strip Mr. Craig of his committee seniority. Some of the senator’s peers simply demanded that he resign.
No similar leadership chorus for judgment has been heard about any number of other scandalous revelations on the party’s plate.
There’s the F.B.I.’s inquiry into whether Senator Ted Stevens swung a quid-pro-quo deal for a government contractor who eventually renovated his Alaska home. There’s also Senator David Vitter’s presence on the client list of a Washington brothel. Mr. Vitter, a social conservative, pleaded guilty to “sin” (heterosexual) and no leadership call ensued for a thorough in-house ethics inquiry. Certainly, no Republican called for the resignation of Mr. Vitter, who comes from Louisiana, which has a Democratic governor who would then replace him. Mr. Craig is from a safe state with a Republican governor.
The Times attributes the swift reaction of GOP insiders, and their conservative supporters, to the same prejudices that underlie their opposition to gay marriage.
Perhaps this is true, perhaps it isn’t. In either case, I’d rather be ruled by a Senate filled with Larry Craig’s than a Senate filled with men like Ted Stevens.