Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Santa Craig Visits Democratic Chimneys

What a generous man...stupid, dishonest, but generous. Infamous U.S. Senator from Idaho Larry Craig, Republican of course on all counts, keeps on giving to the Democratic Party.

Yesterday, he had his lawyer file an absurd and totally laughable motion to withdraw his guilty plea for shenanigans in a Minneapolis airport men's room. This was a gift within a gift, because doing so had two hidden gifts itself. First, it kept the lurid details and patently false denials in the public ear and eye, and second, it included not-widely-publicized aspects that what illustrate vividly what an unbelievable liar he is.

Note: The motion link opens up a manageable, 39-page PDF file.

Somebody Else's Fault

This was the lesser version — just another corrupt Republican Congressman — of imagining G.W. Bush snorting cocaine at a press conference. The filing does not strain credulity; it atomizes it.

To cut to the latest self-inflicted bleeder, Craig claims that he behaved like a toilet-trolling slut because he was afraid the local newspaper would claim (without basis, of course) that he was a toilet-trolling slut. That's the ticket. The Idaho Statesman made his do it. By investigating long-standing, rampant rumors of his bisexuality, it made his so anxious that when he was arrested for what looked and looks to everyone else in the sane universe like gay cruising that he pleaded guilty just to keep the paper from claiming he cruised.

That's right, boys and girls. He paid the fine and admitted guilt because he anticipated being falsely accused.

Let us pause for just a brief moment to ponder what manner of lower life form you would have to be to accept Craig's claim. Okay, now to the news.

Monday, September 10 AD 2007, Craig files a motion to withdraw plea-oral argument requested in Hennepin county Minnesota.

The introduction to Craig's latest filing recaps his incredible defense. He became aware that the Statesman's investigative reporters were thoroughly and carefully checking the long-standing reports of his homosexual activity, remarkable for a moralizing, anti-gay politician. The paper made no secret of checking with his friends, requesting his FBI files and going to gay cruising areas with his picture. In fact, the Statesman repeatedly sought Craig's responses and interpretations, as well as asking for interviews.

Chronic Panic

As the filing puts it:
Senator Craig has denied any allegations that he is a homosexual or has engaged in homosexual conduct...he willingly participated in a meeting with the investigating reporter in which he vehemently denied the allegations. That meeting, along with the underlying investigation weighed heavily on the Senator's mind. In fact, the Senator requested that the Statesman cease i& activities. but the Statesman continued its efforts. Based on these circumstances, however, the Senator had reason to believe that, without additional corroborating evidence, the Statesman would not publish these false and unproven allegations.

Shortly after Senator Craig's meeting with the Idaho Statesman, in June 2007, Senator
Craig was arrested and charged with interference with privacy and disorderly conduct, based on an arrest stemming from an undercover operation targeting gay men in a public men's restroom at the Minneapolis International Airport. Despite Senator Craig's denial of any inappropriate behavior, he was panicked that such allegations would be made public and that they would provide the Idaho Statesman with an excuse to publish its baseless article. While in this state of intense anxiety, Senator Craig felt compelled to grasp the lifeline offered to him by the police officer, namely that if he were to submit to an interview and plead guilty, then none of the officer's allegations would be made public. Thus, rather than seek legal advice from an attorney to assist him in publicly fighting these charges and potentially protract the issue, Senator Craig's panic drove him to accept a guilty plea, the terms of which offered him what he thought was a private, expeditious resolution of this matter.
The police report and interview are pretty damning. Craig's filing include those as Exhibits B and C, following his sparse, nothing-happened-in-there Exhibit A.

Craig has D.C. lawyers (William R. Margin and Kathleen H. Sinclair, of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP) and a local one (Thomas M. Kelly of Kelly & Jacobson). Martin specializes in white-collar criminals. He is splashy and his represented Monica Lewinsky, Chandra Levy's parents, Wesley Snipes (tax fraud) and numerous professional athletes. Sinclair is his junior, in litigation practice.

Post-capture or public disclosure, winger offenders tend to deny all, unless there is too much evidence. Consider the David Vitter/multiple-madam connections. That U.S. Senator, a Republican of course, from Louisiana, has never admitted anything, much less entered a plea bargain related to a morals charge.

What is the point at which a majority of these bluenoses' constituents tire of being lied to, of being made fools of, and constantly having to reset their own moral precepts to accommodate these clowns?

Well, fortunately for the Democratic Party, the hits keep on coming. Craig clearly has a politician's ego. If he cared for his party and its loosening Senate stranglehold, he would have said he was a distraction and worked with his governor to get the most politically similar appointee to replace him.

Instead, Santa Craig continues to fill the Democrats' stocking with his trinkets. Consider timing alone. He slunk back to Boise and told no one of arrest. He held the plea agreement for nearly two months before signing it and returning it with a check. Now, his filing would ask the court to believe that he acted in an irrational panic and did not have the time to seek an attorney's advice. Let us listen to the calendar pages turning as his panic state lasts week after week and he does not act.

Gay Stalking Horse

Craig is eager to blame his guilty plea bargain on the Statesman. Yet, he denies (that word again) any blowback from the GOP's anti-gay-rights/anti-gay-marriage politicking for the past two decades.

In a fine analysis, the Boston Globe's Peter Canellos points out this this is the petard that blew up under Craig. With no anti-Black card to play safely, Republicans and wingers have leveraged their anti-gay platforms with fair success and impunity. He notes:

Opposition to gay marriage, along with other forms of gay rights that emphasize the equality of gay and straight relationships, is a key point of connection between Republicans and voters who might otherwise oppose the GOP agenda.

In recent years, gay issues have functioned to help build a Republican coalition in a way similar to the role once played by race issues. In the '70s, '80s, and '90s, the national GOP came out strongly against programs to create special opportunities for racial minorities, thereby gaining substantial support among white social conservatives.

So now, here is Craig so invested in this combination of bigotry and expedience that he claims to have panicked (for two months) at the mere idea that a newspaper might quote the numerous sources about homosexual activities.

This would have been a great chance for an honorable person to recant. Even if he continued to feign about any specific extra-marital activities, he could have said that now he understands the irrational, emotional cruelty of anti-gay bias and prosecution.

Instead, from Craig, the Statesman investigating numerous reports of his toilet tricks becomes "a witch hunt." In contrast, Statesman editor and VP Vicki Gowler kept to the high road with her response:
The Statesman has taken great care in investigating these serious allegations about Sen. Craig. From the start, it was important to us to do a thorough and responsible investigation, outside of deadline pressures. We did that. Because of the allegations made last fall, a necessary part of a thorough investigation did include trying to determine whether the senator was regularly cruising restrooms for anonymous sex. The length of the investigation was due in large part to difficulties we encountered getting information from the senator.
I'm an old guy. So I recall not all that long ago when a man who didn't marry until he was almost 40 and then didn't father any children after he did would be presumed to be gay. Yet, even back when homosexual acts were illegal, that man would likely not have any problems, like feeling forced to resign public office...unless he acted out.

In contrast, we now have a man who apparently did act out in public repeatedly, all the while playing the anti-gay-rights knight. This suggests that our society could use a big leap forward, hopping over all this silliness.

Meanwhile, Craig's motion to withdraw his plea apparently is the best a great white-collar-crime litigator can do with the circumstances and facts. Unfortunately for both the GOP and Craig, the 39 pages show the wispy lace of defense he has to cover himself. You would be hard pressed to read it without concluding a range of facts both the party and Senator deny.

Craig's replacement may well be as conservative and anti-gay as he is. With the exception of Boise, Idaho is real short of blue politics and blue politicians. Yet nationwide, Santa Craig may be the best long-term gift the Dems get in the current election cycle. Ho ho.

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