Senator Arlen Specter said Idaho Republican Larry Craig should try to withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct in connection with an incident in an airport men’s room and fight the case.
“I think he could be vindicated,” Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the “Fox News Sunday” program.
Specter, of Pennsylvania, said that Craig “hasn’t resigned” from the Senate, only that he “intends to resign” as of Sept. 30. That gives Craig a month to fight the case in court, Specter said. If the case went to trial, Specter said Craig “wouldn’t be convicted of anything.”
Look. When you are in an oppressed minority, as gay men of a certain age feel they are, and you’re doing something at the very least sleazy, and in the case of Minnesota law, illegal, you develop little signals that clue in your partners in crime that you are one of them. You tap your foot, you stare into their stall for two minutes, you touch their foot in the stall, you run your hand under the stall divider.
The policeman who was responding to complaints of public sex in that restroom was looking for those particular signals. When Senator Craig gave enough of them, the law was broken, and the police officer presented his police badge. Done, finito, buh-bye, Senator.
What exactly does Senator Craig think he’s winning by saying he’s not ruling out pursuing the legal case?
In the best possible scenario, would Cher come to his trial and scream, “This man is not gay! I swear it! He doesn’t own any of my records!” Would his Republic colleagues suddenly apologize for their relentless insistence on his guilt, admitting that they’re not exactly paragons of sexual morality themselves? (Paging David Vitter!) Would the Washington Post print “LARRY CRAIG IS INNOCENT!!!” across their front page in 64-point type?
No. None of those things would happen. Instead, the trial would be more and more sordid as past scandals surfaced; his family that he professes to care about (his three children are adopted, by the way) would be subjected to more media scrutiny; and he certainly wouldn’t be back in the Senate doing the job he claims to prize.
Is he crazy? Or is the Republic Senator from Idaho an egomaniacal, not-too-bright man who will protect his pseudo-heterosexuality at any cost?
Does it matter? Probably not. But it is fascinating to contemplate.