Bob Franken


August 29, 2007
Craig’s Lust? (Bob Franken)
@ 11:38 am

Isn’t it a shame that e-Harmony doesn’t accept gays? Then we might witness a TV ad showing Larry Craig and Mark Foley gushing about how they have been computer-matched because they have so much in common. What they mainly have in common is Republican politics.

And hypocrisy. To many, GOP has come to mean Gay Oppression Party. And now we have another conservative stalwart awkwardly feeding the insatiable media appetite for mindless titillation. Don’t you just love that word, “titillation”? Will George Carlin add that one to his list?

Sorry, my mind wandered. Where was I? Oh yeah, in Boise of all places, in that reddest of the states, Idaho. It certainly was red-faced embarrassing for Senator Craig, as he stood before cameras with his wife to declare, “I am not gay. I never have been gay.” It was the Republican way of saying “I did not have sex with that man.”

Now we find that there are rumors he did indeed have sex with another man in a Union Station restroom here in D.C., but Senator Craig was talking about other travels, to a different restroom in the Minneapolis airport.

There he had quietly pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, after a police officer working undercover, so to speak, charged that Craig had taken inappropriate action as the two used adjacent stalls to do their business.

One of those actions, according to the cop, was the senator started tapping his foot, “— a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct.”

Who knew? No wonder saying “Hi, what’s your sign?” never worked. So it’s tapping the foot. Does someone use Morse code? To play it safe from now on, I’m going to make damned sure that when I’m in a public restroom, I’m not wearing my iPod.

I could discuss how he flashed his Senate card, but I won’t go there.

The Senator now claims he only pleaded guilty to a reduced charge after the incident in the hope of “— making it go away.” Obviously it didn’t go away. His disorderly conduct has now been outed.

Fellow Republicans in the Senate are in a snit. As Desi would say to Lucy, Craig has some “splainin’ to do.” Already he’s been yanked from Mitt Romney’s website. Just the day before he was Romney’s Idaho chairman.

None of this is unique to Republicans, of course. Democrats have always had their own zipper scandals.

But this time, when Congress returns next week, we will witness Democratic Senator Tim Johnson making his first halting steps back as he continues his inspiring struggle to overcome last December’s brain hemorrhage. It is a story of human triumph.

As Senator Craig returns the Republicans will have tried to figure out how to minimize the accusations of one of their own’s human failings.

That’s assuming, of course, he DOES return. In any case attention will quickly shift to the nasty fight over Iraq.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that members of Congress have a public role that’s far more significant than their private business. Until then, Senator Craig’s foot-tapping ways have given us an entertaining August diversion. Thanks, senator.

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