Monday, August 27, 2007

A modicum of pity for Sen. Craig

Okay, let's just stipulate that there's an overwhelming feeling of schadenfreude when a "family values" Republican officeholder is outed as gay. He's a hypocrite. He rose to power by criticizing the same behavior he apparently practices in secret. Shame on him.

That said, he could've beat this rap. So far, Matt Yglesias is the only one I've seen pointing out that the arrest report doesn't really describe much criminal behavior. It's all contextual. Tapping one's foot beneath a bathroom stall surely isn't a crime in Minnesota except in the context of requesting lewd behavior, and that requires proof of intent. I can understand that Craig probably didn't want to fight this in court, so he figured he could end it quickly with a guilty plea. Shows what he knows.

But beyond the bad legal approach and the hypocrisy, what we have here is a guy who, as part of his job, spends a lot of time in airports. And, when he's bored and alone, he happens to like the occasional anonymous gay sex. That doesn't really turn me on, but why is that a crime?

I mean, here's a conservative guy growing up in a conservative state. And in order to pursue the career he wanted (indeed, in order to stay alive, in many cases), he had to deny his true self. And as we increasingly see from the likes of Ted Haggard and others, you can only do that for so long. The itch just has to be scratched eventually.

It's sad. And surprisingly common.

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