29 August 2007

Sen. Craig, continued.

Mr. Right's prediction is looking better. The Republican caucus in the Senate has stripped Senator Craig of his committee assignments, while Sen. McCain and Sen. Coleman had called on him to resign. Craig himself remains defiant, as far as we can tell.

The Dan Abrams program on MSNBC had a fascinating segment on Craig tonight. Abrams noted that Republicans have been involved in twice as many sex scandals as Democrats over the last ten years. He raised the question of hypocrisy with his panel, and Pat Buchanan suggested that Craig may not be a hypocrite, but simply a sincere man who could not control an overpowering urge. He may have a valid point that people struggling with urges they abhor aren't necessarily hypocrites when they weaken, but the heart of the hypocrisy question is whether they should preach when they can't practice. I'd say they can as long as they're honest about themselves. That is, if Craig, despite his denials, is gay and yet abhors gay sex, as might be inferred from his rhetoric, he should let people know that he has gay impulses and is struggling against them. Whether he should consider his impulses wrong is another matter, but pragmatically speaking, giving in to them in an airport men's room can only be bad if you're a public figure.

Inevitably, Abrams raised the question of partisan gains or losses from the scandal. He asked whether the GOP could actually gain by taking quick action to purge Craig. Of course, no one else would have to worry about being tainted by association with Craig if they didn't belong to the same electioneering cabal, but that thought never occurred to anyone. Nevertheless, count that as another disadvantage of the two-party system: it makes you, as a politician, a hostage to other people's fortunes for no good reason.

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