Msnowe's Blog

In and Out … of Senate?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on September 5, 2007

It’s usually one topic, then we move on. But today a new report is circulating that Senator Craig is still weighing his options in terms of retaining his Senate seat. He’s hired a top lawyer, and decided that given his set date of September 30th to resign, he’s got some time to figure out how to restore his seat. Innocent until proven guilty is important, and so are the grave ideas of possible entrapment, and the problems with our justice system that actually make it more feasible or advantageous for one’s career to plead guilty despite the actual truth.

This is not, however, the first time that reports of Craig’s interesting choices in behavior surfaced. As early as 1982, Craig was mentioned as possibly engaging in “lewd behavior,” and possible cocaine use, as well as being a blip during the 1980s page scandal. No findings were ever conclusive, and Craig emerged from the 80s relatively unscathed. It was only with this current arrest and Craig’s “wide stance” that his career has been quickly flushed down the toilet. (Sorry, couldn’t resist). While homosexuality is a free choice, and is only as illegal as heterosexuality, it is a nail in the political coffin for anyone affiliated with the Republican party – and especially severe for such an outspoken critic of homosexuality as Craig. Truly, Craig could view himself as a straight man and still commit these acts, many men who engage in his alleged behaviors do. But Craig has a decision to make as his case is reconsidered and fought, and it has everything to do with whether he wants to stand up for himself, or for the Republican party. But his actions so far lean towards his own attempts at preservation, and to the hell with everything else.

If Craig quietly recedes into the oblivion of political exile, where consulting firms and lobby groups tinker in the mists, Craig will go softly with the thanks of the Republican party. The Republican mayor of Idaho will quickly appoint a Republican Senator for the last year of Craig’s term, and hopefully she or he will prove themself to be a capable worker, and establish themself as the incumbent to beat when elections come around. Republicans will work hard to make people forget about everything Craig, just like what’s his name, down in that state, who attempted to diddle those pages. (Ex. Sen. Mark Foley, in case you forgot).

But Craig is looking like he wants to fight it out. Many legal professionals agree that his case is strong for dismissal of charges, and the possibility that Craig could argue entrapment. Also, these “signals” in themselves, if isolated, do not signal inappropriate conduct, so the burden is on the prosecution to prove that somehow these active “codes” that, while isolated – are innocuous, add up to something more illegal. And despite Craig’s past, it seems a bit unfair that his case rides on the testimony of what one single witness thinks is a sexual solicitation. While it very well could have been, and Craig pleaded guilty, the admission of guilt was the only way to keep the story quiet, and hope it would go away, which it almost did. This could have been a political plea. While it’s likely he did want to engage in lewd conduct, he does deserve a day in court if he wants one. But the Republican party will invariably suffer. The press will continue to cover it, and if Craig refuses to abide by his party’s resignation pressure, the Republican base in Idaho will have to square with a completely new candidate in the next senatorial elections along with the still gurgling swill of Craig’s disgrace. A moderate Democrat might just have some elbow room.

So the question is, what will Craig decide? Quick suggestion to those awaiting Craig’s decision: don’t be so eager for a quick response – you don’t know what he’d do if he saw us all standing around with arms crossed, impatiently tapping our feet.