In Defense of Larry Craig

It’s with considerable ambivalence that I step forward to defend Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) in the matter of his recent arrest.

In case you missed it — and I don’t see how you could have — Craig was recently arrested for lascivious conduct, allegedly soliciting for sex in a men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. He was charged with “interference with privacy” and “disorderly conduct,” eventually pleading guilty to the latter charge.*

Leaving aside for the moment whether the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is the sensual Paradiso I have always supposed it to be, this isn’t the sort of behavior we usually expect from a self-righteous Idahoan who has built a record of legislative intolerance and insensitivity that would embarrass a Middle Eastern dictator. He wants to make English the national language; fence the border against immigrants; reduce or eliminate the separation of church and state; allow government spying on it citizens; prohibit gay marriage; open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling; and so on.In short, “interference with privacy” and “disorderly conduct” is just the daily stuff of Senator Craig’s legislative life, but the Minnesota Airport Police Department has not deemed it necessary to haul him before the magistrate prior to June 11 of this year. So it seems fair to ask what he did that is so heinous that even supporting the war in Iraq and crushing the civil liberties of 300 million Americans pale in comparison.

What Craig did was  “fidget with his fingers” and “tapped his toes several times” while in the stall in the men’s bathroom. That pretty much was the extent of his crime.

Now this fidgeting and tapping is apparently some sort of signal indicating that the aforementioned fidgeter and tapper would like to have sex. There must be a manual someplace that explains all this, and I hope some public spirited citizen will post it here on Colorado Confidential. If all you have to do is fidget and tap to get sex, I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know about it. To think of all the time I wasted in my youth rehearsing pickup lines and gathering the nerve to approach a likely candidate for liaison.

I can understand that Minneapolis-St.Paul may not want their airport restroom to become a veritable Metrodome of blowjobs, but here’s the crux, the essence if you will, of my defense of Craig … He didn’t have any sex. He didn’t do anything wrong, except have the bad luck to fidget and tap in a stall next to a policeman who was the lookout for that sort of thing. Whatever sort of thing that is … we’ll just have to wait for the posting of that manual I mentioned earlier.

In short, the crime he was arrested for ought not be a crime. If they are going to include among punishable offenses the act of wanting sex, and  asking for sex, but not actually getting any sex … there aren’t enough cells in all the jails in America.

I say give the man his $575 back. If they want to relieve him of his public office, I think there are plenty of reasons to do that based on his record in Congress. But not for striking out in the men’s room.

*Correction: This article originally incorrectly summarized Craig’s plea.

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Dan Whipple

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