After forcing Idaho Senator Larry Craig to resign for the twin “crimes” of being a fool and appearing to be gay, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, tried as hard as he could to seem sorry for the man whose trip to the wrong bathroom on the wrong day cost him a Senate seat.
“It is my hope he will be remembered not for this, but for his three decades of dedicated public service,” chirped McConnell, who just days before was denouncing Craig’s “unforgivable” desires, sicking the ethics committee on the misdemeanor senator and stripping him of his committee assignments.
Republicans leaders, who took no action against let-the-good-times-roll Senator David Vitter after the Louisiana Republican’s penchant for prostitutes was revealed, couldn’t get Craig out of their caucus quick enough.
It wasn’t a fear of any “gay germs” that might be spread by Craig–the minority leader is well aware of the fact that Craig was hardly the only closeted Republican on Capitol Hill. It was that Craig was the most expendable man in the Senate. No one noticed he was there. No one will miss him.
McConnell and his lieutenants wanted Craig out fast because he was only doing more harm to the party’s seriously soiled reputation and because any Republican who replaces him now will be likely to hold the seat for the embattled Republican caucus in next year’s election.
That’s what makes McConnell’s goodbye to Craig the most hypocritical statement heard during the whole of the Senate GOP’s recent bathroom break.
The minority leader knows full well that the only thing that will be remembered about Larry Craig’s 33 years in the political arena – as a state legislator, congressman and, since 1990, member of the most exclusive club in America – is that the senator failed to flush when following a cop out of the stall where he had been caught cruising.
Craig was such a senatorial no-account that, even though he arrived in the chamber well before the Republican revolution of 1994 and thus should have been a powerhouse by now, one of his primary claims to “fame” was as a key player in the Congressional Potato Caucus.
If Craig was known for anything, aside from his extracurricular activities, it was for his bizarre lambasting of then-President Bill Clinton for fooling around with a White House intern. The senator told Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet The Press that, “The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy–a naughty boy. I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.”