Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Abuse of Power

In a post about members of the US Congress, I have to tread lightly because I am a member of the US military, so this is a good time to remind everyone that my opinions are my own.

Last week, the country was titillated with the story that Sen. Larry Craig had been arrested in a Minneapolis airport for "soliciting gay sex". In point of fact, he was arrested, but pled guilty to disorderly conduct, which is a misdemeanor.

The circumstances of the arrest are questionable, at best. In an area that Minneapolis police say is known for gay sex solicitation, they set up a sting operation to catch these criminals in the act. According to the official reports, Sen Craig was arrested after moving his foot close to the officer's. This is apparently a signal in the 'gay-sex-for-hire" industry that you are looking for gay sex and willing to pay for it.

Now let me say up front, that I don't know the particular circumstances of his arrest, but it occurs to me that there should have been a sign on the bathroom door that says don't do 'this'. The circumstances of his arrest are such that he could have believably been an innocent victim. But what if he is guilty of what he was charged with?

Simply put, the Republican Party should have had nothing to do with this. His crime was a misdemeanor, not a felony. There are plenty of Congressmen and Senators that have been convicted of crimes worse than soliciting sex. There are members of Congress that are currently facing charges much worse than what Sen Craig is accused of. But the pressure brought to bear on Sen Craig was from the Republican Party, not the American people. The Republican Party doesn't elect Senators, the people of the individual states do. If the people of Idaho feel that Sen Craig could no longer represent them, they can recall him, as provided by the Constitution. Not the Republican Congressional Committee.

The prevailing wisdom is that Sen Craig's conduct might negatively affect the upcoming 2008 elections. Aside from my revulsion that we are actively discussing 2008 elections in mid 2007, the fact is that the residents of Idaho are responsible for deciding who represents them. There were plenty of times that I was embarrassed by (Minnesota) Sen Wellstone's words and his deeds. But his words and deeds never rose to the level of a public recall. He was acting in the interests of the majority of Minnesotans.

The comments and actions of the Republican party over the past week have been more of an embarrassment than anything Sen Craig is accused of.

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