For the good of a state he loves, a state he has served for more than a quarter century.
It is difficult and unpleasant to call on Idaho's senior senator to end a career in public service. We don't do this casually, or unanimously.
However, we cannot abide an elected official who didn't disclose a lewd conduct arrest until the story broke 77 days later -- a lie by omission and a violation of the public trust. We cannot believe Craig can effectively serve Idaho, under the shadow of his guilty plea on a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. We cannot afford, as a state with but four congressional representatives, to have a senator who merely provides fodder for bloggers and late-night talk show hosts.
Worse still, Craig's credibility has eroded within the power structure in Washington, D.C. Senate Republican leadership has called for an Ethics Committee review of the case, and at leadership's request, Craig Wednesday agreed to give up his Senate committee assignments. Several congressional Republicans -- including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Norm Coleman of Minnesota -- say Craig should resign. The White House is "disappointed in the matter," spokesman Scott Stanzel said Wednesday.
Two days ago, we urged Idahoans not to rush to judgment, and give Craig a chance to explain himself. Unfortunately, we have seen and heard enough. Judging from his performance Tuesday, when he read a brief public statement, Craig seems more interested in hunkering down, operating from a defensive state of denial. This is his prerogative. But he should not compromise Idaho interests in the process.
If Craig wishes to keep his secrets, he may do so as a former U.S. senator.
In 2002, the Statesman enthusiastically endorsed Craig's re-election, hailing him as an influential leader who is "hitting his stride as a senator." His stunning misstep has now cost him his viability and his credibility. He must now step aside.
Read more of this editorial in Thursday's Idaho Statesman and IdahoStatesman.com