As Larry Craig returns to work as, perhaps, America’s most famous short-timer, he’ll probably bump into some of his Senate Republican friends.
Such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who called Craig’s behavior “unforgivable.” Or Arizona Sen. John McCain who told late-night talk shot host Jay Leno that the Idaho senator’s behavior was “disgraceful.” Or Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who dissed Craig by forwarding a $2,500 donation from Craig’s PAC to charity.
You know you’re short on friends when you can’t even give away money anymore. But when the Larry Craig story broke – with news of his arrest in a lewd conduct investigation at a Minnesota airport bathroom, and his subsequent guilty plea on a disorderly conduct charge – Republicans moved quickly to sever their ties with Craig.
And this, perhaps more than anything, brought Craig’s 27-year congressional career to a close.
It grew clear last week that Craig could not effectively serve out the final 16 months of his term in this climate. So what can he really get done this month, with his resignation effective Sept. 30?
We’ll see. We also could see some political theater this week, as the backdrop shifts from Boise to Capitol Hill. Craig, for now, is working out of Idaho and hasn't returned to Washington, D.C., reports Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash.
We in the media sometimes make more of perceived conflict than we should. We here at the Statesman got a taste of that last week; as the national media came to Boise last week to pursue the Craig story, the reporters inevitably wanted to ask us about Craig’s claim of a Statesman “witch hunt.” Which I’m sure I’d have done myself if I were on that side of the interview.
On the Hill this week, the conflict is the story. It will be interesting to watch unfold from afar.
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