Larry Craig

Sept. 14 -- Idaho's long-distance senator

So Sen. Larry Craig is commenting from afar on Gen. David Petraeus’ Iraq assessment to Congress. While many of his colleagues heard Petraeus firsthand, Craig issued a prepared statement from his undisclosed location in Idaho.

While Craig works on his legal issues in Minnesota, he has missed 26 Senate votes, as we reported this morning.

Ah, the joys of having a long-distance senior senator.

If Craig really "intends" to serve out the rest of this month — and who am I to question his carefully chosen word? — it's about time for him to intend to serve where the action is. And as soon as possible, after the Senate returns to work Monday after the recess for Rosh Hashanah.

It's unrealistic to try to represent Idahoans from 2,500 miles away from Capitol Hill. And it's equally unrealistic for Craig to expect to quietly slip back to work unnoticed by the unblinking eye of the national media.

"He would love to be here working," Craig spokesman Dan Whiting told McClatchy Newspapers' Erika Bolstad. "It’s what he’s done for 27 years. He’ll come back at a time when his presence won’t be a total distraction to Senate business."

Of course, Craig's return will inevitably be a distraction. It's one reason our editorial board argued for Craig to resign instead of trying to serve the final 16 months of his term. Since Craig chose not to resign immediately, he has chosen to stay on the job for the remainder of the month. And he can't perform his job in a shell.