Larry Craig Decides to Stay
Posted by shadmia on October 6, 2007
Larry Craig said he would resign his seat in the Senate after his arrest and conviction on charges related to soliciting sex in a men’s restroom. He changed his mind and tried to have the conviction overturned. He again promised to resign if he failed to have his conviction thrown out. The court upheld the conviction and now he has changed his mind again and decided not to resign after all. He has decided to remain in Congress for the rest of his term which ends in 2008. So much for the promises of Larry Craig. In refusing to overturn Craig’s guilty plea the court said:
“It is not a manifest injustice to force the defendant to be bound by his plea bargain and the waivers and admissions which he made in conjunction with the execution of that bargain…. Because the defendant’s plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence … the defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied,” Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote.
“I am extremely disappointed with the ruling issued today,” Craig said in his written statement. “I am innocent of the charges against me.” He added that over five terms in the House and three in the Senate, “I have accumulated seniority and important committee assignments that are valuable to Idaho.” He did not mention that at the request of the leadership, he relinquished the senior Republican posts on his committees. Although he refused to honor his pledge to resign, he did indicate that he would not seek re-election.
“When my term has expired, I will retire and not seek re-election, I hope this provides the certainty Idaho needs and deserves.”
His decision was a major disappointment to Republican leaders, who had hoped Mr. Craig would make good on his initial pledge and spare them from the potential political liability of having a senior lawmaker who has become a national punch line.
“The type of behavior we are talking about here is not exactly something that I think a senator should be engaged in,” said Senator John Ensign of Nevada, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
“I can’t think of anything good about it,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia.
“You don’t want to know what I really feel,” said Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina.
The ethics committee has already signaled it is reviewing the facts of Craig’s case, taking the step after the Senate Republican leadership requested it. “I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee — something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate” said Craig. His decision to stay and fight raises the strong possibility of public hearings — virtually certain to be televised live — centered on the issue of gay sex. Republicans unhappy with Mr. Craig said they had little recourse except for the ethics inquiry.
Mr. Craig had his defenders among the Republicans, including Senators Michael Crapo, also of Idaho, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, both of whom said Mr. Craig was within his rights to remain and try to clear his name.
“Senator Craig is entitled to make his decision and I respect it,” Mr. Specter said. “Disorderly conduct is not moral turpitude and it is no basis for leaving the Senate.”
Mr. Crapo, a friend and ally on state issues, said he strongly supported Mr. Craig.
“I look forward to working with him in the Senate as he resolves his legal battles,” said Mr. Crapo.
What I fail to see in all of Senator Larry Craig’s wrangling is what he hopes to achieve by prolonging the inevitable. The only outcome of his refusal to leave immediately is more public ridicule and embarrassment. Nobody believes or even cares if he is innocent. He has lost all credibility among his peers. He has lost all his senior posts in the Senate. He is the constant butt (pun intended) of jokes. If he really cares so much about clearing his name, he should do it full time on his own time and clear the way for someone who will only have the nation’s business in mind.
Larry Craig do us all a favor and just go away!!