Listening to Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig proclaim in near-thundering terms that he is not gay and never has been gay, I couldn't help but recall hearing Bill Clinton swear he "did not have sex with that woman."
All Craig lacked to enforce the comparison was a finger wiggling at the camera. In his case, there was also no trace of bodily fluids on anyone's dress to prove his guilt, but then there was that guilty plea admitting that he had engaged in disorderly conduct in a men's room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, thereby avoiding admitting that he originally had been charged with soliciting a homosexual encounter with an undercover police officer.
Craig now says he pled guilty simply to get the matter out of the way, but surely as a lawmaker he had to know that he could easily have pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) without owning up to having been a bad boy and having that damning guilty plea on the record.
The media has jumped on this story as if the senator were Paris Hilton in drag. Aside from the ribald comments it has provoked, such as Jay Leno's remark to Sen. John McCain -- who had said that his colleagues don't socialize with one another -- that his lonely fellow senators could always find companionship in airport men's rooms.
When they involve politics, scandals such as this one are certain to find partisanship rearing its head, and the Craig affair is no exception. Because Larry Craig is a staunch conservative from a staunchly conservative state, Democrats and their leftist allies are dancing in the streets over his embarrassment, busily reminding every sympathetic reporter who will listen to them that the Idaho Senator not only espouses family values, but has been a staunch foe of gay marriage.
Ergo, he's not only a closet men's room lothario, but a hypocrite as well. It's a case of "don't do as I do, do as I say."
As tempting a target as Craig may be, however, it's interesting how gingerly the overwhelmingly pro-gay media have approached the subject of his alleged homosexuality.
Except for the more-militant gay activists, at least one of which has charged in unprintable language that Craig isn't really gay, he just likes to have gay sex, most of the media have avoided any hint that in reporting on the scandal they find Craig's suspected homosexuality objectionable.
In other words, if he really is gay, that fact itself is off limits. As Jerry Seinfeld used to say after mentioning homosexuality with something less than approval, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
In the media's eyes, however, there is a lot wrong with a closet gay criticizing gay marriage or promoting family values which they see as code for condemning homosexuality and gays.
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