Every August, it seems, something comes up which captures the attention of the national press corps and becomes THE STORY.
In August 1998 the mother of all August stories was Bill Clinton’s more-or-less admission he had lied to everyone – including Hillary – about his activities with Monica Lewinsky.
In 2001 it was the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy story in which the California Congressman admitted to having had an affair with his intern whose body was subsequently found along the Rock Creek Parkway.
In 2002 WorldCom had announced it had somehow misplaced about $3.3 Billion in previously reported earning which, on top of the Enron and Adelphia accounting scandals led to very wealthy people being charged with very big crimes and being sentenced to very long terms in jail.
In 2004 New Jersey Governor James McGreevy announced he was gay and had hired his gay lover as New Jersey’s Homeland Security chief.
You get the idea.
There was no small amount of grumbling among senior members of the popular press – many of whom have spent much of the month contemplating great truths while sitting in the elegant lobbies of chain motels in Waco, Texas in case news happened at President George W. Bush’s ranch in nearby Crawford – about the lack of really juicy stuff this August.
The resignations of Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales, while filled with unproved allegations of official skullduggery, generate none of the salacious interest of a good sex scandal.
Happily for all of us, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) tap danced in during the last week of the month and gave us the story we’ve all been waiting for.
According to the Spokesman-Review newspaper: Craig was arrested in June in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, after an undercover vice detective said he made inappropriate gestures that suggested he wanted to engage in sex in a restroom stall.
Craig told the officer his actions, which involved tapping his foot and moving it next to the detective’s foot in the adjoining stall then reaching under the stall’s partition – were misinterpreted. On Aug. 8, however, he pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct while another charge of “interfering with privacy” was dropped.
He says he entered the plea to put the episode behind him even though he believed he had done nothing wrong.
Larry Craig since was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1980. He has been a Member of the Senate since 1990 making him a 27-year veteran of the Congressional wars.