Nevertheless, Republicans in the Senate and House – remembering, perhaps, the horrors which befell them when Florida Congressman Mark Foley’s penchant for writing inappropriate text messages to Congressional Pages became public shortly before the 2006 elections – ran for the hills before Craig even uttered his first public statement.
Not 24 hours later, according to the NY Times, Craig had decided “to comply with a request [by Republican Senate leaders] to step down as the top Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, on the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, and the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests.”
Republican Senators John McCain (candidate for President) and Norm Coleman (candidate for re-election in Minnesota) called for him to resign.
Former Republican Governor Mitt Romney (candidate for President) for whom Larry Craig served as co-chairman in the Senate, according to the Boston Globe, called the whole thing "disgusting" and compared it to past Washington sex scandals involving former Florida congressman Mark Foley and former President Bill Clinton.
This is a huge problem for Larry Craig, but is not much of a problem for Senate Republicans. Idaho is a heavily Republican state; Senator Mike Crapo, Reps. Bill Sali and Mike Simpson and Governor Butch Otter are all members of the GOP.
Should Craig decide to resign, a Republican Governor will appoint a Republican replacement. Should he refuse to resign, it is likely Craig will be challenged in a primary which he would probably lose.
All of that means the current split between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate will not change.
Larry Craig’s long and worthy career will no doubt end with this scandal. But, too many other Republicans, in their zeal to throw him under the bus, have done little to cover themselves in glory.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The text of Clinton’s mea culpa speech about Monica, and a snapshot bio of Larry Craig. Also an amusing Mullfoto from the Minnesota State Fair and a Catchy Caption of the Day.