Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tempest in a Tearoom

In August, when Washington politicians are all somewhere else, news of outrageous behavior by politicians is at a premium. Alberto Gonzales filled the void yesterday with his long-awaited resignation. Today it’s Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho.

Scandal-starved MSM journalists and, even more so, bloggers are feasting on the news that another Republican defender of family values has been caught literally with his pants down. News of Craig’s arrest and guilty plea on charges of lewd conduct in a Minneapolis airline terminal rest room was quickly followed by his resignation as Senate co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign.

Getting past the familiar gabble at the hypocrisy of Republican defenders of family values, Craig’s downfall (the clamor will almost certainly lead to his departure from the Senate) highlights the persistence of odd public behavior in our supposedly enlightened age.

When Sen. David Vitter was brought low by disclosure of his phone calls to the D. C. Madam, it was another instance of furtive deviant behavior in a private setting. But Craig’s solicitation of sex in a public place is a reminder that anonymous homosexual encounters in “tearooms” are far from a practice of the past.

Moral outrage seems to be the reaction of choice to this kind of behavior. Sadness might be another.

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