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September 5, 2007
The Fickle Mind of Larry Craig
Will he or won't he?
It seems that Idaho Senator Larry Craig may be having second thoughts about resigning from the Senate over his arrest and conviction for disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis mens room.
What once was a foregone conclusion is now up in the air:
Whiting confirmed in an e-mail that his boss “intends to resign on Sept. 30th. However, he is fighting these charges, and should he be cleared before then, he may, and I emphasize may, not resign.” Craig's Idaho constituents aren't the only ones who might be a littled teed off at the Senator if he changes his mind. GOP Senators who have been urging Craig out the door since the story broke are also said to be livid:
Craig’s move stunned even supporters. Most political insiders believed Craig had finally gotten the message from national Republican leaders, who saw his guilty plea to a humiliating sex-related charge as a blemish on the party’s reputation and its prospects for the 2008 election.
"We didn't know anything about this," said a spokesman for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who stood with Craig during the resignation announcement. Otter, a congressman until his election as governor last fall, will pick Craig’s successor. Craig’s hedging may play poorly even among Idaho supporters who believe Craig was railroaded, observers said.
"I'm not sure how Idahoans will take it if they feel like they were misled by his statement on Saturday," said Jim Weatherby, a retired political scientist at Boise State University. "He was playing a word game, apparently, with us."
A senior GOP Senate strategist said Republican leaders want him gone now and will press for him to keep his promise to resign. The strategist warned Craig is "losing any goodwill built up among his colleagues," adding, "He is simply a fish out of water, floundering right now to get his last gasp of political air." Medicated or not, Craig is simply proving he has a tin ear when it comes to taking the temperature of his constituents and colleagues on this issue. He dawdled for 3 days over whether to resign - an eternity in the hyper active world of Washington politics. And now he wishes to convince everyone he may have been playing word games in his resignation statement?
"It simply defies reality," said a Senate GOP aide. "You can't make this up even if you are heavily medicated. The American people heard from Larry Craig that he would resign, and using the word 'intent' as a back door doesn't work with them."
As I said when this story broke, someone needs to have an intervention with this guy and make him see how ridiculous he makes himself and the party look over this matter.