What Did Sen. Craig Actually Do?
08.28.07 -- 10:59AM
By David Kurtz
We've had lots of back and forth discussion here
internally about what conduct by Sen. Craig in that
Minneapolis airport restroom was actually illegal.
We've posted the arrest report, so take a look and
reach your own conclusions.
Leering stares, foot tapping, a lingering presence.
Are any of those, even taken together, what most
reasonable people would call criminal? Is it because
they happened in a bathroom? God knows they happen
every night in bars and other public spaces, among
gays and straights.
TPM Reader LA refines the point:
Sure, he's a hypocrite, sure he's probably gay or
bi or whatever, and sure, I despise his politics. The
problem is, I'm torn between the schadenfreude of
watching another one of the Family Values crowd being
shown up, and feeling really bad for the guy, because
he didn't do anything.
Look at the police report. Did he directly ask a
cop for sex? No. Did he expose himself lewdly (as
opposed to exposing himself to use the facilities)?
No. Did he do anything that was unambiguously sexual?
All he did was tap his foot, reach down (possibly
to pick up a piece of TP), wiggle his fingers, and put
his bag in front of him when he sat down. Oh, and he
waited in front of an occupied stall. Even if he did
everything the cop said he did, where was the lewd
conduct? No actual sex happened. No actual sex was
discussed. And if it wasn't for the sheer
embarrassment of the situation, you'd be writing about
the overzealous cop who arrested a sitting US Senator
for no apparent reason.
If Craig was looking for sex, I hope that he can
look into his heart and realize that it's 2007, and
gay people are allowed to be out, and even get
involved in meaningful relationships that don't begin
and end in a squalid men's room. I'd hope that he'd
recognize that there are even gay Republicans out
there (look at former Rep. Kolbe, for one), and that a
lot of the stigma and fear that still exists about
homosexuality in this society has to do with the
behavior of people who are in the closet.
But that, to me, is another issue entirely. The
issue here is, why is the Minneapolis Airport PD
arresting people for such flimsy reasons? Why do
judges and prosecutors still accept these cases? Why,
in 2007, 43 years after LBJ's chief of staff, Walter
Jenkins, got busted in the men's room YMCA in DC, have
we apparently moved no further in our analysis of
I think that's about right. Look, I wouldn't want to
bring my 4-year-old son into the airport bathroom and
stumble across two people having sex, gay or straight.
It's tough enough getting in and out of the john
without him touching every dirty surface or
contributing to the mess with an errant aim. But sex
didn't happen here. Even the propositioning is murky
at best. And short of a proposition involving sex for
money, what is illegal about inquiring about sex?
Tactless, maybe. But criminal?
The hypocrisy angle--conservative U.S. senator with a
voting record antagonistic to gay rights--is the one
just about everyone can hang their hats on here.
Paying a political price for that hypocrisy seems
reasonable. But clearly the hypocrisy is not just
political; it's deeply personal. The fractures and
fault lines in Craig's psyche must be something to
behold. It's hard not to feel some sympathy for the
guy. But hypocrisy, thank god for all of us, is not a
crime. Being gay shouldn't be either.