Larry Craig, the irrational member who goes on forever with no solution.
When a gay blogger ran anonymous allegations against Craig last fall, the Idaho Statesman, the biggest newspaper in the state, declined to run the rumors. The Statesman decided to conduct its own investigation—and didn't even print the results of its investigation until after Roll Call broke the story of Craig's arrest.
The newspaper interviewed more than 300 people who've known Craig—neighbors, childhood friends, and 41 of his University of Idaho fraternity brothers. In May, a few weeks before the Minneapolis arrest, the Statesman interviewed Craig and his wife, and played a tape from the man who made the online allegations.
The report is exhaustive, interesting, and inconclusive. Read it for yourself, and the one thing you can be sure of is that Larry Craig's favorite epithet is "Jiminy!" He told the Statesman, "I don't go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!" After his wife listened to the tape and told the newspaper she was incensed it would "consider such a piece of trash as a credible source," Craig let loose with, "Jiminy God!"
At a press conference Tuesday, Craig blamed his guilty plea on the pressure he felt from what he called the Statesman's eight-month-long "witch hunt." Craig might have been better off claiming his layover was entrapment by the common enemy so many Idaho flyers love to hate, Minnesota-based Northwest Airlines.
Garrison Keillor once said that folks in Lake Wobegon believe in forgiving their neighbor, but first they want to hear details. Idahoans are in no mood to forgive Craig. But—Jiminy God!—we've heard enough details. ... 6:37 P.M. ( link)
Bruce Reed, who was President Clinton's domestic policy adviser, is CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council and co-author with Rahm Emanuel of The Plan: Big Ideas for Change in America.E-mail him at email@example.com. Read his disclosure here.
Photographs of: Mitt Romney on Slate's home page by Eric Rowley/Getty Images; of Sen. Larry Craig by Win McNamee/Getty Images.