You probably know by now that Sen. Norm Coleman has called for the resignation of Sen. Larry Craig. If you don't, read it here.
A caller or two to the newsroom brings up an interesting question. Why didn't Coleman call for the resignation of David Vitter, who is alleged to have sought the company of a prostitute (but only the Washington kind! Not those New Orleans hookers, mind you!).
It's a good question. And it shows the danger of opening the door on issues of morality by a politician.
By the way, it's interesting to go back and read Craig's quotes on issues of ethics after he was arrested but before we knew about it.
Take this number from The Politico.
"All of us are maybe a little accepting, but a little frustrated, when senators go out and do things that are morally or ethically in question," Craig said. "But when another agency of government intrudes or appears to stage an event for the sake of publicity, … that is a whole other issue."
They're circling the wagons.
I was just thinking the same thing.
The Times Herald-Record reported that Vitter rc'vd a "standing ovation" by a private Republican luncheon with his peers - after the story regarding the DC and Canal St. Madams broke.
Was Coleman in attendance?
Actually, Vitter was accused of retaining the services of a Canal St Madam as well.
As for the response to Vitter on Capitol Hill, here's what The Hill and CNN had to say:
Only seven days earlier, he had delivered a heartfelt apology at the same weekly meeting. Fellow Republicans responded with thunderous applause, and most refused to tell reporters how Vitter had addressed his forced public admission that he had committed a “serious sin” and was linked to an alleged prostitution ring.
Vitter apologized privately to his fellow Republican senators at their weekly policy lunch Tuesday, senators who attended the lunch said.
One senator described his apology as "humble" and "short and to the point." The senator said Vitter was met with a great deal of "empathy" by the senators in the room.
I'll go ahead and state the obvious, then: one had sex with a woman... and one, by his own admission, wanted it with a man.
Lawyers, Guns, and Money has an interesting explanation for the sudden outrage of Republicans over the act of a Republican. If Craig resigns, a Republican gov appoints a Republican to the Senate. No harm done and they all look pretty good in the deal. If Republicans had forced Vitter to resign, a Democratic governor would appoint a Democrat to the Senate.
So maybe it's not about ethics or sex at all. Maybe it's --gasp -- about politics!
Even to look at this as a political move, it doesn't look good for Coleman. I can understand why John McCain would so readily pander to the base, barely registering in Iowa as he is. But why would an incumbent Senator with centrist appeal pander to that base? He's not in a heated primary against a more conservative opponent, he risks his centrist appeal against a liberal opponent, and the alternative to not calling for a colleague's resignation makes so much sense in light of everything that has been discussed in this post.
In short, I think it makes him look desperate.
The sad part is that politics may be the real reason, but this is scapegoating to the detriment of the gay community. It doesn't matter which minority group it is, it's never ok.
Bob, I get the "obvious." But maybe you could clarify your point. Based on what we've seen from the sanctimonious lately, there could have been empathy in that room for either position.
(Collins: My point is there is at least as much "evidence" that the sudden Republican rush to dissassociate from Craig, while no such urge existed in the previous case, had something to do with the political considerations of a post-Craig Senate as there is that it's proof of Senatorial homophobia.
However, the inconsistency suggests it has little to do with revulsion over bringing disrepute to the Senate.