Senator’s Career Stalled


Idaho senator Larry Craig hasn’t come out of the closet yet but this just in: He’s now gone from three key committees — Veterans Affairs, the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, and Energy’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests.

All this because he temporarily served on a two-man public bathroom committee.

Craig’s hometown TV station just reported Craig’s ouster from the committees. Ouch. He won’t be cruising around Boise anytime soon. And he didn’t volunteer to leave those posts. In fact, Craig didn’t even make the announcement, as the Boise TV channel reports:

The announcement came in a statement from Republican leaders Senators Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott, Jon Kyl, Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Ensign.

“Senator Larry Craig has agreed to comply with Leadership’s request … This is not a decision we take lightly but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee.”

An ethics inquiry? That’s what I can’t understand. If the police report from Minneapolis is true, Craig followed perfectly the ethics of cruising, according to yesterday’s ABC News story “Secret Signals: How Gay Men Cruise for Sex”. Take a look at the police report, and then read the “Secret Signals” story and tell me that Craig, with all that toe-tapping and hand-signalling, wasn’t following the ethics of cruising.

We don’t know what tune the formerly gay-bashing Craig will be singing as this saga unfolds, but he and the aforementioned Lott sure made some sweet music together at one point, especially when John Ashcroft was hanging around D.C. Those three and Jim Jeffords were once known as the barbershop quartet The Singing Senators (that’s Craig, sandwiched between Lott and Ashcroft, forming a perfect “O” with his mouth).

Ashcroft’s penchant for singing started to piss people off when he moved from the convivial old boys’ club of the Senate to the halls of the Justice Department in his job as AG. As Glenn Weiser noted in Metroland in August 2002:

The staunchly fundamentalist Ashcroft had already been holding morning prayer meetings at Justice, but has now found a new venue — and a captive audience — there for his musical ambitions. Staffers arriving for work are receiving printouts with the lyrics to his songs so they can take part in the daily singalongs. And lest no one be left out, Spanish speakers have even been pressed into service to translate the words.

Ashcroft’s latest effort, the country-flavored “The Eagle Soars,” starts out like this:

“Oh she’s far to young to die/You can see it in her eye/She’s not yet begun to fly.”

Sour notes are being heard in the choir, though. One worker, when asked by the BBC why she wasn’t thrilled about singing “The Eagle Soars,” put it bluntly. “Have you heard the song? It really sucks.” And some employees hate it so much they won’t sing it at all.

Ashcroft’s now gone from D.C., and Craig’s days as a “singing senator” are clearly over. The self-proclaimed God-fearing Craig had better devote himself to silent prayer, or whatever else he does on his knees.