The thing I'm wondering about is why Minnesota is sending an undercover policeman to spend the day sitting in a toilet stall and arrest men who act suspiciously? Why not wait until the supposed guilty party does something more than tap his feet in a suggestive manner so the policeman would have a more substantive case? If they've set up a sting because this has been a problem in that bathroom they should have worked to build more of a case than lewd conduct.
Perhaps this is a major problem in that airport and men are having quickies all the time. But arresting a few men on one day isn't going to stop new strangers a week later from doing the same thing unless there is a lot of publicity about the arrests. But the police didn't seem to be trumpeting the arrest at the time so they weren't aiming for a deterrent effect, just to get someone that one day. Or do they station a policeman to sit on the toilet every day? What a job that must be!
Whether Craig is guilty or not, his political career seems to be over. This just isn't the type of story that Idahoans want to be reading about their senator. And who can't laugh at the "wide stance" defense? Republicans in Washington are running as fast as they can from the guy. They can't stand another distasteful sex scandal to be tainting the party. My standard is that when someone becomes such fodder for comics and laughter across the country that he's politically cooked. Unless he's Bill Clinton, of course.
UPDATE: Via a link from Ed Morrissey who also seems to be wondering where the crime is and how the standards seem to be different for soliciting sex from a prostitute and just sending signals to the guy in the next stall, here is a discussion on Slate about the whole question of what crime was committed. And David Plotz makes the same point I was thinking of - what was the real deterrent effect of this arrest?
David Plotz: Having just read the arrest report, I am unimpressed. Craig didn't disturb anyone, made very subtle signs and only touched the guy in response to a positive signal from the cop. If they want to stop disturbing and disorderly conduct, they need to find more disorder than this.Sure, enforce laws against sex and lewd conduct in bathrooms. A kid going into the bathroom after a long flight should not have to see two guys getting it on in a stall. But looking through the crack in the door and moving a foot suggestively shouldn't be enough to subject a guy to arrest. What if we started every guy who leers suggestively at a woman but never actually said anything to solicit sex. If one guy picks up another guy for sex in a public bathroom through a series of secret signals that most people don't know about, where is the crime in that? And if one of the signals is putting one's rollaway luggage in front of the door, I want to know where else you're supposed to put it. It's not like it's a hotel suite with a wide choice of storage space. There should be more evidence required of actual intent to have sex in the public bathroom. This is the part of the story gays should really be upset over, not outing a closeted Republican.
I understand why they want to stop a bathroom from becoming a den of blowjobs, but this seems pathetic. Also—there is little deterrent effect in doing this generally. It is an airport, so by definition it caters to people in transit, who aren't going to know that it has become a police target.
Dickerson: Seems to me you should have to go a bit beyond tapping your toes.
Shafer: He pleaded guilty to lewd conduct.
Plotz: Jack, for a libertarian such as yourself to say that a guilty plea is the last word is crazy. You, of all people, know the power of the state to bully and coerce in the enforcement of its laws. This is the case of an excessive law and a frightened arrestee.
Shafer: So all guilty pleas are bogus? I don't follow your logic. I also don't think the arrest qualifies as entrapment under the law. Would you be persuaded to change your position if you learned that the lav in question was a well known anonymous sex refill station?
Plotz: Of course not. He is guilty—but of a fake crime. The fact of the guilty plea does not somehow end discussion. He pleaded guilty because he was scared and embarrassed about the public revelation. The problem—my libertarian friend—is that the government has put on its books a law that serves very little public purpose, and has given the police free rein to enforce it with heavy hands (and tapping feet). You should be objecting to the excessive power of the state being harnessed to create and enforce laws that serve so little purpose.
Varifrank has a list of all the things men should avoid doing in a Minnesota airport bathroom. And he has the best defense of why Larry Craig decided to plead guilty. But there still seemed to have been two months between the arrest and court hearing. A U.S. senator making laws for the land wouldn't know to get a lawyer before he plead out? Sure, he was worried about the publicity, but did he really think that this story wouldn't get out once it was part of the public record?(h/t Instapundit)