By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Frank talk about Larry Craig

I’ve been casting about for a point of entry into the Larry Craig controversy. Today, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank gave me one. In an interview with Robin Young on WBUR’s “Here and Now” — most of which was about the mortgage crisis — Frank explained (fast-forward to 14:25) why he didn’t think Craig should resign:

Well, I condemn his hypocrisy, and I think the hypocrisy is a valid reason for people not to vote for him. I think that when you set yourself up to make rules for people and then don’t follow them yourself, you’re committing a very grave error, and that’s a reason not to vote for you. But when you’ve been elected, it seems to me you serve out the term unless you have been shown to be misusing your office.

Look, we have a senator from Louisiana, Senator [David] Vitter, who has acknowledged that he was patronizing this prostitution ring. People haven’t asked for him to resign. Now, I don’t think people should be soliciting sex in public bathrooms, and I certainly don’t think people should be hypocrites. But we’re not talking now about somebody who shot someone, or bodily injured someone, and the fact is that comparable infractions among heterosexuals haven’t led to demands to resign.

Frank went on to observe that Craig is up for re-election next year, and that he assumed Craig would either not run or would be defeated in a Republican primary.

A lot of good sense there. Not that it matters — it looks like Craig will be gone by the end of the day.

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  1. Anonymous

    I take Frank’s point. However if a significant number of his constituecny want him to resign forthwith, Craig should. I think the number I’ve heard was 66% want him out. * Just as an aside does anybody else remember Brudnoy interviewing Barney on a BPL restroom raid, when both were closeted?

  2. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    Let me see. . . Prostitution OK, homosexuality bad. That doesn’t seem to be very PC.

  3. MeTheSheeple

    Don,I heard most of Barney Frank’s talk. I think the argument was basically that any sort of public sex act was a bad thing for a Congresscritter. At the same time, Frank was arguing that they didn’t meet the standard of “They need to leave, NOW.” He figured the voters should decide the issue at the next election.If memory serves, he did say the horrible sort of offense would include those such as by Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

  4. Neil

    Jeff Jacoby chimes in on this issue, and does some pretty fine parsing of the word “hypocrite”:Hypocrisy isn’t merely saying one thing but sometimes doing another. Nor is it simply having a double standard – lionizing Anita Hill, say, but trashing Paula Jones (or vice versa). Hypocrisy is worse than that. It’s a form of duplicity. A hypocrite is one who doesn’t believe the moral views he proclaims and violates them routinely in his own life.He says hypocrisy is “deceit, not weakness”. If only Jacoby would apply this level of attention to the language when he’s using words like “terrorist”, “insurgent” and “Islamo-fascist” interchangeably.One of his examples of who is a hypocrite seems an exact expression of Craig’s situation namely, “The “family-values” politician who blasts the sins of others while blithely carrying on affairs of his own”.I guess the distinction for Jacoby is one of attitude–trolling for BJs in airport bathrooms blithely is hypocritical, but doing so while feeling bad about it is not. A downright Talmudic distinction!The Globe says that Craig “has consistently voted against gay rights measures and…opposes gay marriage”. I don’t know specifically what gay rights measures are involved, but will make the quixotic point that being against gay marriage is not equivalent to being against gay rights, so in and of itself is not an example of hypocrisy.Craig can doubtless find solace in the fact that a columnist from Boston says his actions aren’t hypocritical, they are merely a case of saying one thing and doing another. I’m not a hypocrite, I’m merely weak! Thus he can remain steadfast in his denial, and maybe go get himself one of those faith-based cures for his toilet stall-based wicked temptations.

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