The Genius of Larry Craig, Senator

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You’ve heard the news. Sen. Larry Craig isn’t resigning after all. He’ll keep plugging away in the Senate until January 2009.

For the moment at least he says he’s not going to run for reelection. (I put the odds of his getting into the presidential at about three-to-one.) But really, it’s pretty obvious why he’s chosen not to seek another term in the senate. If he’s in the senate how can he found Craig & Associates LLC, Specialists in Crisis Communications.

Let’s face it, Larry Craig is demonstrably the shrewdest and most deft master of crisis communications in American history, quite possibly since the early days of the Roman Republic.

Let’s review, news breaks that Craig, a social conservative and strong opponent of gay rights, got nabbed for propositioning a man for sex in a public restroom — a misdemeanor to which he later pleaded guilty. That’s just a bad news day.

So Craig’s fellow Republicans basically do everything short of physically forcing him to resign. He “resigns”. Only it’s not a resignation. Rather, it’s a rather ingenious ploy to let the temperature ease off on the story, a post-dated resignation. Then it’s not a resignation. He’s going to fight the guilty plea — something of a novelty in the annals of jurisprudence. He’ll stay in office if he can get his plea withdrawn. And now he can’t get his guilty plea withdrawn so, well, too bad. He’s staying anyway.

I don’t know whether it was all intentional. But it was ingenious. Who could have thought he would survive this?

Late Update: TPM Reader DH thinks Craig’s a shrewd betting man too …

The genius of Craig’s move today is in calling the Republicans’ bluff on Ethics Committee hearings: Does the Republican leadership really want televised hearings on gay sex in public, involving one of their own, as the AP is reporting is “virtually certain”? Didn’t think so. Who’s taking odds that those hearings are cancelled somehow, some way?

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