Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's not easy being conservative

Senator Larry Craig has been a "public servant" for the citizens of Idaho his entire professional career. As a general rule, his views have been what most people call "conservative," mirroring those of his consituency. (Much to the chagrin of the folks in Boise's North End, and in Blaine County, Idaho is a "conservative" state.)

Now Craig's career is on the line.

He has pleaded guilty to "disorderly conduct," following an encounter he had with an undercover cop in a restroom of the Minneapolis Air Terminal.

Everybody knows that. It's the lead story on every news/opinion website, every news broadcast, and every newspaper across the Fruited Plain.

What did Craig do?

According to the complaint, he:
- Tapped his foot in a stall of the restroom - a secret gay mating signal, apparently. (Who knew?)
- Played "footsie" with the undercover cop in the next stall (obviously unaware it was an undercover cop).
- Put his hand underneath the partition.

(The lurid details can be read HERE.)

Frankly, I'd ask... where's the crime?

But Craig told the judge he's guilty... a fact that's difficult for even his most ardent supporters to ignore.

(There have been rumors about Craig's sexual orientation for years. If Craig is not gay - and he vehemently denies being gay - I feel sorry for him, because it would be miserable to be deflecting the accusations. If he is gay, I feel equally sorry for him, because it would be miserable to live a double life, being the "conservative" in the public eye, and a whole different person in private.)

When the story broke, a firestorm of indignation followed.

For me, it's most interesting to observe who's indignant.

It's a no-brainer that Craig's liberal detractors would join in the beat-down. His fall from grace is a godsend for them.

They point out the apparent hypocrisy, since Craig has consistently voted against "equal rights" for gays, gay marriage, etc.

But - they are joined by a sustained chorus of conservative voices, who condemn Craig and call for his resignation.

Yep - it's not easy being conservative. Mess up, and both teams pile on!

Let's compare, for a moment, the sad story of Larry Craig with a champion of the liberals, Mr. Al Gore.

(I hope this is a valid comparison. If I'm being unfair, I invite dissenting viewpoints.)

Al "Inconvenient Truth" Gore says all the right things. He preaches the gospel of Global Warming and conservation, and living a "small carbon-footprint" lifestyle.

But then - shockingly! - it comes to light that Gore's Tennesee mansion consumes $36,000 worth of energy per year!

(Not to mention the fossil fuel he burns as he private-jets from lecture to lecture, takes limousines from the airport, etc. Gore explains that he purchases "carbon credits," and that he's trying to cut down on his consumption. I have yet to hear an explanation that I could understand, of how that carbon-credits stuff works. But that's a different topic.)

Who criticizes Algore?

His "conservative" detractors lay it on thick. Like Craig's critics, they point out the hypocrisy of a guy who says one thing in public, while living a private lifestyle that's apparently contradictory to his Good Word.

But strangely, most of his supporters rush to his defense! They are more than happy to give him a pass. After all, he's saying all the right things. And he should be cut some slack because of all the good that he's doing, preaching the Good Word of Global Warming.

(Perhaps the Gore Faithful actually feel relieved that Gore doesn't practice what he preaches. After all, it assuages their guilt for doing the same thing... criticizing SUV drivers, corporations, etc., - the high-visibility offenders - while doing precious little themselves to reduce their Carbon Footprints.)

So, what's the difference?

Well, let's compare the alleged offenses.

Craig is accused of being secretly gay. Algore is accused of being a secret global warmer.

Which is worse? The liberals would say that being a Global Warmer is far worse than being gay! There's nothing wrong with being gay!

They say they're not outraged by Craig's gayness, but rather by his hypocrisy.

So what about Algore?

The difference, it seems, is that liberals don't like what Craig says, and they like what Gore says. It doesn't matter what they do, as long as they're saying the right thing (and Craig isn't). And darn it... conservatives expect you to do what you say!

It's not easy being conservative.

P.S. - I think Craig should step down, or at least declare he won't run for reelection in 2008. I've generally supported him over the years, but these ongoing allegations have become enough of a distraction that he's ineffective representing Idaho's interests in Congress. And if he's gay, he's a hypocrite. (By the way, we're all hypocrites to one degree or another. But when you choose to be in the Public Light, you have a higher duty, in my opinion.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he didn't commit a crime, then why did he plead guilty???
That's the problem I have here. Look.....if he had pled "not guilty" and stated that there was an obvious misunderstanding in the communication between he and the undercover officer I would totally be on his side. And why is there an undercover officer in the Minneapolis airport restroom to begin with? There must have been some reason for him to be there...I would assume that he was there because there were complaints from people that things like this were going on there. (I have flown through Minneapolis a gagillion times and have NEVER seen restroom behavior that I would deem questionable.)
But I think that if he did nothing wrong the LAST thing he should do is plead guilty.
"It's not easy being conservative" because as a conservative you hold yourself up to higher standards; you make an announcement to the rest of the political world that you have morals, values and ethics. And unfortuantely having others judge your actions comes with the territory.
It's also not always easy to do what is right.....doing something wrong sometimes takes far less effort and far less of a spine.
But.....it is always far more rewarding in the long run.
I have a feeling that pleading guilty to a crime you did not commit-if in fact he did not commit a crime-perhaps looked easier at first....but ask him now if it was the RIGHT thing to do.

8:21 PM  

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