Monday, August 27, 2007

Nelson Award: "I Have a Wide Stance!"

The public bathroom-related sexual exploits of the GOP (Gay Old Perverts?) Party continue...

[TPM link] Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

[...]“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly...The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet.* ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.

Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.

Fortunately for Craig, this story comes out during a week when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are on vacation, so I won't have any video links like I did for the last Chester the GOP Public Restroom Molester**

To Craig's credit the bowlegged defense is better than claiming the cop was wearing "what looked like a black guy's shoes" and opting for the racist "afraid for my life" defense like the previous perv. Though, like Rep. Allen, he tried to pull rank/bribe/intimidate the arresting officer:
Allen: When Allen was loaded into the patrol car, the statement said, he asked if "it would help" that he was a state legislator.

"No," the officer said.

"Help?" Helps make it funny as hell... Craig tried likewise:
Roll Call quoted the Aug. 8 police report as saying that Craig had handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.

"What do you think about that?" Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.

Oh, and for the record both of these jackass hypocrits were stalwart defenders of marriage and voted 100% against gays.

*Should we assume he also left without WASHING?

** I had this story set aside as a draft, and after today's story I went back, finished it off and posted it.


Mike said...

Two thoughts:

1. Getting arrested for toe-tapping, or what seemed to be mutually consenting restroom shenanigans is absurd.

2. Couldn't have happened to a better candidate, however.

3. Doesn't change the fact that this whole flirting-with-the-guy-in-the-next-stall-while-you-take-a-dump-thing is three steps beyond revolting.

Chris Howard said...

That's 3 thoughts. But I agree. I'll admit to plenty of schadenfreude when I first heard the story, but like Mike says, I'm not really behind the arrest. Ok, so it's creepy and gross to solicit sex in a public restroom, no argument there. But illegal? To be creepy and gross?

However, arrest aside, I'm very happy to see hypocrites like these publicly exposed. I've got no problem if you like a cock every now and then, but don't persecute others who have the same leanings.

Mr Furious said...

Precisely. I wouldn't give this story a moment's thought but for the fact that this is a judgmental asshole who trades in the demonization of sex and particularly gay sex.

I'm a believer in whatever floats your boat, within reason, and it's nobody else's business...

Though I will diverge from you guys on the public restroom as fair game. When I'm on the can, I expect to be left alone. And harassing/soliciting me should be frowned upon in some fashion... Sting operations that border on entrapment? Probably not. But Craig seems to've walked into this one all by himself.

Perhaps not forcing homosexuals to society's margins might allow for more "normal" interactions?

S.W. Anderson said...

Mr. F., you're right on about not forcing gays underground, so they can have their affairs pretty much like everyone else. Which means with some level of being more discreet about time and place.

But that only works for gays who aren't raging hypocrites. Hypocrites will still pull that kind of nonsense because they're psychologically bent.

Also, I'm with you about not extending my live-and-let-live goodwill to people who would proposition me in a restroom or to someone having sex there with someone else. Wrong time, wrong place, and they don't get to set the agenda for everyone else. It's that simple.

Mike said...

I will diverge from you guys on the public restroom as fair game. When I'm on the can, I expect to be left alone.

No divergence. I'm talking about the fact that the cop seemed to encourage Mr. Congressman to think he was gonna get some Crapper Lovin'.

If someone wants to send one toe tap in my way he's welcome to, so long as he stops after the first salvo.

If he continues, I'm fine with him getting cuffed and marched out.

Mr Furious said...

We have to fight them in the public bathroom or we'll be fighting them in our own bathrooms!

Mr Furious said...

I actually stand corrected on on thing—this WAS a sting operation, not a chance encounter. I assume this operation was based on some complaint or pattern of problem/behavior in these particular restrooms and in that case I am not opposed to a bit of law enforcement.

Going to the bathroom in a public spot like an airport (or a park) should be a safe and harrassment free environment. And, as SWA mentions, sexual activity is obviously NOT appropriate. That said, it is actually a leap I am not willing to make to assume Craig (or somebody else) intended to be having sex in one of the all liklihood, this was just a way to make contact (so to speak) for a more discrete encounter elsewhere.

In summation, I think that the objective of the police in an instance like this should be based on a warning. Obvious presence as a deterrent, or a flash of the badge under the stall, certainly would scare the shit out of the perpetrator without having to go through the process of prosecuting someone for what I maintain hasn't actually been a serious enough crime to warrant it.

What Craig was guilty of really was just overzealous or inappropriate flirting. That should be met with a proportional response: If it's me in the next stall, that's an "A-HEM!" followed by an "Excuse me?" if necessary.

Enforcement by police should be a similar response backed by the additional authority, and a warning.

Cornering somebody, harrassing them, or creating an unsafe environment rises to a higher level and should be dealt with accordingly.

The irony here is I could handle getting hit on by a guy in a straightforward fashion, and politely decline—perhaps even take it as a compliment in retrospect. While a repressed homosexual (/phobe) like Craig would raise holy hell at any above-board social interaction.

They are driven to the stalls by their own actions.

Mr Furious said...

All of that said, even though Craig was arrested, plead guilty and paid a fine, this whole thing was handled extremely discretely. I actually compliment the authorities on this. They were likely addressing a problem situation, and handled it in an admirable, if a bit entrap-y, manner.

They diodn't perp walk these guys, grandstand in any "big gay sting operation," and create a scenario where the local news is crawling all over the airport acting like the bathrooms are Greek orgy houses and the DA is making hay over cracking down on teh gay.

If Larry Craig wasn't such an asshole hypocrit, ths never would have come to light, and he would never have been targeted by the people who were motivated to expose him.


The guy in Florida is a different matter. He DID proposition the policeman, made a finacial arrangement, and was prepared to engage in the activity right then and there. He was rightly, in my opinion, arrested. Though I think parading him in front of the cameras is going to far in his and others' cases.

Rickey Henderson said...

Sad that Stewart and Colbert are on vacation when a story like this breaks. Bill Maher should have a field day with it however.

Yet another closeted bigot caught with his pants down. The hypocrisy in the GOP is absolutely staggering.

Mrs. Furious said...

We have to fight them in the public bathroom or we'll be fighting them in our own bathrooms!

That made me laugh so hard I woke up the baby!

Chris Howard said...

We have to fight them in the public bathroom or we'll be fighting them in our own bathrooms!

Good line :)

I would agree that law enforcement is called for if the behavior amounts to harrassment. As you say, in many cases a warning would probably work just as well to stop the trolling. And you're right, it must have been pretty discreet because it took a while to come out, relatively speaking.

I really don't like the entrapment angle of a lot of these sex crime stings. I really despise the kind where they put an ad in the paper for an "escort" service, arrange a meeting at a hotel and then arrest the guys who show up. Who exactly does this help? What an utter waste of resources, and yes, I feel bad for many of the guys caught up in these types of stings.