It’s not a good day for politicians trying to escape criminal accountability. Probably thankful to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich today is one Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who quietly lost his attempt to withdraw a guilty plea for disorderly conduct committed in a Minneapolis airport men’s room on one fateful summer day.
After his arrest in June of 2007, Craig pled guilty, paid a fine and clearly hoped the whole sordid mess would go away. When the story became public, he insisted that it was all a big misunderstanding, and, "deeply panicked," he’d been hasty in making the guilty plea.
Well, no dice, said the court. In the second rejection of such an attempt, Hennepin County District Judge Charles Porter called the original plea “accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and... supported by the evidence.”
Much to the chagrin of his fellow Republican senators, Craig backed off a promise to resign after the scandal broke, despite a reprimand from the Ethics Committee. Instead, he chose not to seek reelection, and will be replaced in the next Congress by current Idaho Lieutenant Gov. Jim Risch.
Though he'll soon be out of the public eye, it was good of Craig to resurface today, if only briefly. By contrast, writes Kathryn Jean Lopez at the Corner, Blagojevich is heartwarming:
This Illinois Senate-seat news is outrageous and shameful. That said, it warms my heart. Finally, a political scandal you can talk to your children about. No room at the Mayflower. No myspace page. No Gay-American announcement. Just good and evil and money and power corrupting.
Yes, if you do your damnedest to sell your constituents' right to representation to the highest bidder -- but don't touch your zipper -- you're practically a Frank Capra character.