Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ethical Dilemma

Yesterday's outting of Senator Larry Craig of Idaho has me in a bit of an ethical pickle.

On the one hand, hypocrisy is what hypocrisy does, and Larry Craig has voted consistently on a family values platform and against homosexual interests. Assume he is homosexual, as Michael Rogers is asserting.

A quick check of his voting record shows he voted to ban gay marriages, against adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes legislation, and against ending job discrimation based on orientation.

Does that make him a hypocrite, though?

After all, a Senator or Congressman is supposed to vote the way he sees fit, based on the constituency he represents. Idaho is not a bastion of liberal thought, to be sure. Is there something I'm missing about his voting record?

I'm not aware of any bills he's sponsored that are specifically against gay rights, nor am I aware of any uberinflammatory speeches he's given against gays.

Assuming he is gay, and assuming that there are no such bills or speeches, shouldn't the private behavior of a man, no matter how offensive his constituents might find it, remain his private behavior?

Wasn't this the whole argument we liberals threw out when Clinton was being pelted with stones from the right? From all appearances, these encounters Rogers claims he has uncovered were with men of age, and while some of them take place in some rather shabby circumstances, what difference does it make?

See, Mark Foley had two strikes against him: first, he sponsored legislation about the very crime he committed and second, he may have committed a felony. For that, he clearly deserved to be exposed (no pun intended).

But Craig's a different case, and while I'm all for knocking another Republican out of the Senate, we ought to start taking a closer look at how "Republican" we want to become.

There is a side issue, and that is, should he have come out and been honest with his constituency? Again, I think that's a matter of choice, and I cannot critique his choice. Clearly, his being gay (or at least bi) was an issue for him. How many politicians come out as drunks or Jewish (a la George Allen) or divorced, unless pushed to by circumstance? So why is "being gay" held to a different standard than smoking pot?