The Gay Penalty
Lost in much of the Larry Craig bathroom follies coverage has been the blatant double standard practiced by the GOP. The GOP leadership has stripped Larry Craig of his committee assignments and has pushed him to resign, based on his misdemeanor crime.
On the other hand, the GOP has allowed David Vitter to retain all his committee assignments and has not pushed him to resign. They have taken this relaxed stance, even though Vitter has essentially admitted to criminal behavior (sex with a prostitute).
Now some of this difference could simply be politics. Louisiana, home to Vitter, has a Democratic Governor, so the GOP would lose a seat if Vitter resigned. Idaho has a Republican Governor, so there is no problem for the GOP if Craig quit the Senate.
But the vehement reactions of the GOP leadership regarding Craig intimates something deeper - a loathing of homosexuality. Ruth Marcus nails it in her column this morning.
Now there is the furious swiftness of the GOP's response to Craig. Senate Republican leaders have called for an ethics committee investigation and stripped Craig of his committee assignments; presidential candidate Mitt Romney couldn't boot Craig as his Idaho chairman fast enough. Would the reaction have been nearly so fierce if homosexuality wasn't involved?.
When Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter's phone number turned up on the accused D.C. madam's call list and he acknowledged a "very serious sin" in his past, there was hardly a peep from the GOP leadership. Craig pleaded guilty to a crime, and Vitter wasn't charged, but lawmakers' squeamishness with gay sex, I suspect, played a big role in the differing treatment