Noting the reaction of a gay activist group to the arrest of Idaho senator Larry Craig, Clayton Cramer criticizes this statement from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:

“There is sad irony that a United States senator from Idaho has been caught up in the same kind of thing that destroyed the lives of dozens of men in Boise in the 1950s, so tragically chronicled in “Boys of Boise.”
“And by the way, why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?”

I don’t defend sex in public places, and I think it’s appalling that anyone would.
However, the facts are that Craig was not arrested for actually engaging in either public sex or indecent exposure, but for public foot-tapping:

“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”
Craig was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes.
“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. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. 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.

Whether this constituted an attempt to engage in public sex would, if the case went to trial, be a question for a jury. I think that under these facts, Craig could probably have beaten the charges, because of the reasonable doubt standard and the burden of proof in criminal cases. It certainly would appear to most reasonable observers, though, that there was an intent to solicit sex of some sort. Whether the sex would have occurred there in public, who knows? I don’t know exactly what the Minnesota criminal code prohibits, but solicitation to have sex is a different matter from actual sex.
This has renewed speculation over whether Craig is gay, and of course whether he is a hypocrite, and various bloggers are calling for his resignation. (Pajamas Media links Captain Ed and Hugh Hewitt.)
If the man is gay, I wonder what’s up with his apparent resort to a public restroom. Would that be what turns him on? Or might it be grounded in an inability to acknowledge that he’s gay? I mean, there are plenty of gay bars, personal ads, and ordinary cruising in the street. Why the furtive nature of the men’s room?
In another post, Cramer compares Craig to New Jersey Governor McGreevey, who covered up his homosexuality until he became embroiled in a serious corruption scandal, which he managed to obscure by using his public “coming out” as a coverup.
In Craig’s case (assuming the speculation is accurate) the coverup seems to be built into the furtive nature of the alleged sex.
Unlike McGreevey’s sordid matter, there’s no financial scandal, and I’m seeing nothing by way of an actual sexual “affair,” although the Idaho Statesman interviewed a man who claims to have had sex with Craig in another restroom:

In an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he’d never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man. The Craig interview was the culmination of a Statesman investigation that began after a blogger accused Craig of homosexual sex in October. Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.
The most serious finding by the Statesman was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials. The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington’s Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also spoke with a man who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig “cruised” him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.

The problem with this is that anyone can say that anyone had sex with anyone. If someone claimed to have had a three-way with Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich in the mid-1990s, would anyone believe it? Probably not, but if it’s said it about Craig, they might. What is the standard of proof where it comes to sexual rumors?
From a political standpoint, the most telling aspect of this latest incident is that Craig copped a plea. It makes his denial lack credibility, and in short, he appears dishonest.
Dishonesty in an elected official ought to be of more concern to the voters than the particular details of whatever turns him on.
Of course, in the case of Bill Clinton, the dishonesty was said to have been subsumed within the sex scandal. At the time, I thought the dishonesty was worse than the sex, but it would appear that millions of people disagreed. And still disagree.
Maybe Craig should have offered the officer a cigar.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse disapproves of the public sex aspect of Craig’s behavior, but thinks the abuse of power aspect is worse:

Worst of all, to my mind, is the proffering of the business card and the “What do you think about that?”

She also notes that Glenn Greenwald sees this as an occasion to attack her and (of course) Glenn Reynolds, who is accused of “hysterical outrage.”
What I think is a hysterical outrage is Greenwald’s apparent inability to distinguish between an unverified allegation and a guilty plea.
MORE: Glenn Reynolds asks, “what is it with these guys?” (meaning Republicans in sex scandals) and follows up with a later question:

…either they’re more likely to do that stuff, or more likely to get caught in ways that become public. Which is it?

I don’t know, but we live in a country which considers assault and battery a more serious crime than foot-tapping in a restroom. Which it is.
Or is it?
Is Republican foot tapping worse than Democratic assault and battery?
I honestly don’t know. The crime of assault and battery is certainly more serious than the crime of foot-tapping, even when the latter is a furtive sexual come-on. But the law and morality — especially political morality — may be at odds here. It is not my desire to play name the party games, but I thought that maybe a bipartisan bathroom versus battery poll was called for.

Which crime is worse?
Assault and battery
furtively soliciting sex in a restroom
both are equally wrong
  
pollcode.com free polls

Now I’ll add a political dimension:

Which crime is worse in terms of political consequences?
Assault and battery by a Democrat
furtive solicitation of sex in a restroom by a Republican
no difference
  
pollcode.com free polls

UPDATE: Senator Craig made a public statement in this video (the text of which appears at his website), in which he says he is not gay, and apologizes for pleading guilty — “to make it go away”:

“In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of making it go away. I did not seek any counsel, either from an attorney, staff, friends, or family. That was a mistake, and I deeply regret it.”

Go figure.
Whether he did it or not, whether he’s gay or not, pleading guilty is hardly the best way to cover something up (“make it go away”).
I am a champion of privacy, but like it or not, there are political realities involved here, and this man is a public figure. What in the world was he smoking?
I think that no matter what happened, at a minimum, the Senator’s judgment is erratic.
UPDATE: Clayton Cramer (who links this post, thanks!) argues that CNN is overdoing it in terms of coverage.
It’s called a media feeding frenzy.
In this video, CBS’s “Chris and Jeff” are even reenacting what happened.
cbstap.JPG
Tell me they aren’t loving it!
MORE: Joining in the fun, Drudge posts a picture of the cop next to Craig:
copcraig.JPG
I can’t help thinking that had Craig been a Democrat,* people wouldn’t be having as much fun. But the rule is, bleeding Republicans expect no quarter from the Democrats, nor do they get any from their colleagues. (They’ll even join in the bloodsport.)
So welcome to the arena!
* I suppose he could switch parties, and really add to the drama. (The Democrats would probably welcome him with open arms, because they’re nice and tolerant, while the Red State Republicans beat homos to death with tire irons! It was in the movie, wasn’t it?)
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post, and a warm welcome to all!
It occurs to me that it might not be fun to be sitting on a toilet and have an undercover police officer enter the stall next door. I have some thoughts on that unsettling subject here, along with a more detailed examination of the law.
And DON’T MISS Varifrank’s humorous and insightful analysis (with which I agree).