Wednesday, 4:10 pm
Senate Republican leaders released a statement a few minutes ago in which they announced that Sen. Larry Craig (R-Id) had agreed to step down from his committee assignments pending ethics committee consideration of his guilty plea to disorderly conduct in the now-infamous mens’ room lewd conduct incident.
Craig apparently plans to return when the Senate reconvenes next week after the August recess. But calls for his resignation are rising. Just today Sens. John McCain (R-Az) and Norm Coleman (R-Mn) as well as Cong. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mi) called for Craig to step down.
The Republican leaders’ action is puzzling. If they were to learn anything from the Mark Foley scandal which cost them dearly in the 2006 election, they should have learned that prompt action is the only means of dealing with this sort of scandal. Kicking the can down the road to the Ethics Committee – not known for rapid action on anything – only allows the bleeding to continue.
Congressional Republicans have a lot to do before the year ends. Why would they want the Larry Craig mess to continue, absorbing the political energy that would be better spent on defeating the Democrats plans and pursuing a positive conservative agenda?
Just think about this: Chris Dodd (D-Ct) was just on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, saying that “all the facts” need to be in before he reaches a conclusion on Craig. Dodd is a smart pol. He – and the rest of the Dems – want to keep the Republican blood flowing while they go about their liberal business. Are they smarter than the Republicans?