Politics & Policy

Culture of Corruption

Looking beyond "courageous" Craig assessments.

So, Larry Craig is gone. He solicited sex without actually soliciting sex or having sex. He pled guilty, but not to lewd behavior — to disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor). He is said to have a secret life involving same sex partners, but where are all these partners? According to one report, a guy in college believes Craig hit on him in 1967. Another says he “believes” he performed oral sex on the senator in a restroom at Union Station. He’s not 100-percent sure. If Craig has been living this secret life since 1967, you’d think others would come forward at some point. Maybe they will. So far, they haven’t. Indeed, where is all the evidence of Craig’s seedy life? Where are the photos, the video, the audio, the solid witnesses, and the rest of the evidence? And if the case against Craig in that airport restroom was so compelling, if it was so sleazy, if authorities wanted to send a message to others, why didn’t prosecutors take Craig to trial? Why let him go with a disorderly conduct misdemeanor? Were they doing him a favor? I don’t think so. They conducted a sting operation without any sting. Let me suggest not only couldn’t they make a gross misdemeanor charge stick, they would have lost the disorderly conduct charge, too. Read the statute. But the law is an ass, as they say. This is an issue of morality.

The truth is I don’t know Larry Craig. And it’s possible he is everything some say he is. But they say it without facts. Is that moral? When the news of Craig’s bathroom encounter first broke, I thought Craig must have been involved in a Pee Wee Herman moment — or something. But he didn’t even touch himself, let alone the officer in any sexually overt way. He didn’t expose himself. Hell, he was in a bathroom stall. And neither he nor the officer exchanged a single word about having sex. In fact, Craig never said a word. In the end, what we have here is a shoe touch … or was it a tap? That, along with his hand on the divider between the stalls and something or other was, we are told, code for soliciting sex. It seems to me that the officer should have taken the sting operation at least one more step, no? Wasn’t he a little premature in flashing his badge when he did?

Let’s be honest. I have no idea who Larry Craig is beyond his senatorial record, and neither do any of his outspoken critics. Even if he lives a secret life, we know nothing of it. It remains secret, if it exists.

Today some Republicans pat themselves on the back for their “courageous” stand against liberal charges of hypocrisy as they were early in their denunciation of Craig. Now, these would be the same liberals who show routinely their hypocrisy embracing Bill Clinton (accused of rape), Barney Frank (accused of allowing his home to be used for male prostitution), and the late Gerry Studds (who had sex repeatedly with a seventeen-year-old page). These Republicans fear the “culture of corruption” label the liberals have assigned them and aren’t quite sure how to respond to it. Mostly, they refuse to fire back by highlighting the numerous examples of demonstrable sleaze involving William Jefferson (alleged bribe), Alan Mollohan (alleged self-dealing), John Murtha (earmarks related to his brother), Dianne Feinstein (her husband profiting from military contracts), Hillary Clinton (Norman Hsu, et al), and, of course, the aforementioned Clinton, Frank, and Studds examples.

There is indeed a culture of corruption, and it extends well beyond any single politician. It swirls around big government. It always has and it always will. It has become institutionalized in many ways. And that culture of corruption celebrates clever word games used by unelected judges to exercise power they don’t have as they rewrite the Constitution; it demeans people of faith who speak out against the culture of corruption and for — dare I say — family values; it undermines and seeks to demoralize Americans in uniform as they fight a horrible enemy on the battlefield; it demonizes entrepreneurs and successful enterprises; it uses race, age, religion, gender, and whatever works to balkanize Americans; and so on. This is the real culture of corruption. Let’s call it what it is — modern liberalism. And its impact on our society is far worse than the disorderly-conduct misdemeanor to which Larry Craig pled guilty and for which he has now resigned.

  – Mark R. Levin, a former Reagan-administration Department of Justice aide, is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation and nationally syndicated radio-talk-show host.


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