"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Craig: Next?

So, what was just a couple of days ago rumor, innuendo and speculation, has become hard fact at least as far as politics are concerned: Idaho Senator Larry Craig’s arrest and guilty plea in Minneapolis have begun to saturate both national and Idaho media. It has become inextricably attached to Craig, and that prompts the question: What now? Does this mean he he won’t run for re-election next year? (He has said that such issues won’t affect that decision; but such an assertion is easier to make in advance.) Might it even mean his resignation from the Senate, as it already has his resignation from a top position in the Mitt Romney presidential campaign?

Craig gave no immediate answers. But the speculation is well underway.

We’ve already suggested the reportage makes unlikely a run at re-election. Resignation seems iffier, but it’s not out of the question, and talk about it has gained steam in recent hours. At the Daily Kos site, mcjoan (who hails from Idaho) writes that “My gut says he’s going to resign; his being gay wasn’t a problem for the Idaho GOP just as long as they didn’t “really know” he was gay and didn’t have to think about it. Now that it’s been exposed, and it’s all over the local news according to my sources in Idaho (well, ok, according to mcmom), the pressure is mostly certainly going to be on him.”

Of course, that’s from someone opposed to Craig. But conservative blogger Adam Graham, a philosophical ally of Craig, wrote this: “Senator Larry Craig’s guilty plea in June of this year to a charge of lewd conduct should lead to the end of his Senate career. The honorable thing for Larry Craig to do is to resign. . . . Senator Craig’s explanation that this was all a “misunderstanding” doesn’t wash. Nor does his explanation of his guilty plea as something he did to resolve the issue expeditiously jibe. No innocent man in his right mind would plead guilty to a loaded charge like “lewd conduct” much less a man with 27 years in Congress. If Senator Craig is lying, he has a serious problem, if he is telling the truth, then he lacks the basic good judgment to be in the United States Senator. Either way, it’s time for him to go.” Graham’s not the only conservative to say so, either.

If Craig did resign, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter would appoint a replacement. An early-early thought on that: Don’t look to the upper ranks of elected officials for his choice. But let’s hang on a bit; Craig may pause to test the waters, check for reaction. What reaction he gets around Idaho may help determine his next moves.

ALSO Conservative writer Hugh Hewitt on Craig: “I don’t believe him. Read the statement by the arresting officer. He must think the people of Idaho are idiots. But even if I did believe him, this would make his judgment too flawed to be in the United States Senate in a time of war. He has to go.”

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