There was a poignant moment before Senator Larry Craig started to speak this morning, when he turned away from the cameras and all the people, the crowd of two or three hundred, and by himself paused to look out from the Boise Depot down the hill toward the Statehouse, and seemed lost in thought. What was he thinking?
This is where he came out of, and this was where the last of his support - personal support at least - was. It seemed to have cycled around: This was where it began, and where it ended. Here, he was not entirely alone. His family was there, as he turned to the cameras and announced his resignation at the end of this month. And Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, Representative Bill Sali, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and others. (Those officials probably merit a kudo for showing up; they showed some intestinal fortitude in standing with a friend, something a lot of other public officials didn't do. Craig's remark: "For any public official to be standing with Larry Craig at this moment is a humbling experience.")
When he said he would quit, the words drew some applause (which seems tacky), but also some cries of "We love you, Larry!" As he leaves office, under immense and powerful pressure more nationally than locally, he may become a more sympathetic figure in Idaho over time. Idaho's anti-Washington feeling may be expanded; it was Washington more than Idaho that led to this.
There was no surprise this morning, and nothing especially new. Craig made reference to pursuing his legal options - presumably meaning trying to overturn his Minneapolis guilty plea - but there's almost no way that will go anywhere.
NEXT UP The appointment. No indication of when word on that will come.