My gut tells me that Idaho's senior senator Larry Craig really is gay, no matter what he says. I felt sorry for him today as his old friends on the GOP side of the Senate aisle deserted him in droves. But nobody wants to be associated with a gay man with the Republican primaries just months away.
Yes--Craig's story now doesn't wash, and he should have owned up to what happened in that airport restroom much earlier. But his desperation to cover this up is very telling, and quite sad.
When New Jersey's former governor Jim McGreevey came out three years ago, he had the advantage of doing so in a state with liberal views of homosexuality. Craig has no such safe haven, in either his state or his party. Part of the GOP success strategy in 2004 was to demonize gays, by stoking fears of gay marriages taking place at a City Hall near you. To survive as a mountain-state conservative in such a climate, Craig had to suppress much of himself.
That's my sense of it, anyway. But let's say Craig is telling the truth, and that he pled guilty to disorderly conduct in order to avoid a journalistic witch-hunt. The fact that the mere possibility of his homosexuality caused such contortions proves the larger point. Family values have sharp edges.