Here’s What’s More Troubling Than Sex Scandals

Oh, that conservative radio hosts were half as embarrassed and repulsed by greedy deeds of GOPers in congress who are under federal investigation for gaming the system and using taxpayer money for personal financial gain as they are today are by the pathetic sexual dalliances of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) who pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from an undercover officer in an airport bathroom.

Those who defended Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) for phoning the madam of a D.C. prostitution ring will be quick to call for Craig’s resignation.  Public denunciations will grow louder as the story, and salacious details of homosexual acts in public places, unfold.

A close-knit brotherhood of Washington senators who’ve served with Craig over the past decade will express shock at these recently published revelations.

The story of Larry Craig is all so cliché: Idaho, GOP, anti-gay marriage, ten grandchildren. Already, I’m bored with it.

I don’t doubt Craig is guilty of soliciting sex from an undercover officer in an airport bathroom. I don’t disagree he should resign, or at the very least not bother running for reelection. But I’m not as troubled by his story as I am by other, much greater, allegations of public mistrust. Namely, Alaska’s Sen. Ted Stevens (R), the four Republican members of congress in California who remain under federal investigation and others (my goodness, I can’t keep track of all the names these days) who are currently under federal investigation for misusing the power of public office.

As I have said before, the first Republican presidential candidate who comes out forcefully and states that the GOP must clean house, that our message must match our actions, that there is no place in public office for men and women who aren’t devoted to upholding the greatness of America will win wide support from the grassroots.

One need not be self-righteous in rallying members of the Republican Party to a cause greater than themselves or in reinforcing principles that once had meaning to voters (accountability, responsibility and integrity come to mind). Most of all, it’s not about sex — who’s having it, where and with whom. It’s about serving one’s country with impeccability — or at least striving for impeccability and accepting responsibility when falling short.

I fear that Sen. Craig’s story is just so juicy to both Republicans and Democrats (and most of all, the media) that the bigger picture gets lost. And that is, the GOP desperately needs leadership. In the existing vacuum, conservative talk radio will fill the void as happened with the debate over illegal immigration this summer. Radio personalities did a fine job of pointing out how out of touch Washington is with real America. But talk radio is not enough. The Republican Party needs a single leader to provide vision, direction, admonition and encouragement. There is none today.

So it goes that this week’s political debate will focus on a 62-year-old married man in the men’s room trying to get a quickie with a stranger. Meanwhile, the Grand Old Party is circling the drain.