GOP Talking Point 083107:

"Compassionate Conservatism"

"Levity and ridicule are inevitable. So, too, is political disintegration. But pity and compassion seem a more fitting response than outrage — for Craig, his wife and his family. There has been precious little of that, and more than a whiff of intolerance and double standards. Led by GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and John McCain, politicians who hours earlier had been colleagues and political allies raced to denounce Craig, their haste in direct proportion to their zeal for higher office.

Senate Republican leaders quickly demanded an investigation, forced Craig to give up his committee seats and turned their backs on him. Contrast this with the reaction when Sen. David Vitter, R-La., admitted he had solicited sex from female prostitutes. Vitter kept his committee seats, and his colleagues reportedly applauded him when he entered a GOP meeting after his disclosure.

True, Craig's actions were a profound embarrassment that fall under the catchall Senate ethics rule that makes it a violation to engage in "improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate." And he left himself open to charges of hypocrisy with his record of strident opposition to gay-rights causes.

The calls for his prompt resignation, however, are premature and probably irrelevant. If Craig decides to quit on his own accord, so be it. If the Senate decides to punish him, let it await the ethics committee report. And if he tries to extend his political career, let the voters of Idaho determine his fate."

USA Today editorial 083107

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