From Kevin's Inbox: E-mail reax to the Craig interviews

Here's what some of our letter writers had to say about Sen. Larry Craig's TV interviews:

• Jack Trotter, Twin Falls: "Senator craig paints a calm, collected reasoned approach in his TV interview and with his replies to TV questions. He did not show this composure or reasoned thought process under fire. I want a senator (read also congressman, president) who is making important decisions for me, my state and my country to take responsibility for his own actions (before he is pressured to do so), who approaches serious problems actively, not passively. Senator Craig did not adequately show these characteristics. I urge him to resign."

• Karen Chadband, Boise: "Enough already! I have never read so many mean, vitriolic letters to the editor for so many days and weeks. Senator Craig made a mistake — so, who hasn't? I listened to both Mark Johnson and Matt Lauer (Matt asking the more pointed questions) and I felt the senator faced both with sincerity. I can find no reason for him not to finish his 17 months left in the Senate. Please, all of you, no matter your political persuasion, remember all Larry Craig has done for the state of Idaho. I know him to be dedicated to all of us, to do the very best he can do. Let him do it, As I said, enough already!"

• Korey Moeller, Meridian: "I did not watch the interview nor do I have any intention of watching it.

"I don't need Selfish Senator Craig's rehearsed rationalizations for what he has done, the facts speak clearly for themselves.

"A U.S. Senator was charged with a crime and after many weeks agreed to a plea deal. I don't want to hear from a U.S. Senator in a country with all kinds of laws protecting peoples rights that he was 'intimidated' or any other such nonesense. He had prestige, power and money to seek legal counsel. He chose not to. That was his judgement call despite the resources and power he had at his disposal he CHOSE to make a deal. Why would someone with power and money decide to do that? Because like Nixon, like Clinton and like other arrogant people in positions of power they simply want the 'problem' to be swept under the rug.

"And only NOW he is concerned about his 'good name'? Where was that concern during those weeks he had to decide how to proceed? How convenient that only AFTER the news gets out he is 'concerned about clearing his name'.

"It's nothing but damage control by an arrogant man whose only interest is in himself and NOT the people he is supposed to be representing. So no I am not going to watch or listen to some damage control spinning the facts which are already quite clear.

"Selfish Senator Craig, a U.S. Senator with power, money and prestige chose to make a plea deal in order to avoid any publicity and he chose at that time to tarnish his name rather than show good judgement, ethics and integrity and clear it. HE tarnished his own name, not the arresting officer, not the Idaho Statesman, not his fellow Senators and not the people of Idaho. And now he has decided to finish shredding what little integrity he had left by staying in office after lying about leaving. He wants to stay not for the people he supposedly represents but for himself, to clear his name because he had the bad judgement before not to take the opportunity he had initially.

"He is unfit to serve as Senator. Not because of his sexual orientation which is completely irrelevant, but because his judgement, integrity and ethics make him unfit to serve. If a U.S. Senator cannot adequately represent his own interests when charged with a crime then how can he represent the interests of an entire state? He cannot. He's just another Nixon, Clinton et al who is unfit to serve and he needs to leave. Stop with the spin and the rationalizations and show the tiniest bit of integrity Selfish Senator Craig and step aside. It's what the majority of your constituents want. For once, do the right thing. The facts are clear and the facts are your judgement is poor, your desire to clear your name is rather late and you are just another self serving politician and Idaho deserves better. Please, do the right thing and step aside."

• Erik Lazdins, Boise: "The Dog Ate My Homework!

"Nothing apparently is Larry Craig's fault with this recent drama.

"Last night he blamed; The Idaho Statesman newspaper (for reporting on a politician aka their job), the poor cop who got assigned to bathroom duty, his wife suggested a conspiracy since other politicians who are their friends had trouble in that airport and the media in general of course.

"My question is simple. How can a senior U.S. senator be so freaked out by being arrested and questioned over a crime so small to where he would plead guilty if it were not true? Not tell anyone including his wife after the incident and not get legal counsel? I don't believe him.

"The good news for Idaho is that this will increase awareness to our citizens about how we have become too 'red' of a state. It will create demand for change. Real, serious and very fast change. Maybe it is time for a Democrat."

• Robert F. Johnson, Boise: "Craig is playing the media, all forms, like a puppy with a bone. The media is the puppy, and he has the bone. You are all falling all over yourselves for the least little scrap of dirt. Shame on you all.

"(He) apparently lost all his standing with not only the Republican Party, but apparently with the Senate as a whole. He has become an embarrassment not only to Idaho, but to the world in general. The late night talk shows are having a field day with all his nonsense. And again, the media is falling for it. All he is doing is playing you all for a bunch of fools, and unfortunately, I don't feel the least bit sorry for any of you.

I did not watch his interview with Channel 7, nor with Matt Lauer. I got to see plenty of both reviews on the 10 O'clock news. I seen nothing to change my mind that he should do the honorable thing and step down, immediately.

The MN Court of Appeals is not going to reverse is guilty plea, nor should they. The Senate Ethics Committee will do little if anything to him. Why?? Which one of them is going to cast the first stone. Don't think there is one of the 100 that is with out a little dirt under the carpet, and besides, any action this esteemed group might take against Craig, might come back to bite them in the butt at some later date.

"Craig is done and over with, and I'm a voting Republican, and have been all my life. I'm now 74."

• Leif Skyving, Caldwell: “The KTVB interview was nothing but softball setups for Sen. Craig to launch his ‘explanations’ in the best possible light.”

• Ann S. Barron: "If I needed any further confirmation that this situation was orchestrated bicoastally to take down one of the most powerful senators in the nation, a
supporter of President Bush, from a state that supports that same president, this was it. Even a U.S. senator is subject to the foibles of all of us, fear, embarrassment, panic. Is he guilty of soliciting homosexual sex? Absolutely not. Of poor judgment? Absolutely yes. The America I thought I lived in didn't crucify a man, his family, his career due to poor judgment in a high-stress situation. I would hope the man's service record of truth,
honesty and integrity would not be eradicated by a suspect version of the truth from an officer admittedly profiling in the hope of catching someone 'in the act.'"

• Marilyn Eldredge, Meridian: "My 16-year-old son found proof of Larry Craig being gay, who else would bend over in an airport restroom to clean up the floor of a piece of paper! I didn't expect any truth to come out of this interview and I wasn't disappointed. There are so many holes in Larry Craig's story I don't know where to begin. I can no longer call him senator because to me his actions have brought and continue to bring the great state of Idaho shame. No senator should ever treat the citizen in the state he represents so poorly. At this point Larry Craig is no longer caring about the state of Idaho he is only thinking about himself. As Jay Leno said last night the final insult is Larry Craig being elected into the Idaho Hall of Fame. I personally feel he is a shoe in to be elected into the Idaho Hall of Shame."

• Mark Boylan, Boise: "For the record I am a strong Democrat but consider myself principled and thoughtful. I do not name call nor participate in political feeding frenzies. I actually met Senator Craig once years ago and told him in person I did not believe any accusations related to the congressional page scandal.

"I just watched the Channel 7 interview and am watching the NBC interview now.

"My reaction to the KTVB interview:

"Craig has worked very hard to present a consistent message. His statements on both shows have been nearly identical and better considered than past statements. But he cannot explain away the really key issue: We elect representatives to make clear-headed decisions in the most difficult of circumstances of life and death and war and peace. Can we count on his principled judgement in those really tough situations?

"My opinion: he faced such a situation and failed. He is trying now to stand on principles he could not live up to in a circumstance where standing fast to them would have saved him.

"For example, in the KTVB interview the senator stated several times 'I never take the easy way out. I stand my ground and fight.'

"The truth is the opposite. He tried very, very hard to take the easy way out. By his own admission he tried to make the entire situation go away through a guilty plea to a lesser charge. He just said on NBC 'It sounded like an easy way out.' He has no right now to make a sanctimonious claim of being a fighter. Had he fought THEN his claims now would not sound so hollow.

"He also talks sanctimoniously now about fighting for his legal and constitutional rights by trying to reverse his guilty plea. The truth is he HAD his rights. He had the right to an attorney, which he waived. He had a right to plead innocent, which he waived. He has no room to sit piously now and fight for rights he himself gave away.

"He claims to be a man of family values. Yet when the most serious political threat in his life presented itself, he did not seek the counsel of his wife, presumably his life partner and most important confidant.

"He claims to be a man of principle. A man of principle would have fought the charges, presenting all facts to the public, acknowledging the potential for political damage, apologizing for the coming struggle, but expressing his innocence and full confidence in the legal system.

"Sadly, the truth of the events in the bathroom is not the key issue here. The ability to make good judgements in pressure situations is the issue here. That's what we want in our most senior elected officials. Senator Craig demonstrated that when the pressure is really on, he has shown he will crack. He does not have my confidence."