The muse has struck Larry Craig, who says he will write a book after leaving the Senate.
But which book?
In an election-night interview with KIVI TV, Craig said he would commit his experiences of the past year to paper. By telling his story, Craig says he will give readers a glimpse into a dysfunctional Congress. Click here for the story.
A few weeks earlier, though, Craig told the Power County Press in Eastern Idaho that he was planning to write a book about the nation's energy policy. Click here for the clip.
That's our Craig. Always changing his mind about something. Reading these accounts at face value, and sensing Craig is suffering from some creative tensions, let me offer unsolicited but serious advice.
Do yourself a favor, senator. And us all. Write about energy. Please.
Elected officials who have spent 28 years in office — and who are concerned about what awaits us in the next 28 years and beyond — write books about topics such as energy policy. They lend their perspective for the debates to follow. By discussing issues that are relevant, they make themselves relevant. And to the extent that Larry Craig can do anything to change his legacy, his legacy is probably better served by writing about energy issues.
I doubt I'd agree with everything Craig has to say — although a Craig white paper on energy would probably argue persuasively for a second generation of nuclear power, which makes sense to me. Even with $4-a-gallon gasoline, Craig might be pressed to generate a lot of sales for a book about energy. He could work out a promo to give away some of those Bobblefoot action figures with every book purchase, but let's hope it doesn't come to that.
But a tell-all book about Craig's fall from favor and run-in with the law? Oh, I'm sure it'd sell, even though many people wouldn't want to be seen buying or reading it. By sheer magnetic force of voyeurism, we'd read — even if we'd rather borrow the book from the library or a co-worker.
And we'd learn, what exactly? That Congress is a dysfunctional family? I already figured that out. That Craig has seemingly a limitless capacity for playing the role of victim? Got it already.
See, Craig can't have it both ways.
Since August, Craig has blamed his problems on anybody and everybody. On an overly aggressive airport police sting that, he said, bordered on profiling. On fellow politicians who were quick to sever their ties with him. And, of course, on the media, especially the Statesman. Through his conduct and his stubborn insistence to ride out his term, Craig seems to want to act like his arrest is a mere distraction that takes attention away from his job in the Senate.
But nobody is forcing Craig to contemplate writing a book about his problems. He is dwelling on the event of the past year, entirely of his own accord. And when Craig discloses that he has a book in mind — on the same night when, ironically enough, his fellow Idaho Republicans nominated Lt. Gov. Jim Risch to run for Craig's Senate job — he keeps on bringing up the past.
I don't need a whole book to tell me that Larry Craig thinks he's been done wrong. I've already heard the story. And frankly, it's getting a little old.