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The Craig scandal

August 31, 2007

Re "Our (not so) private Idahos," Opinion, Aug. 30

David Ehrenstein makes an admirable attempt to be bipartisan in his comments on gay scandals in politics. But he's skewing the record with political correctness when he describes the 1964 Walter Jenkins incident that could have embarrassed LBJ and then says, "the GOP chose not to exploit the incident."

In fact, as described in "A Glorious Disaster," J. William Middendorf II's account of the 1964 Goldwater presidential campaign, the GOP was all for exploiting the incident, going so far as to test-market slogans tying LBJ to Jenkins. Only Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), who happened to serve in the same Air Force Reserve unit as Jenkins, stopped the GOP from treating this as it does every other gay-related issue.

Brian Nelson

Woodland Hills

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Perhaps nothing can save the career of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) after this incident, but I think he might have come out looking far better if he had said: "I'm not going to discuss my sexual inclinations, but I will tell you this, I know what Idaho wants, and I vote accordingly. To those who call this hypocrisy, I say it is no more so than my fellow Republicans who say they are against abortion but that they will follow the law of the land. I will take my knocks for this embarrassing incident but will not betray Idaho where it counts -- in Washington."

Instead, he comes off sounding like a kid who says the dog ate his homework.

Frederick Cleveland

Los Angeles

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President Bush calls the Democrats the party of "cut and run." Well, it seems that the Republicans and their conservative, evangelical Christian base are doing their fair share of cutting and running in an attempt to distance themselves from the controversy surrounding Craig's bizarre behavior. This is not the first time that the GOP has had to cut its losses. A little less than a year ago, there was a sex scandal involving congressional pages and Rep. Mark Foley of Florida.

It seems that a growing number of members from the party of family values, and their religiously conservative base, are distancing themselves from this latest embarrassment, much like a herd of horses stampeding out of a burning barn. Well, I guess it's like that saying: To err is human, but to forgive is not company policy.

Robert Randle

Tacoma, Wash.

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The real crime here is the religious fanatics and their criminalization of people's sexuality. Leave Craig and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and all the others alone. Honor our Constitution above religion and place loyalty to nation ahead of loyalty to party.

Paul Malykont

Los Osos, Calif.

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