Heard on the Hill: We’re Really Going to Miss You, Larry Craig

Posted December 11, 2008 at 2:25pm

In a Congress that included a guy who stashed $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer and another whose bust for drunken driving ultimately uncovered a double life — complete with a secret love child — Sen. Larry Craig still remained HOH’s favorite column topic.

[IMGCAP(1)]What put the Idaho Republican head and shoulders (and tapping wingtip-clad feet) above such stiff competition was his unwillingness to go quietly into that good night, despite having been arrested for trying to solicit sex in a men’s room in the Minneapolis airport and subsequently announcing he wouldn’t seek re- election.

No, not our Larry, he of the Singing Senators and the jaunty seersucker suit.

Craig continued to make floor speeches, issue press releases and act as if nothing had happened, all of which caused Hill observers with stuck-in-middle-school senses of humor (HOH included) to read double entendres into every word he uttered. And as the senior Senator from Idaho takes a bow on his Senate career, we thought it only right to take a fond look back at our favorite Larry Craig moments of 2008.

Farewell, Sen. Craig — and remember, as Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca,” we’ll always have Minneapolis.

The Craig Anthology. Craig’s scandal rendered so many of his unrelated statements snicker-worthy, meaning that they of course wound up in HOH and on YouTube. We combed the archives for a few of our favorites:

• “They have now penetrated all of Idaho. They are literally in our backyards.”
— Craig, on the Senate floor on July 30 talking about why he’s hungry for wolf population-reduction measures.

• “An avid, aggressive pro-driller.”
— Craig, describing himself and his (wide?) stance on energy issues during a July 23 hearing.

• “I did not agree with the stimulus package we debated a month ago. I did not agree with borrowing $150 billion and standing on street corners and handing out $500 bills.”
— Craig speaking on April 2 on the Senate floor, and describing one reason one might want to frequent street corners.

• “It is hereby ordered that respondent’s motion to accept an enlarged brief is denied as moot.”
— A Minnesota state court’s February dismissal of a petition by Craig to add onto an earlier filing.

• “We won’t let the Venezuelas, or the Nigerias, or the Saudi Arabias or the Irans lead us around by the gas nozzle the way they are doing it now.”
— On the Senate floor on July 17, expressing his displeasure at having his nozzle messed with.

• “Ted’s got an airport. That’s neat.”
— Craig, on Nov. 20, showing his fondness for airports — and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) — in a farewell speech to Stevens on the Senate floor.

Aside from the unintentionally hilarious quotes, there were the unintentionally hilarious moments:

• Craig was looking for a few young men (or women) in a different kind of solicitation than the one that landed him in legal trouble: His office on Feb. 26 released a notice that it was seeking interns to work in Craig’s Washington and district offices.

Craig’s spokesman said at the time that the scandal hadn’t affected the internship program. The search for interns was “standard operating procedure,” he said.

And you know what they say about internships — there’s no better way to get one’s foot in the door …

• And airports continued to be a touchy subject for Craig. The Idaho Senator was nowhere to be found while the Senate on May 6 was debating and voting on a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

Craig was back in Idaho for the opening of a uranium-enrichment plant, his spokeswoman told HOH at the time. Still, one Democratic strategist posited an alternate theory. “I wonder if he’s still sensitive when it comes to airport issues?” the Dem pondered.

• Some lucky folks will have more than memories of Craig. In June, a “bobble-foot” doll depicting Craig was all the rage on eBay.

The dolls were originally passed out as a promotion at a May 25 baseball game of the minor league St. Paul Saints. The team gave away 2,500 of the plastic dolls — which didn’t specifically reference Craig but rather feature a pair of dress-shoe-clad feet protruding from a bathroom stall.

HOH hopes that this compendium of 2008 Craig’s greatest hits explains why, long after he’s left our loopy Beltway, we’ll still always be wild about Larry.

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