(Slate) - Everybody had a good laugh last August when Roll Call broke the story about Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, getting arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for playing footsies in a toilet stall. The late-night talk show hosts mined the material for days; Slate produced a re-enactment of the bathroom ballet; and newspapers, magazines, and cable channels shredded Craig.
The angle taken by most reporters and commentators wasn't that Craig's restroom conduct was particularly shameful. The press doesn't object to same-sex sex at all, nor should it. Craig's true offense, said the press and the clowns, was hypocrisy, which they consider an inexcusable crime. Craig had supported both federal and Idaho bans on same-sex marriage, had opposed hate crime legislation that would extend protections to gays, and had earned a perfect 0 rating (PDF) from the Human Rights Campaign, a gay lobby. And he had denied and denied any and all gayness while trying to recruit some action in a bathroom!
Although the Craig story and the John Edwards story, currently unfolding thanks to the National Enquirer, aren't directly analogous, they have a bit in common. Edwards, too, may be a sex hypocrite. The tabloid called Edwards a cheater last October and the father of a love child in December, and last night the Enquirer posted a story about Edwards' visit to his alleged mistress and child at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night.