by Erin Alecto
Yes, Billy, this is Larry Craig calling. You can reach me on my cell. Arlen Specter is now willing to come out in my defense, arguing that it appears by all that he knows that I have been railroaded and all that.
Unfortunately for Larry, he had dialed a wrong number, and this voice mail, sent moments before his press conference on Saturday, and a day before Arlen Spector publicly told Craig to withdraw his resignation, ended up at The Idaho Statesman and soon after, all over the internet. The "Billy" here is most likely Craig's high-profile lawyer, Billy Martin, whose previous clients include Michael Vick, Monica Lewinski and Chandra Levy, among others.
Crisis management expert Eric Dezenhall, author of “Damage Control,” said Martin was an obvious choice for Craig. ... “Hiring someone of [Martin’s] reputation is meant not only to accomplish a legal objective,” said Dezenhall, “but to send a political message — that there’s going to be a fight.”
That's for sure - but it could be with his own party. Only yesterday, Republican leaders were sweeping Craig out the back door, moving to replace the disgraced senator on committees, and denouncing him in droves publicly, only to find out he'd intended to fight all along. On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell said "We will have a new senator from Idaho at some point in the next month or so, and we are going to move on," then was forced Wednesday to say, "If he is able to get he case favorably disposed of in Minneapolis it would be his intention to come back to the Senate, to deal with the ethics committee case that he knows he will have, and to try to finish his term." Greg Sargent thinks there may have been a deal between Craig and McConnell, that allows Craig to fight as long as he doesn't run for reelection, but who cares? It's obvious that we are not "going to move on," and that's good news for Democrats, according to Howard Fineman:
...the effort to oust Craig is as unseemly as the behavior of which he stood accused by the Minneapolis police. The moment news of his arrest and guilty plea broke, the GOP establishment went almost literally crazy, as presidential candidates fell all over each other to denounce him and distance themselves from a reliable conservative who had been in Congress for a quarter of a century.
They overreacted, and worse, they'll now have to show solidarity and find a way to back out of the ethics charges they filed, though the committee isn't budging so far. It won't be pretty, at least not for the GOP, who will soon be facing the next war funding battle amid the undeniably negative reports being released this week, as well as the outrage from the evangelicals who want Craig drawn and quartered. If popcorn hadn't just been outed as poison, I'd be popping gallons of it right now. Supporters of Craig are calling for a boycott of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport.