Today's Hot Topics: Early Primaries and Public Restrooms

Early Primaries: In the LAT, the editors say voting for president tomorrow "would be the logical extension of the states' battle to get to, or at least near, the presidential primary starting line," and argue that the Democratic National Committee's harsh response to Florida's decision to move its primary to Jan. 15 was an example of "welcome party rigor." USA Today is relieved that "finally some adult supervision is coming to the process of picking presidential nominees" and praises the national political parties for punishing states that are moving their primaries before Feb. 5. But Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) insists that the situation is "a case of fundamental rights vs. party rules" and calls for a long-term fix, "perhaps a system of rotating regional primaries."

Larry Craig: In the WaPo, an editorial calls the Republican senator from Idaho "yet another willing accomplice in the machinery of intolerance that has stunted the lives of many gay men and lesbians. Maybe even his own." Manwhile, in the LAT, David Ehrenstein is surprised that the "tearoom trade" is still so active, and says that "bathroom cruisers seem almost antique.... Larry Craig, meet Craigslist. In short, never has the admonition 'Get a room!' seemed more apropos." And in the NYT, Gail Collins says she feels "pity for the man and his unhappy family," but isn't all that interested. "If It involves men's rooms, we would really rather not hear about it."

By Nick Baumann |  August 30, 2007; 8:40 AM ET
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I think it is a legitimate gripe that two states have too much influence. But instead of moving up the primaries, why not make them all in say April or May. Spare all the voters of the overly long campagins and hold them all on the same day.

Posted by: Jack | August 30, 2007 10:34 AM

Why in this world are policemen/women cruising public restrooms to find gays/lebians. I had no idea this was still in vogue!! And why isn't the media speaking up?
The above article is the first I have read of the situation.
Thank you....

Posted by: Nancy R Parker | August 30, 2007 10:41 AM

Since I have known of Senator Craig's behavior since June, why, oh why did it take it so long to become fodder?
When a senator publically speaks out against any rights at all for gays and then behaves in this manner, doesn't that rate reporting?
Do reporters really pick and choose what they believe to be news, as I so often hear, or do they really tell us what is happening?
Oh, before the question arises, I have already sent email to Senator Craig asking him to resign.

Posted by: Jenny Murray | August 30, 2007 10:49 AM

The earlier and earlier primaries make me think of a strange hypothetical athletic contest. Imagine, if you will, the world's best one hundred meter runner pitted against the world's best 400 meter runner. If both were to run their very hardest, putting forth their maximum effort to "best the clock" to their normal race distances, but if the finish line were placed at the end of 100 meters, it is obvious who would win.
The analogy is clear. While the 100 meter runner would surely win this "contest," it says nothing about the greatness of the 400 meter runner--who may truly be the best "athlete" in the race.
Yet we (some of the state party organizations) have allowed the moving up of the primaries to have precisely the same effect. It will be that those candidates with the most money to spend very early in the "race" and the campaign organizations longer in place will sway more voters and win--the effect of which is to cull others from the real contest--which is an entire 400 meters. Some candidates need to be culled--and that is fine. But what about the better 400 meter runners--the most courageous, thoughtful and wise candidates who have not had enough money to date to sway enough voters and to capture the imagination of the voters in these early states? We may very well cull the very best "runners" for a four and perhaps eight year Presidency because of the ego of the voters of a few states makes them want to be "first." It reminds me of another sports metaphor; that is, those dolts one sees on television on college football Saturdays holding up the huge sponge fingers proclaiming their teams to be "Number One!" These early primaries have just as little logic--but can do so much more harm to the Country.

Posted by: Don Switzer | August 30, 2007 11:00 AM

What senator Larry Craig did was wrong and all the fall out from his behavior is "justified." What mystifies me, though, is that no similar fall out resulted from the nefarious behavior by senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who too, is a "hypocrite" for preaching family values fervently while concomitantly purchasing services from prostitutes. Is the reason because most senators have committed adultery and that form of behavior is more acceptable in their circles than the behavior of Mr. Craig??? It all is hypocritical and deserves equal condemnation.

Posted by: Jerry Doyle | August 30, 2007 11:00 AM

First of all the Presidential election cycle is getting to the point where they will have to start campaigning while they are taking the oath of office. We have "Super Tuesday" any way so let's have all the primaries the same day.
Secondly The republicans have lost the right to call themselves the protectors of "Family Values" Larry Craig is just the latest in a long line of republicans who say one thing and do another. Granted the democrats have had their share of missteps but the republicans seem to have perfected the art of shooting themselves in the foot. Wake up America it is time to sweep congress clean, and that means everyone in congress, and start over. Yes we will have a bunch of "Rookies" in congress but they can't do any worse then the bunch that is in there now.

Posted by: Barbara Morton | August 30, 2007 11:16 AM

Everything is political today! You have to
do your own research and get the facts from
the most reliable sources, which aren't the
media nor the politicians!! They all lie. I agree with Barbara Morton. Get rid of all of them, rookies couldn't do a worse job than the present group and may not be
so entrenched in the system to constantly
rip off voters!

Posted by: SCSOCAL | August 30, 2007 12:25 PM

I agree with Barbara Morton. For a year now, it is obvious that the new Democratic majority is an illusion and they have done nothing to stop the Bush machinery and chicanery. I have been advocating to all that will listen, exactly what Ms. Morton proposes. We need a completely fresh set of faces and ideas and, yes, ideals. Let's get rid of ALL of them, Dems and Republicans.

Posted by: Harry Ison | August 30, 2007 01:05 PM

Teddy Kennedy is making hand signals from stall one. Right next to him, in stall two, a visiting Newt Gingrich is trying to get eye contact with Teddy on a proposed security measure the Bushies are pumping for. In stall 3, Karl Rove is tapping the floor with his shoe, a secret message regarding new candidates for the Attorney General's job, the name of his own choice, Harriet Meiers, penned on a restaurant napkin that protrudes from the niche in the sole of Rove's shoe. Unaccountably, Harriet Meiers herself is in stall four. Meiers has decided that leaving her appointments to Bush Lieutenants is
foolhardy. Peeling off her spiked heel while holding onto the toilet paper dispenser for balance, she spikes Rove hard in his left Gucci loafer. The whole negotiation is thrown off balance when Rove screams in pain. Next door, totally in the closet and unobserved, a troubled Dubya pens an apprehensive note to Laura, who is one stall away at stall six in the big diaper-changing station. Laura has come along to support her husband. She has the Diaper Changer down using it as a temporary desk and is penning a few notes for a new
biography. Its name? What is wrong with these Men?

Near the Urinals, Senator Joseph Leahy is standing next to a black DC undercover cop. "How are we going to get the goods on these guys if they use up all the stalls," asks the cop? "Its a good question," says Leahy. Both men flinch when Karen Hughes bursts blatantly into the rest room, and, opens the door to Dubya's hideout in Stall Five. "Move over!" she tells the cowering President.

Outside, Condeleeza Rice continues to stand vigil.

Posted by: Mike Rice | August 30, 2007 01:10 PM

Nancy Parker's comment on August 30th seems deliberately obtuse and pro gay. Policemen have to patrol these restrooms to prevent perverse sex from taking place. A restroom is meant for the public to use to relieve themselves. They should not ever have to contend with someone having sex within the stalls. We are not animals that we should have to have sex in public. What if we had to bring a child in to a restroom. Do we wish this kind of behavior exposed to them? And I personally do not want to go into a restroom where men are having perverse sex. Men committing sodomy, or having oral sex is bad enough without exposing it to the rest of the civilized world.

Posted by: Jeffrey Winslow | August 30, 2007 01:14 PM

Wake up Ms. Morton et al....of course the next campaigns already begin before the electee is even sworn in. In my district, I received mail, immediately post-election, from both the defeated incumbent and the winning "rookie" candidate for Congress. Two year cycles are antiquated. So is the "sweep out the bums" mentality, lazy as well. Every officeholder should fall or stand on their own merits.

Posted by: Don Richardson | August 30, 2007 01:45 PM

The bottom line is Craig pleaded guilty. If he was innocent he should have fought the charges then. I am a Die-hard Republican but I say he has to go! We don't want this kind of deviant bozo in the party. If he wants to do that sort of thing he should have ran as a Democrat. They seem to celebrate that type, ie Stubbs, Frank, et.al.

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 30, 2007 02:08 PM

I truly hope that Florida stands their ground. The "party" should not be able to interfere in a states right to hold an election whenever they so choose. If the republicans are smart they will go along with the state and the Democrat party will alienate just enough of the electorate to sway the state to the republicans in the general election. Could be that was the strategy all along....... smart

Posted by: Al Gibbs | August 30, 2007 02:18 PM

Hold it there, folks: it's not politics but partisanship
that is the bane of countries all over the world.

Politics and democracy go together; to paraphrase, like horse and carriage. Think about it and you will agree. You want to be a public leader? You have to practice the art and science of politics, i.e. you have to know your followers and be known to them as one who represents their well being soberly, efficaciously, primarily. (So you have primaries/elections--for the followers to pick their leaders.) Partisanship, places--kowtows, caters, panders to) other interests between the would-be leader and his followers.

Partisanship thrives on hoodwinking the public, hence the furious inanities on the primaries America is being forced to contend with today.

So, what do the presidential contenders, firstly, say about this? Who speaks, who leads, who courageously deplores the circus atmosphere of what should be a serious, critical exercise? And that is a pretty good gauge about who among them are merely partisans and who politicians of the good kind!

(Oh, but aren't they all quiet? I am dismayed.)

Wake up, America. Please.
.

Posted by: AJUSA | August 30, 2007 02:26 PM

I think Senator Craig's lewd and disorderly conduct has received more than enough publicity. Let his constituants deal with him, preferably via the ballot box. As for law enforcement personnel actively seeking gay sexual activity in public rest rooms: I don't think so. Police officers and Vice-Squad detectives usually respond to public complaints and careless people get caught in their own derelict behaviour.

Posted by: gdl684@yahoo.com | August 30, 2007 02:31 PM

"Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folley to be wise" --Alexander Pope, 17th Century Augustan poet.

Can we get off these sexual matters and address things that actually matter such as the horrendous debt that the war in Iraq
is causing and how it is going to effect the future generations? Isn't that what statesmen should be addressing? Isn't that what we should demand of our politicians?

Posted by: Allan Dane | August 30, 2007 03:18 PM

I'm glad the police are trying to stop those who seek sexual contact in public restrooms. I do not want to have to worry about being approached in a restroom, no one should! Secondly, wether its New Hampshire or Florida it doesn't matter. I make up my own mind who I'm voting for. I for one do not want politics as it has been since Bush #1, As far as I can see (Democrat or Republican) Edwards is the best hope for a turn around in this country.

Posted by: voyager | August 30, 2007 06:40 PM

I am in 100% agreement with Mr. Allan Dane's post. As much as the Craig ordeal hits the media outlet much like a piece of meat hits the ocean waters full of great white sharks, let us not forget the primary issues facing our much troubled country, and that is the Iraq war. Not only the horrendous debt that has been incurred, but what about our boys & girls fighting this winless fight. Dubya and his cronies toss out estimates in the hundreds of billions of dollars like it's chump change. I for one could see other uses for 140 billion dollars (for one fiscal year). And when does it end?? It's painfully obvious that Iraq is on the brink of a civil war, with or without our presence. Let's bring our boys & girls home, save our cash on domestic issues that desperately need our attention, like education, SS reform & our aching healthcare system. As far as Craig is concerned: let the voters decide, people are saying?? Ha!! He'll resign long before it gets to that point. He won't have a choice.

Posted by: John Lopez | August 30, 2007 07:04 PM

To quote Mr.Craig;"He is a naughty boy,he is a naughty,dirty boy,he is a naughty,nasty dirty boy".This is the remark he made about President Clinton.I certainly think this applies more to Mr.Craig than it did to President Clinton.But then President Clinton did not claim to be a saintly "family values nut".

Posted by: cincigal74 | August 30, 2007 07:46 PM

I will be president and have more mistresses than John F. Kennedy.

Posted by: Austin | August 31, 2007 03:19 PM

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