What Does the Craig Scandal Mean for Crist's VP Hopes?
Soon to be retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig will disappear into the dustbin of history. He was a nonentity as a Senator and is only notable for his (sort of) coming out. Though he still denies being a homosexual, I doubt that many people still believe he was doing anything other than cruising for gay sex in that Minneapolis bathroom.
Though the scandal is unlikely to cost the GOP that Senate seat, it has been an unwelcome distraction and a reminder of past hypocrisies (and present ones - I'm talking to you, Sen. Vitter!).
What does Craig have to do with Florida, though?
Gov. Charlie Crist has often been mentioned here in Florida as a potential vice presidential candidate. He brings a lot to the table - improved access to Florida campaign dollars and almost a guarantee of bringing in Florida's electoral votes.
But, in the post-Craig world, would a GOP presidential nominee risk adding to his ticket a man who, like Craig, has failed to dispel rumors about his sexuality?
At this point, even marrying would be unlikely to quash the rumors and quell a presidential nominee's fears - after all, Craig was married (he married a former staffer not long after the rumors first emerged).
Before Craig's scandal, Crist's bachelorhood and unsubstantiated rumors in the background were nothing more than background radiation drowned out by his popularity and so-called "post-partisan" politics. Now, an Idaho Senator's scandal suddenly makes even the rumor seem too dangerous to risk.
No, 2008 has suddenly become too early for Crist, who will have to wait until 2012 or 2016 before his name is seriously talked about by presidential candidates as potential vice president. It is unfair and has nothing to do with his political acumen (though his fumbling of our taxes and budget call that into question) and very likely has nothing to do with reality.
But we live in the post-Craig world now.