But high ranking Republicans have learned from past mistakes. They are bailing pretty quick on Craig. Of course, they have a valid process point. Whether Craig pled guilty out of panic and to avoid a scandal when he really had no intent to solicit or not, Craig failed to report his misdemeanor guilty plea in a timely fashion to the relevant Senate ethics authority. Nor did he alert his party leadership, who do not like surprises.
So Craig now finds himself without the shelter of party discipline. This is where all the accumulated nastiness comes out of the woodwork, as "unnamed sources" and "long-time Senate staffers" start sharing the juicy rumors and whispers with reporters on the hunt.
I expect Craig will finish out his term. The crime to which he plead guilty is relatively minor and hardly makes him unfit for office. But I also expect he will not run for reelection (a move he ws already considering). I also expect the next few days to bring out all manner of nasty allegations about other trysts and secret vices (hint: NEVER have your scandal during the "dog days" of summer; you want lots of news crowiding it out).
But the Republican leadership learned at least one thing from last year's never ending parade of scandals: cut your losses early. I keep hoping they will learn some broader lessons, but so far they appear stuck on the old Calvin and Hobbs stand by:
Hobbs: Well, I hoped you learned a valuable lesson from all this.
Calvin: Snow goons are bad news.
Hobbs: It would be nicce if you tried to learn lessons a little more applicable to the rest of your life.
Calvin: Live and don't learn, that's us!