In a Christmas day opinion piece, The Idaho Statesman editorial board gave Senator Mike Crapo a gift- an “all is forgiven” free pass for his DUI. The editorial is an example of easy rationalizations and faulty logic. There is no point in asking that Crapo somehow pay for his “mistake”. After all, he is human and, this is the holiday season, and he had a lot on his mind with the “fiscal cliff” problem and all, and, of course, he has always been a good guy…
Idaho constituents have learned a few things about Sen. Mike Crapo over the past couple of days. He has shown three things: That he is human, that he can make a mistake and that lemonade is not the strongest drink in his glass. At the moment, he also has something more on his mind than the fiscal cliff.
What happened to Mike Crapo in the early morning of Dec. 23 can happen to a lot of people, especially during the holiday season. He attended a social gathering in Alexandria, Va., had a few drinks and drove home. Maybe he didn’t realize he had too much to drink when he left the social event.
But running a red light got the attention of the police, and failing the sobriety tests clearly showed that Crapo had no business driving. He spent a few hours in jail to go along with his personal shame, but it could have been worse.
Crapo had “no business driving”, but he spent a few hours in jail. That, and the personal shame he feels, is punishment enough for the Statesman.
How did the members of the Editorial Board know that it was just an honest mistake on Senator Crapo’s part and he didn’t realize he had had too much to drink?
Some of us here have known Crapo since his days as an up-and-coming state senator from Idaho Falls in the 1980s. We followed his rise to Senate president pro-tem, and his 20-year congressional career. He has maintained a reputation of integrity and decency, which doesn’t always happen after so many years in high political office.
One mistake does not erase an otherwise honorable career. It’s a good guess that the embarrassment anybody might feel for him is nothing compared with the embarrassment he feels for himself. It’s bad enough that Crapo has to explain himself to his wife and family. It’s worse when he has to explain himself to 1.6 million constituents, many of whom have viewed Crapo as an example of what American politics should be about.