In the movie The Usual Suspects there’s a scene where a detective is interrogating an alleged criminal.
The detective says to the suspect, “The first thing I learned on the job, know what it was? How to spot a murderer. Let’s say you arrest three guys for the same killing. Put them all in jail overnight. The next morning, whoever is sleeping is your man. If you’re guilty, you know you’re caught, you get some rest – let your guard down, you follow?”
When Larry Craig’s “difficulties” came out recently, it reminded me of that scene.
For a while, this story was all the media was reporting on. Larry Craig, senator from Idaho, was arrested after an officer investigating lewd conduct was tapped on the foot, allegedly, apparently, by Mr. Craig.
On August 8th, he pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed, with one year probation.
Craig’s spokesman said it was a “misunderstanding”.
A misunderstanding. And yet, he pled guilty.
Craig later said, “I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”
This is where I see incongruity with Mr. Craig:
1. Innocent people don’t plead guilty. Innocent people put up a fight if they are wrongly accused.
2. He didn’t call an attorney. This is always the first thing one does – whether guilty or innocent – when dealing with law enforcement. What’s the “quickest and most expeditious” way to handle a legal matter? Get some representation. Attorneys are like dentists… we don’t really want to deal with them until we REALLY need them, but still… this is a “really need them” situation.
3. When Craig said, “I am not gay – nor have I ever been gay,” it implies that he believes it’s possible to have once been gay and then to become ungay.
Lastly, but maybe the most incongruous of all:
4. He didn’t immediately tell his wife! Now, if I were arrested for something as preposterous as this, I’d go straight home to my wife and tell her, “Listen to what happened to me today. You’re not going to believe this.”
Then Senator Craig decided that the media was to blame.
It’s all because of the Idaho Statesman. They’ve been “relentlessly and viciously” harassing him.
The media is easily vilified and a safe scapegoat, but here with his “history” it doesn’t ring true.
Here’s where persuasion comes in. If you were in the Senator’s shoes, how could this story be framed?
Did his incongruity give him away? And what can he do to unframe himself?