Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo was arrested a couple of days before Christmas on driving under the influence charges. As a few details have come out, the story as grown more interesting. Crapo is a Mormon who has publicly stated that he does not drink alcohol. The public now knows that is not true.
Del Ray Patch summarized the incident involving his arrest.
Upon encountering the driver, identified as Michael Dean Crapo with an address in Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol on Crapo’s breath “which became stronger as he spoke,” according to the criminal complaint. The officer wrote that the driver exhibited slurred speech and described the driver’s eyes as “bloodshot and watery.”
“The driver indicated that he consumed several shots of vodka hours earlier and did not consume any more alcoholic beverages since,” the officer wrote in the report.
The driver failed to complete several sobriety tests. He was then offered and agreed to take a preliminary breath test. The breath test showed the driver had a blood alcohol content level of 0.11. The legal limit in Virginia is 0.08.
The Idaho Stateman said that Crapo’s actions were worse than former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig’s toe tapping in a bathroom stall because Crapo could have killed himself or someone else. That’s true. It is also true that he should be given a second chance and not driven from the Senate. However, no one should have delusions that this was the first time Crapo took a drink.
Crapo has worn his Mormon religion publicly, but that is no surprise in Idaho with its strong Mormon presence. He has also publicly stated that he does not drink alcohol.
Is that a whopper of a lie that he should disqualify him from the Senate? Nope. That is between him, his god and his constituents.
This isn’t the same level of hypocrisy as social conservative public officials who decry the immorality of gays only later to be caught in bed with a member of the same sex. Although Crapo is stridently anti-gay, he has not advocated a return to prohibition. He even pushed legislation to cut taxes on small brewers, citing his pro-business philosophy on that. He promised to celebrate by drinking root beer.
While there are a lot of issues that Crapo could be more tolerate of involving other people’s lifestyles, this particular issue is not one of them. We need more Congressmembers who aren’t trying to impose their personal values on others. Crapo can learn from this and apply it to other issues. However, that is not likely.
The initial report that Crapo had a blood alcohol level of .11, which is slightly above the legal limit of .08, could have resulted from someone unfamiliar with alcohol drinking a bit too much and not understanding his capacity to operate a vehicle. Nevertheless, it is now clear that alcohol is not quite the unfamiliar substance that Crapo wants the public to believe it is to him. The police report revealed one particularly striking statement. The report stated that Crapo “consumed several shots of vodka hours earlier.”
First of all, drinking shots of vodka is something expected in a college dorm, not from a Mormon Senator. This isn’t the behavior of a first time or even occasional drinker. This is some hardcore drinking. Crapo also had the sense to realize that he needed to stop drinking for a few hours so he could be sober. That sounds like someone who has had the experience of downing a few glasses over time. If he waited a few hours before driving, then his alcohol level was much higher than .11 when he was imbibing. This isn’t trying a glass of wine, beer or even a mixed drink on a special occasion. This sounds like a pounding the counter and demanding another one type of splurge.
That means Crapo does have some explaining to do. He can’t ride on his clean-cut image anymore. In a way that is comforting. The dangerous elected officials are those who think they are infallible or morally superior and try to impose legislation on how others should live. Crapo has an opportunity to show that he is not one of those legislators now.
Crapo isn’t going to experience an epiphany and suddenly change his positions on gay rights and marijuana. Yet if he can become just a bit more moderate on some personal lifestyles issues, that would be noteworthy. Let’s not forget that he is from one of the most conservative states in the country. Many of his constituents do want to impose their values on others. Maybe, just maybe, this will make Crapo a little less likely to do the same.
The alternative is to have someone else become senator. From the political makeup in Idaho, there is the likelihood of someone a lot worse than Crapo representing Idaho in the U.S. Senate.