Craig, Fischer and The New Yorker

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In this week's edition of The New Yorker, "Talk of the Town" contributor Hendrik Hertzberg joins thousands of pundits, politicians and barflies nationwide in offering commentary on the Larry Craig debacle. Idaho's senior senator and his misadventures in a Minneapolis airport bathroom stall make for a sort of convenient foreground in "Offenses," which ultimately addresses the existence of a societal framework that forces men like Craig into such behavior. In Hertzberg's summation of the Republican party's emphatic vilification of Craig, one of Idaho's more colorful conservative zealots, Idaho Values Alliance's Bryan Fischer, makes an appearance and, unfortunately for Idaho, is quoted more amply than anyone else.

Hertzberg uses Fischer to illustrate that Craig is not alone in being skewered and left for dead by his partymates, and Fischer's paragraph-long comment certainly lends itself readily to that purpose, calling for, as Hertzberg writes, "a precinct-by-precinct campaign of erotic cleansing." For Idahoans who know from which side of the conservative fence (a metaphor Fischer uses himself regarding where the GOP should not be on homosexual issues) Fischer proselytizes—the radically conservative side—seeing his comments in national press creates an immediate cringe. Once again, thanks to Fischer, Idaho comes off looking like exactly the kind of place it is often stereotyped as: a haven for a bunch o' redneck, neo-conservative racists who've hog-tied gay rights in the name of family values and are preparing to burn them at the political stake along with conservation efforts and pro-choice "agendas" (the IVA is currently holding a 40-day prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood to pray that medical staff has a "change of heart for providing abortion services to women).

So the next time your friends who don't reside in the Gem State inquire skeptically for a good reason you live in Idaho, just remember, you have Bryan Fischer to thank for the question.