The movie ‘The Usual Suspects’ has a great interrogation scene.
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 the whole Larry Craig fiasco came out, I thought back to 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.
Craig pled guilty to a misdemeanor on August 8th after paying $500 in fines.
And later, when it came to light, a spokesperson for Craig said it was a big “misunderstanding”.
Huh? A misunderstanding. But he pled guilty. Why would he do that?
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. Mr. Craig didn’t call for his attorney. The first thing anyone does–guilty and innocent–is call an attorney. The quickest and most expeditious way to handle a legal problem is to get represented.
3. Craig said, “I am not gay – nor have I ever been gay.” This sounds like he believes it is possible to have been gay and then become ungay. It’s waffling.
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 usually an excellent villain because they do get so much wrong, so it’s a pretty safe bet as far as scapegoats go. Unfortunately, Mr. Craig has a “history” and his anger doesn’t seem very righteous.
Now look at this situation in terms of persuasion: Whether the allegations are true or false, how would you have framed the story under these circumstances?
Did his incongruity give him away? And what can he do to unframe himself?