MaxPersuasion


The Incongruent Larry Craig

By Framing, Lie Detection 11 Comments

Hi Persuader,

In the movie The Usual Suspects there’s a scene where a detective is interrogating an alleged criminal.

The detective says, “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?”

This struck a chord in me about a current event. In the news (you could have hardly avoided it) is the strange story of Senator Larry Craig.

In case you’ve been out of the country (or in case you don’t live the the U.S.), the Republican Senator from Idaho was arrested on June 11th at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer. The officer was investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom.

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”.

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 expiditiously.”

Here’s where the incongruity comes in:

1. An innocent man doesn’t plead guilty. An innocent man puts up a huge fight, doesn’t get any sleep, rages about his innocence. (This is not to say that guilty people don’t also use this same tactic.)

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. By saying, “I have never been gay – nor have I ever been gay,” he believes that it is possible to be gay, say six months ago, then become ungay, say last week. This points towards a “waffling” and cover up.

And last, but perhaps the most incongruous action of all:

4. He didn’t go home and tell his wife about the incident. If something as outrageous as this happened to any one of us and had absolutely no basis in truth, wouldn’t we all go home to our spouses (or families or friends) and say, “You’re not going to believe what happened to me today. It’s the most absurd thing…”

Senator Craig has come up with a scapegoat in the form of “the media”.

He claims that he pled guilty because he had been troubled by the investigations into his alleged homosexuality by the Idaho Statesman and claims that he has “been relentlessly and viciously harassed”.

The media is easily vilified and a safe scapegoat, but here with his “history” it doesn’t ring true.

As persuaders, how, in either situation – whether the allegations are absolutely false or absolutely true – could we frame the story if we were in his shoes?

Did his incongruity give him away?

And what can he do to unframe himself?

Until Next Time,

Kenrick E. Cleveland




11 Comments

  1. Ann Clark
    August 30th, 2007

    I love how you have reframed this story for me from a story about a stupid politician who has publicly announced his stupidity (and more) to the world….to make it a personal reframing learning experience.

    Or, from another grunt and groan about politicians lying and their stupidity….to a personal learning and growth situation.

    What a coach!!!! Another door opener.

  2. August 30th, 2007

    Now I love the article, however there are a few presuppositions that I found. The most blaring of them is:

    1. An innocent man doesn’t plead guilty. An innocent man puts up a huge fight, doesn’t get any sleep, rages about his innocence. (This is not to say that guilty people don’t also use this same tactic.)

    It immediately brought to mind the infamous “Central Park Jogger” case and the “confessions” of the young men originally tried and convicted of the crime. They originally “confessed” to the brutal crime committed on Tricia Meili.

    Well it was later found that the “confessions” were not true and that another person entirely was guilty of the crime. DNA and other evidence later proved that to be absolutely true.

    Now those original young men had been out that night doing things they should not have been doing so they were guilty in some respect just not of that crime.

    So I do hold that it is possible for a person to actually “confess” or admit “guilt” to something they did not do. There is enough case law in this country that would allow us all to agree to that statement.

    Great article in so many other ways and the overall premise is sound. The bottom line is if your actions don’t match up with your behavior don’t match up with your words…then tag you’re incongruent.

  3. Dennis R. Marvin
    August 30th, 2007

    “He doth protest too much”!!
    The politician from Idaho needs a coach. I thought it was pretty clear he was trying mislead anyone who would listen.
    My other thought was, if he is not “gay” why did he need to say it twice-with such emphasis?

  4. Jack Ford
    August 30th, 2007

    Hi Kenrick,

    I agree with your take on LC’s misteps 100%.

    Right now, he should do damage control and change people’s focus– get them to focus on what’s more important to them as it relates to his office/position. That is, he needs to minimize the damage his stupidity has created and change the focus to all the good things(?) he’s done so far for the people of his state, and even more importantly what he can DO for them in the future. I don’t know the details of his situation, but I believe this is quite doable.

    What do you think? How would you frame it? Heck, I believe he’d better hire you to help him get out of this mess!

    Warmly,
    Jack

  5. August 30th, 2007

    I’m so fascinated by the foot signals… one tap for a coupling, two for a blow job, three, the British are coming…wow… And his explosive denials of gayness…that ought to make him the Grand Mizmo in the Gay Pride Banner Day Parade…….what a wonderful world, indeed.. (come out, come out, wherever you are!) xxx Julie

  6. August 30th, 2007

    [quote comment="136"]I’m so fascinated by the foot signals… one tap for a coupling, two for a blow job, three, the British are coming…wow… And his explosive denials of gayness…that ought to make him the Grand Mizmo in the Gay Pride Banner Day Parade…….what a wonderful world, indeed.. (come out, come out, wherever you are!) xxx Julie[/quote]

    Ha Ha – I found the foot tapping to be really funny too, Julie. And I love your take on it. :-).

    Maybe there will be a resurgence of Amature Radio operators learning Morse Code to communicate more adventurous requests. LOL

  7. August 30th, 2007

    [quote comment="130"]“He doth protest too much”!!
    The politician from Idaho needs a coach. I thought it was pretty clear he was trying mislead anyone who would listen.
    My other thought was, if he is not “gay” why did he need to say it twice-with such emphasis?[/quote]

    “I’m going to say it again – I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    Will their BS ever stop?

  8. August 30th, 2007

    [quote comment="132"]Hi Kenrick,

    I agree with your take on LC’s misteps 100%.

    Right now, he should do damage control and change people’s focus– get them to focus on what’s more important to them as it relates to his office/position. That is, he needs to minimize the damage his stupidity has created and change the focus to all the good things(?) he’s done so far for the people of his state, and even more importantly what he can DO for them in the future. I don’t know the details of his situation, but I believe this is quite doable.

    What do you think? How would you frame it? Heck, I believe he’d better hire you to help him get out of this mess!

    Warmly,
    Jack[/quote]

    Jack – unfortunately, his efforts now may be too little, too late. If he wanted to make some headway, he should begin talking about who he is, not who or what he isn’t. You are right on in your assessment.

    I saw a representative from Idaho say that “he underestimated the people of Idaho. They don’t care about his orientation, they care to hear the truth.” She is absolutely correct.

    His problem is that once he stood against “immorality” and for “family values”, then signaled for a sex with the now infamous foot taps, he painted himself into a corner. If he admits he made a mistake, he admits he does not have the morals he said he had. If he doesn’t admit a mistake, everyone sees he is lying. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    I believe we’ll see a resignation soon or at least he’ll be completely discredited and lose all positions he holds now. He will be gone soon.

    The question is… was a hand job (or whatever he was going for) worth his career?

  9. August 30th, 2007

    [quote comment="129"]… So I do hold that it is possible for a person to actually “confess” or admit “guilt” to something they did not do. There is enough case law in this country that would allow us all to agree to that statement.

    Great article in so many other ways and the overall premise is sound. The bottom line is if your actions don’t match up with your behavior don’t match up with your words…then tag you’re incongruent.[/quote]

    Great points Rodney. Thanks for bringing that up.

  10. August 31st, 2007

    Can he unframe himself? He could have if he’d thought quickly enough: I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was shaking a cramp out of my leg; I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was taking my mind off my constipation; I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was trying to get my pants on.

    The problem is, he admitted he tapped his foot, and that he placed his foot under the cubicle to touch the officer’s foot. So that pretty much wrecks that particular reframe.

    I think he’s going to have to reframe his whole life if he’s to resurrect any sense of self-respect or public respect. The man is either gay or bisexual and what he could do is to admit that, admit that the reason he resorted to toilet sex is that he, like most non-heterosexual people have been intimidated into repression of their identity and into unhealthy sexual expression, and begin to lobby and fight for decent treatment for that significant section of our society.

    Honesty and integrity – now that’s a hell of a reframe.

  11. September 1st, 2007

    [quote comment="162"]Can he unframe himself? He could have if he’d thought quickly enough: I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was shaking a cramp out of my leg; I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was taking my mind off my constipation; I wasn’t tapping my foot at you, I was trying to get my pants on.

    The problem is, he admitted he tapped his foot, and that he placed his foot under the cubicle to touch the officer’s foot. So that pretty much wrecks that particular reframe.

    I think he’s going to have to reframe his whole life if he’s to resurrect any sense of self-respect or public respect. The man is either gay or bisexual and what he could do is to admit that, admit that the reason he resorted to toilet sex is that he, like most non-heterosexual people have been intimidated into repression of their identity and into unhealthy sexual expression, and begin to lobby and fight for decent treatment for that significant section of our society.

    Honesty and integrity – now that’s a hell of a reframe.[/quote]

    Christine,

    I love the one about taking his mind off his constipation. Now we just have to explain away (aka reframe) the hand gestures that followed. LOL

    Yes, honesty and integrity – what a political reframe.

    There is a lot he could have done. Now, as I predicted, it cost him all he had worked for. And in the end, all it would have taken is some humility along with sincerity and honesty.

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