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Larry Craig's Bonfire

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's determination to clear his name brings to mind the humbled protagonist of Tom Wolfe's Gotham epic about 1980s greed, "The Bonfire of the Vanities."

Wolfe closes with Sherman McCoy, his denuded anti-hero, appearing in a crowded appeals court, a world away from the media glare that engulfed his initial arrest for killing a poor, black teen in an unreported traffic accident. McCoy fights on even after he’s been stripped of his wealth, his status and his good name.

In his resignation announcement Saturday, the three-term Republican senator similarly pledged to clear his name after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after his arrest in June in an undercover police sting operation in a men's room at the Minneapolis airport. He had denied wrongdoing before pleading guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid the news of his arrest leaking out, given the persistent rumors that he is gay.

Over the weekend, Craig retained noted Washington defense attorney Billy Martin, who’s now defending Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick against dog fighting charges. Martin also represented Monica Lewinsky in the most notable sex scandal to rock Washington in, say, the last century or two.

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