For reasons unbeknownst to ordinary people of ordinary sense, the GOP leadership has been incredibly slow to distance itself from the bizarre crop of corrupt, criminal, and otherwise tarnished persons who have come to public attention in the past several years. Tom DeLay came inexcusably close to overturning the Rostenkowski Rule upon his indictment; Mark Foley transgressions were known by several members of the House GOP leadership before his scandal broke; and as has been mentioned in this space, David Vitter will apparently suffer no long-term repercussions within the Senate for his solicitation of prostitutes. In an amazing display of incompetence, former Speaker Dennis Hastert even tied himself to the cause of corrupt Democratic Congressman William Jefferson, when the latter found himself the target of a well-deserved FBI raid. These were the major reasons for the Republican defeat in 2006, and they will doubtless be major factors in 2008 -- hypocrisy may be the tribute that vice pays to virtue, but given the choice, the voters will pick the party that does not practice it.
All this is prelude to saying: that Larry Craig is being stripped of his Senate leadership posts is good news indeed. It's taken them a long while and a bad election -- but the lumbering party apparatus may be learning.