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The Ensign conundrum, and why the GOP is silent

June 22, 2009


There’s too many people that paint with a broad brush that we’re all corrupt, we’re all amoral. … And having these kinds of things happen, whether it’s a Republican or Democratic senator — we certainly have had plenty of Democratic scandals in the past — we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard. I wouldn’t put myself hopefully in that kind of position, but if I was in a position like that, that’s what I would do.  He’s going to have to answer that for himself…

That was Senator John Ensign in 2007, referring to Senator Larry Craig’s conduct after his arrest for allegedly soliciting sex in an airport restroom.  The statement above is rife with hypocrisy, given the recent events in the senator’s life.  Politics is unforgiving.  It is a morass of landmines, and complicated ethical mind-games.  It’s especially treacherous when you try to legislate morality from a morally bankrupt perch as senator Ensign was/is doing.

I don’t believe that a person’s private life has anything to do with the job that he or she performs.  Our privacy should not be subjected to the consumption of others.  Herein lies the problem with republicans and some democrats, who continually take the moral high-ground on issues affecting Americans and their lives.   Ensign’s condemnation of others who had been in similar situations was beyond the pale.  His entire platform is based upon his faith, and his moral equivalency.  How then, does he not strongly consider resigning his position, when he argued vehemently for others to do the same?

I think we are dealing with a very serious problem here. With what we know and what we already knew, to me, the honorable thing to do would be to resign.

During the height of the scandal surrounding Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, the Nevada Republican denounced the president’s conduct as an embarrassing moment for the country.

I think we have to feel very sad for the American people and Hillary and Chelsea, he said.

Weeks later, Ensign would call on Clinton to resign. I came to that conclusion recently, and frankly it’s because of what he put his whole Cabinet through and what he has put the country through, he was quoted saying at the time. He has no credibility left, he added…..

Sounds like a man that is emboldened by his own convictions.  So, why not apply that white-hot lamp of judgement to yourself?

Republicans have been very quiet on this subject.  You don’t seem to find many of them talking about the affair.  I’d imagine that they would just assume ignore it, hoping that it fades into the ether like so many other nasty Washington scandals.  The problem however is that Ensign is still there, as a reminder of adultery past and present.  Some senate colleagues have offered words of support, such as Senator Lindsay Graham, (R-S.C.):

I think he will be welcomed back by his colleagues and go back to being a good senator, said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said Ensign shouldn’t have resigned his leadership spot.Graham downplayed the political impact this would have on the GOP, saying, Most Americans look at this as a personal situation.Graham let out a laugh and said:  I’ve got plenty of sins that I’m not going to share with anyone else…

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