Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John Ensign Clings To His Senate Seat


Following in the footsteps of other Republican hypocrites who swore on stacks of Bibles they were innocent and as pure as the driven snow, Nevada philanderer John Ensign, his political career a smoldering wreck, addressed his GOP colleagues at their weekly lunch today. While President Obama talked with normal Americans about a wide variety of issues Republican senators aren't interested in-- financial regulations, peace in the Middle East, health care reform, etc-- the Republicans were forced to relive their collective embarrassment for harboring so many sex-obsessed hypocrites, from David Diapers Vitter (R-LA) and Larry Craig (R-ID) to John Ensign (R-NV).

A Republican Senate aide told Roll Call that Ensign isn't toxic yet, although as more information comes seeping out it looks like there were illegal payoffs being made and taxes not paid and purposeful misuse of campaign donations. Speaking about the Republican Conference-- the chairmanship of which Ensign has resigned-- he said, “they all feel a certain degree of sympathy for his situation... It’s not like the Conference is at a stage where they just don’t want the guy there-- yet." None of the senators, except Senator Hannity, have called on Ensign to resign-- the way Ensign did when Larry Craig was arrested in a public toilet trying to have sex with a handsome young policeman-- and his Lordship Bob Corker (R-TN), who refused to meet with Judge Sonia Sotomayor because her broken leg caused her to be 10 minutes late-- said Republicans have had no discussions about trying to get him to resign. “I have heard no discussions... Nothing but support,” Corker said. (Still, in the crucial vote that the Nevada tourism industry was pushing-- and that Ensign co-sponsored-- only one other Republican voted with Ensign and the Democrats, Mel Martinez. The rest abandoned Ensign to the anger of his home state's most important industry. It is a tragic consequence of Ensign's misbehavior.)
Other Republicans privately said Ensign could have handled the situation better, saying they would have preferred he not announce the affair at a press conference 30 minutes before local news outlets went on the air, engage in a war of words with the Hamptons and return to Washington less than a week after the scandal broke. “You could definitely say” the handling of the scandal has been more frustrating for GOP Senators than the affair itself, a second Republican aide said.

...At one point, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Ensign’s housemate in Washington, D.C., motioned for Ensign to follow him, and the two sat at couple of desks on the floor and appeared to engage in a private conversation. The discussion appeared friendly, although it lasted for about five minutes and involved more than Coburn welcoming Ensign back after a week away from the Senate.

It is widely believed that Coburn was trying to get his story straight so that he and Ensign wouldn't contradict each other about the nights Ensign hung the red tie on the doorknob. For his luncheon apology, Ensign made brief remarks, took no questions and was greeted by a round of applause. Mel Martinez said he sounded "sincere." Meanwhile, according to Time Magazine's most connected reporter, Karen Tumulty, one of the slimiest GOP consultants, Alex Castellanos, remarked that if South Carolina missing Governor Mark Sanford really "was camping, he's going to have to explain where he was setting his tent pole." Others claim that "hiking the Appalachian trail" is a Republican euphemism for "I have a wide stance."

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At 6:17 PM, Anonymous Balakirev said...

I hope Ensign doesn't resign. I think that's a good thing. The more people like that keep twisting in the wind around the GOP banner, the more deadwood has a chance of getting knocked out of the House. And the more likely for GOP branding as the "party of hypocrisy."

Not that the Dems don't have quite a few hypocrites, both in the House and the Senate. Blanche, Ben...my personal favorite, Harry the Paper Tiger...but the Dems never made the mistake of claiming to be all about Family Values. So let Ensign keep his seat! Let's not urge his retirement. He's a walking, talking advertisement for his opponents.

So cling to your job, Ensign! Show them you've got grit! You may be just as John Randolph described Henry Clay--a dead mackerel on the moonlight, shining and stinking--but we all *need* you!

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Inside Edition unearthed a photo of BOTH 'happy couple' in palmier days: the "girls'" 20th Highschool Reunion.

I was struck how much like sisters they look.


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