Tag Archives: Cynthia Hampton

Is Clinton Sex Scandal Worse Than Ensign’s?

I guess it depends on who you ask. Sen. John Ensign, who loudly demanded Bill Clinton’s impeachment back in ’98, told a luncheon audience the other day that what the former president did was worse than his own sexual impropriety. Why, you may ask? Because Clinton lied about it under oath.

04MONICA
Bill Clinton hugs Monica Lewinsky

For those of you who may have forgotten, John Ensign had to admit having an affair with former campaign aide Cynthia Hampton. Hampton’s husband was Ensign’s administrative assistant, and the two families were friends. I guess the accent should be on were. Ensign says the difference between calling on Clinton to resign and not resigning himself is, quoting here, “I haven’t done anything legally wrong.”

This is a most interesting set of circumstances to contemplate. Why would a politician compare his sex scandal top another’s in the first place? There’s a good chance if he hadn’t brought it up, no one else would have. Is Ensign feeling the pressure to quit in his home state of Nevada? After all, this was his first public appearance back home since his June acknowledgment of the affair.

Maybe the apology he made to that Chamber of Commerce luncheon would be good enough. He called his straying “a distraction”. Maybe resigning from the Republican Policy Committee (did I mention he’s a Republican?) would suffice. It all comes back to the same question. Why compare his affair, which ended last year, with Bill Clinton’s, now more than 10 years old?

I guess it’s time for some truth here. Affairs among married people are universally ugly. They hurt people, intended or not. Politicians think they can get away with them, be they Bill Clinton or John Ensign. An awful lot of them don’t. Still, they do it because they can, because it makes them feel powerful. Why else mess around with a friend’s wife?

Here is what John Ensign should have told the Chamber of Commerce the other day. Obviously, he didn’t have the guts.

“I shamed myself and my family by my conduct. That conduct was my own, not to be compared to Bill Clinton or anybody else. Like Bill Clinton, I’m remaining in office to serve the people of this state, but I realize that my calls for his resignation back in 1998, in light of what I’ve done, were premature at best. There is no excuse for infidelity, and I’ll have to live with this for the rest of my life. To the people of Nevada, to my colleagues in the Senate, and most of all, to my family, I’m truly sorry.”

Not likely. But what do you think? Should Sen. John Ensign compare his sex affair to Bill Clinton’s?

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Will Straying Politicians Ever Learn? John Ensign says…Nope!

So another politician has had to admit to an extra-marital affair. This is it’s Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. He slipped out of DC Tuesday, and flew home to Vegas to fess up. Although many people might not have heard of this guy, he was considered a rising star in an increasingly barren Republican landscape.

Darlene and John Ensign
Darlene and John Ensign

No more. Having to admit an affair with a former campaign staffer who is married to one of your former legislative aides will have that effect.

What’s amazing about Ensign is that he has a long history of righteous indignation about the foibles of others. Back in 1998, then Rep. Ensign was one of the loudest voices calling on Bill Clinton to resign in the wake of the Lewinsky affair. More recently, he played a lead role in trying to force the resignation of  then- Senator Larry Craig after he got caught up in that airport bathroom sex sting. At least Ensign showed a willingness to rip folks in both parties.

However, like so many others before him, John Ensign didn’t think the morality he demanded of others applied in any way to his own conduct. It seems politicians have a blind spot whether it’s Ensign or John Edwards, or any number of others. It’s like sex is an entitlement program, to be tapped at will regardless of long term cost. Ensign is a member of the Senate GOP leadership. He’s thought to be one of his party’s leading social conservatives, someone a shattered party could build their hopes on rather than having to rely on Newt Gingrich or Dick Cheney.

Oops! And here’s the interesting part. Ensign himself wasn’t above a little self promotion as a new face on the Republican scene. Just as John Edwards thought no one would find out about his dalliances as he ran for president, Ensign must have believed his December to August romance would never see the light of day.

For an electorate that’s seen so much scandal, sexual and otherwise in recent years, there must be an air of resignation, at least in some quarters. There doesn’t appear to be any way voters can predict whether or when people they elect will violate their trust. In the case of  Senator John Ensign, it’s three long years until he’s up for reelection. It goes without saying he’s not going to resign before then. Yet this public fall from grace underscores an unchanging truth, one thast socially conservative politicians would do well to remember.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The GOP keeps placing its emphasis on faith and moral values. Then one of their own comes along and messes it all up.

Can someone please explain this to me?

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