Tag Archives: Larry Craig

Sex & Lies. Can a Scorned Husband Bring Down a US Senator?

In the television series “The Good Wife”, a woman has to deal with her politically powerful husband going to jail for sexual impropriety. But what happens when in real life the shoe is on the other foot?

Some of you may remember the tawdry affair involving Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign and his dalliance with a staffer. Well, the staffer’s husband in on the warpath, apparently in an effort to shame him into resigning.

Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign
Darlene Ensign and Senator John Ensign

Doug Hampton has been interviewed by, among others, the New York Times and ABC’s “Nightline”, and he shows no sign on slowing down. I’m not sure you can blame him. His wife Cindy carried on the affair with Ensign despite the fact that they were family friends. Both worked for him, even as he was a member of “The Promise Keepers”, that group of ultra-religious conservative men who purport tolive more pious lives than the rest of us.

Hampton alleges that Ensign may have engaged in illegal conduct in paying his wife $25,000 in severance after the affair ended. If that money wasn’t properly reported to the Federal Election Commission, Ensign could face a felony charge. Beyond that, it must be downright embarrassing to have this guy dogging your every move.

It also creates a bit of a problem for the Republican Party. Five months after the Ensign affair was exposed, the GOP thought the whole thing was pretty much done with. They’ve since trained their sights on deposing Ensign’s Democratic counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It looks like they think if they don’t say anything about Ensign, the whole thing will just blow over.

Some will argue Doug Hampton’s crusade is nothing ore than that of a cuckolded husband getting even. After all, he and Cindy (or is it Cynthia?) remain married, as do Ensign and his wife. However, John Ensign was the guy who led the charge after fellow Republican Larry Craig was caught up in that bathroom sex sting. Craig stuck around as well.

Funny, you don’t hear the same chest thumping about John Ensign that you hear about Charles Rangel. Like Rangel, Ensign is being investigated by his body’s ethics committee. Almost no one is demanding he step down from the Finance or Homeland Security committees. In fact, the only person making a fuss is Doug Hampton. The question now is whether the Republicans’ wall of silence will make his quest a moot point.

What do you think? Will Doug Hampton, husband scorned, have any impact on the career of Sen. john Ensign? You tell me.

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Why is Mark Sanford Still Talking? Why is He Still in Office?

The bizarro governor of South Carolina seems incapable of shutting his yap. During the past week or so, this guy has admitted he lied to his staff about an Appalachian Trail hike, when instead he was visiting his mistress in Argentina.

Since then, he’s said, among other things, that his wife knew about the affair, that he asked her permission to visit the woman, that she was his soul mate, that he’d messed around with other women but hadn’t had sex with them. Let’s see, did I leave anything out?

US-BUSH-SANFORD-FUNDRAISER

Sanford, you may remember, was full of righteous indignation about the sexual foibles of Bill Clinton. He’s also the fool who didn’t want to take stimulus money even though his state’s education system badly needed it.

The people of South Carolina must suffer fools gladly. So must Sanford’s wife Jenny and their four kids. Talk about public embarrassment!

But this isn’t really about that. It’s more about a sitting governor being addle brained enough to drop looking after the business of the people of his state to follow his heart (or another part of his anatomy) all the way to South America. Is it any wonder he’s refused to release financial records that might show whether he used taxpayer funds to hang out with this woman in the past?

Equally as hilarious is the notion that Mark Sanford can somehow redeem his marriage by staying on as governor.

Jenny sanford

If there’s a connection between these things, it escapes me. It also escapes a growing chorus of voices in his home state that are calling on him to resign. Those who support him are telling the press he’s tired, but showing no signs of instability. Is that what it takes to govern  an American state in the 21st century? No sign of instability?

The amazing thing about the litany of serial political adulterers is that party affiliation has little to do with whether they stray. Democrats do it just like Republicans. Liberals, conservatives, religious zealots, it just doesn’t matter. I think I know why they do it, but I won’t share it here, lest I be called sexist or worse.

However, there is this to ponder. Very few women in politics get caught up in the foolishness that’s nailed the likes of Eliot Spitzer, John Ensign, Larry Craig, David Vitter, Bill Clinton, Mark Foley, and yes, I’ve left some out.

Why is that? Yes, there are fewer female elected officials, but are they better at not getting caught? Are they smarter? Or perhaps, are they just not drunk enough with power to think any member of the opposite sex they fancy is fair game?

Whatever. The central question is, Can Mark Sanford survive the calls for his political head? I’m guessing no, not too much longer.

What do you think?

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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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