John Ensign continues to show us his true colors. First, of course, there was the tawdry affair with a married staffer and the transparent attempt to buy off the staffer and her husband by a "gift" of almost $100,000 through Ensign's parents. Not to mention the attempt to get the husband a lobbying position even though the man was also on Ensign's staff, and therefore not allowed to be a lobbyist for at least a year after he left his post.
Now, according to a story in the Reno Gazette-Journal, Ensign has announced that he won't resign his post because that might make it more likely that Harry Reid will be re-elected. The logic here seems a bit twisted, but what is clear is that, despite Ensign's sanctimonious avowals of "family values" and his supposed evangelistic Christianity (and his membership in and residence with "The Family), where his values really lie is someplace much more profane than sacred. He is, and I mean this to carry all the cynical connotations I can load onto it, a politician, first, last, and foremost.
He's also a hypocrite. As I've noted before Ensign (along with the redoubtable Mark Sanford, was among the loudest voices calling for President Clinton's resignation after the Monica Lewinsky affair became public – yet now, having been outed about something at least equally egregious, if not more so (Lewinsky was, at least, single) somehow political considerations trump his supposed moral values and he won't resign. I guess in Ensign's mind a liberal (Reid) is worse to have in office than a hypocrite.
I wonder what his excuse for not resigning will be after Reid is re-elected. I guess he figures that it will all have blown over by then, but I wouldn't count on it. I really think that the country is getting wise to these manipulations when politicians espouse family values, anti-gay, anti-choice positions while carrying on in their private lives in ways that directly contradict their public stance.
Again, I don't mean to paint everyone who takes a socially conservative position with the same brush, nor do I believe that everyone who holds strong religious beliefs is a hypocrite. There does seem to me to be a strong relationship between how loudly those views are trumpeted in public and the discovery that the trumpeter protests too much. I know an awful lot of deeply religious people – Jews, Christians of all stripes, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and people who would describe themselves as spiritual rather than religious – who do their best to live within their values and to clean up any damage they do when they fall short. They also tend to hold those beliefs rather quietly, and they never try to impose their values on others, no matter how sad it makes them to see people living in a way that they believe is wrong.
Then there are those, again not restricted to one religious persuasion, who feel they must let everyone know what they believe and why others should believe as they do. Those are the ones who are, in my experience, most likely to turn out to have feet of clay.
I've said it before and, Senator, you can bet I'll keep saying it until you're out of office. Ensign should resign and get out of public life. He has proven by his behavior that he is unfit to hold a public trust.