June 24, 2009

Hopeful Implosions

The bright stars in the Republican firmament, the ones with their sights on a run for president in 2012, are going supernova all over the place. Most notably in the recent news are Senator Ensign and Governor Sanford.

Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada was a pillar of virtue in the GOP. At least, he preached virtue. Back in the 1990's, Ensign insisted that President Clinton resign because of his infidelities. How times have changed!

At the beginning of June, Ensign made a speech in Sioux City, Iowa (a Republican Stronghold). Presidential candidates are often made or broken in Iowa. A local radio spot touted Ensign as "a rising star in the conservative movement."

Before a couple of weeks had gone by, Ensign was admitting to the nation that he'd had an affair with a former staffer of his. The story is a bit more complicated than that, of course. There's a question of other wrongdoing in the case: possible extortion and whether Ensign used his influence to get the staffer's husband a job.

And, gee, it looks like Fox News has dirty fingers in this story as well. Ensign's mistress' angry husband wrote a letter and an email to Fox News for help in outing Ensign and saving his marriage. After the man claims to have sent these communications, Ensign suddenly confessed. The initial story on why he confessed was that he knew a major news outlet had gotten hold of the story. Oddly, that was later retracted. And Fox is denying it even got the letter, and that it ignored the email. Seems like quite a series of coincidences. Fox denies tipping off Ensign, but i have a hard time believing their story.

Ensign must have a guardian angel close by, because not a week after his story broke, the Republican governor of Georgia South Carolina (apparently, I had Georgia on my mind) went missing.

Governor Sanford's wife said he was away writing over the Father's Day weekend. His staffers claimed he was out walking the Appalachian Trail. Neither of those stories were true, it turns out. What was he really doing on Fatner's Day? Hanging out with his mistress. In Argentina.

Sanford is... er, make that was chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. Fox wasn't involved in covering up his scandal, but they are hoping that you think he's a Democrat.

Republicans everywhere are really hoping that this Iran story explodes soon. Before the rest of their party does.

Posted by James at June 24, 2009 4:48 PM
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As a Democrat it pains me to say that I don't think the infidelities should be held against these men. However, Sanford's strange disappearance was rightly attacked by members of his own party as dereliction of duty, and Ensign's actions seem a little shady. Still, I've started to realize that calling these men "hypocrites" for preaching family values while being fallible human beings is like attacking the new tobacco regulations because Obama still smokes cigarettes.

Posted by: David Grenier at June 25, 2009 10:16 AM

Sanford did more than preach family values. He voted for Clinton's impeachment. He was alllll about marital fidelity in those days.

Of course he's fallible. We're all fallible. However, Sanford and his pals were happy to use Clinton's fallibility against him. I think it's fair for the public to judge Sanford by the standards he publicly espoused.

I don't care if Sanford or any other politician cheats on his or her spouse, tries to have gay sex in an airport bathroom, or uses prostitutes. But if the same politician crusaded against cheating, gay sex, or prostitution to boost his image with voters, then I call hypocrite. It doesn't pain me in the least.

Posted by: Julie at June 25, 2009 12:01 PM

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