Op-Ed piece from todays NYT.... my favorite part is where while in Washington, he stays in the "Prayer House!" Once more, you cannot make this stuff up folks!
Full story here: www.nytimes.com/2009/07/11/opinion/11colli
By GAIL COLLINS
The reason the Republicans lost so many Senate seats last November is now becoming clear. No one had any time to think about the campaign. They were too busy worrying about Senator John Ensign’s sex life.
Last month Ensign, a Nevada Republican, called a press conference to confess that he had had an affair with a former staff member. That was when we learned, to general surprise, that Ensign had been widely regarded as a possible future presidential candidate. Also, that he is currently the only veterinarian in the U.S. Senate.
Nobody paid a great deal of attention. Really, there are only so many randy Republicans we can keep track of at once. But lately, the Ensign saga has become more and more fascinating. Every social conservative in Washington seems to have been involved.
Most of the juicy details have been supplied by Doug Hampton, Ensign’s former chief of staff, who says his wife, Cindy, a bookkeeper for Ensign’s political action committees, was seduced by the senator while they were guests at the Ensign home over the Christmas holidays in 2007. Hampton, 47, gave a long TV interview in Las Vegas this week — a disjointed account of betrayal in which he concluded at one point: “All of those tentacles were birthed because John needed things to go down like this.”
It’s actually a good thing that adultery knocked Ensign out of the presidential contest because it appears that he would not be the kind of leader who surrounds himself with the best and the brightest.
The senator says the affair went on until August 2008. Doug Hampton’s version is that it lasted only a few months, followed by a long period of complicated drama in which the remorseful Cindy was pursued by the Love Veterinarian.
Ensign was, at the time, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which was supposed to be working to elect candidates in 2008. In Washington, he lived with some other conservative Christian lawmakers in a building known as the “Prayer House.” Both members of the N.R.S.C. and residents of the Prayer House were brought into the drama. Hampton, in his version of events, seems to remember Ensign’s friends as being particularly concerned with making sure that the cuckolded aide got generous compensation for his suffering.
One of Ensign’s roommates, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, was described by Hampton as being particularly vocal about the importance of cash contributions to “make these folks whole.” Coburn denies this, although he won’t say exactly what advice he gave to his erring colleague. Coburn told Roll Call that he talked to Ensign as a “physician and as an ordained deacon” and that he will therefore have the right to keep mum even if he’s dragged into court or a Senate committee hearing.
This makes me sort of hope that some kind of investigation takes place just so Coburn, who’s an obstetrician, can explain how exactly doctor-patient confidentiality figures into this.
Hampton says Ensign’s friends convinced the senator to write Cindy a good-bye letter, then bundled him off to the FedEx office to make sure it got mailed. Then, he claimed, Ensign called Cindy and said: “The letter’s coming. ‘Doug’s ratted me out. Don’t pay attention to the letter.’ ”
Let’s hope this part of the story isn’t true. I’d hate to think that a person who says things like “Doug’s ratted me out” is in the U.S. Senate. Or even giving rabies shots to beagles in Las Vegas.
We hardly need to point out that Ensign was one of the people who demanded that President Bill Clinton resign over the Lewinsky affair, that he votes against financing for education and contraception services to combat teenage pregnancy and that he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In the world of politics, hypocrisy is a hard market to corner, but lately the Republicans have been making a Microsoft-like effort to do it.
Both of the Hamptons lost their jobs, and Doug was shuttled off to a Las Vegas-based airline, run by a friend of Ensign’s, where he is now vice president of government affairs. Unappeased, he hired a lawyer to demand that Ensign make financial amends for “evil and completely unjustifiable acts by one of our country’s top leaders.” He also tried to leak the story of the affair to Fox News, apparently under the theory that out of all the media, Fox would be most excited by the opportunity to humiliate a powerful conservative Republican senator.
While Ensign refused to respond to what small and negative minds might regard as blackmail, the senator’s parents gave the Hamptons $96,000. Ensign’s father is a retired casino mogul, and the senator’s lawyer said the money was given “out of concern for the well-being of longtime family friends during a difficult time. The gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others.”
Truly, this puts a whole new spin on the term “family values.”
The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine.
~ George Washington Administration Treaty
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