Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Happened in Vegas…

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) has admitting to having an affair with the wife of one of his Senate staffers.

I’d be the first to cut Mr. Ensign a little slack; we’re all human, we all have our faults, and we don’t always live up to our own expectations and aspirations. And, as we noted during the Clinton administration, it’s not as if he committed a crime; it was between two consenting adults, and it’s now a private matter between himself, his family, and his own conscience. His political future as anything more than just another senator is probably in doubt, but it’s a nice gig with good perks, and at some point he’ll quietly retire to spend more time with this family.

I’d be happy to leave it there and just chalk it up to another episode in the human comedy, except Mr. Ensign, an evangelical Christian and proud member of Promise Keepers, the men-only Christian group that vows to uphold traditional marriage, has made it his business to dictate to others about their moral failings and push for federal legislation banning same-sex marriage. He told Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) to resign after he was arrested for trying to hook up with an undercover cop in the Minneapolis airport, and he offered the same advice to President Clinton. Oddly enough, he didn’t call for Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to do the same after he admitted to paying for sex with a prostitute. Apparently resignation is the only option if you’re gay or a Democrat. Other than that, free pass.

So Sen. Ensign is a hypocrite of the first magnitude. Not because he had an affair, but because he’s spent a great deal of time and gotten a lot of traction out of those who have, and because he has a double standard for morality depending on who you have sex with and what party you belong to. The irony of this is that he will probably continue to carry on against such things as marriage equality, uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, and support the continuation of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he will do it with a straight face. After all, he’s just an adulterer, but being gay goes against morality, God and the American flag. Except no one chooses to be gay, but he chose to screw around on his wife.

The conventional wisdom is that this would ruin his chances for a run for the White House in 2012, but when you consider who else is talking about running — Newt Gingrich comes to mind — this would seem to make him fit right in.

HT to Think Progress.