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John Ensign: Promise Breaker

What is it with Republican elected officials in Nevada and their marriages these days?

First it was former Rep. Jon Porter reportedly cheating on his wife, ending his second marriage. Then it was Gov. Jim Gibbons filing for divorce from his second wife amidst allegations of marital infidelity – and something about a ferret in a phone booth. And now we have Sen. John Ensign – heretofore thought to be squeaky clean and good Christian family man – admitting to adultery. Is there something in the water we all should know about?

Actually, for most people these days, the personal lives of a politician aren’t generally of much interest. But the issue of hypocrisy is. And in Ensign’s case, the hypocrisy is thick enough to cut with a Ginsu.

Recall that early in Ensign’s career he was very open and somewhat sanctimonious about being a member of the Promise Keepers organization. That organization is centered around “Seven Promises” members commit to, including “practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity,” as well as “building strong marriages and families.”

Then there was the fact that while a member of Congress before being elected to the Senate, Ensign voted to impeach then-President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Oh, and let’s not forget about Ensign calling on Republican Sen. Larry Craig to resign from the Senate after that little toe-tapping episode in a Minnesota airport bathroom stall, stating that such “lewd behavior” was “not the behavior a United States senator should be engaged in.”

Apparently, having an affair with a married staffer who not only works for you but is married to another staffer who works for you is OK.

Ensign went further in slamming Craig, noting that the incident leads people to believe that “we’re all corrupt, we’re all immoral,” adding that “we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard.” Of course, if Ensign held himself to the same standard he set for Sen. Craig, he would have announced his own resignation from the Senate after admitting to behavior a United States senator shouldn’t be engaged in. But somehow that part was missing from the press conference.

But perhaps the greatest level of hypocrisy in all of this is Sen. Ensign’s opposition to gay marriage. You see, according to Sen. Ensign, allowing gays to get married would ruin the institution of marriage which is why he supported a constitutional amendment to ban gays from getting married.

Ensign has supported an amendment to the Constitution affirming marriage “as between one man and one woman.” To the best of my knowledge, there was no “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” exception to that proposal. And yet Ensign piously – and as it turns out, hypocritically – cast his vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment as protecting the “sanctity of that institution.”

Would somebody please explain to me how gays could possibly do more damage to the sanctity of marriage than politicians like Bill Clinton, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Elliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Jim McGreevey, Gavin Newsome, Rudy Giuliani, Jesse Jackson, Jon Porter, Jim Gibbons and now John Ensign?