Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican, now resembles the political equivalent of a suicide bomber. The explosive he has wrapped around skivvies is what appears to be an inevitable indictment over his cover-up efforts of his under-the-covers romp with a woman not his wife. And he doesn’t seem to care one wit how many people he takes down with him when the bomb goes off….including the entire state of Nevada.
On Wednesday, Rep. Dean Heller, a fellow Nevada Republican, appeared on Nevada Newsmakers and was asked if it was time for Ensign to resign. While responding that he was not prepared to call on Ensign to resign at that particular time and on that particular show, Heller did say publicly what a lot of Republicans have been whispering privately – Ensign is no longer an effective representative for Nevada thanks to the distractions surrounding his ongoing scandal.
When it comes to elected officials and what they do between the sheets, and who they do it with, most Nevadans take a rather libertarian live-and-let-live attitude. Personal behavior that does not impact an elected official’s official duties is nobody else’s business.
However, when those private indiscretions, and efforts to cover them up, result in ethics complaints and possible criminal prosecution, the issue then becomes a serious political matter as well as legal. From a legal standpoint, Ensign is still considered innocent until proven guilty; however, from a political standpoint, he’s now Dead Senator Walking.
It’s bad enough that Ensign is dragging former associates and staffers into his temple of boom; forcing them to answer subpoenas, testify in front of a grand jury and risk having their good names and reputations sullied.
And it’s bad enough that Ensign is now a political albatross around the necks of every Nevada Republican candidate on the ballot this year, potentially snatching defeat from the jaws of what appears to be a potentially victorious year – especially the opportunity to dethrone Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
And it’s bad enough that national Democrats, loaded down with their own ongoing scandals, are able to deflect criticisms of their actions by pointing to Ensign.
But the real injury here for Nevadans is that their junior senator with the trouser malfunction is shunned by his colleagues in DC and a distraction for the entire Nevada congressional delegation. Congressman Heller’s comments this week were akin to saying the emperor has no clothes.
John Ensign, pure and simple, is a liability to his family, his friends, his colleagues, his party and his state. He is an asset to one person, and one person only – the only person who has ever mattered to John Ensign: John Ensign. And since John Ensign won’t do the right thing and leave on his own, it’s time for Nevadans of all political stripes to vote him off the island.