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Ensign: What Shattered Promise?

By Alexandra Petri

In the wake of Senator Ensign’s admitted affair and resignation as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, commentators have lamented this “added blow” to the crisis-ridden GOP. Really? Perhaps the young, affable senator showed some promise for 2012. Just days ago, someone shouted on his Facebook wall, “PLEASE RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.” But if his Twitter following is any indication, he should not have been the GOP’s prime contender.

The Republican Party needs young, exciting leaders who can navigate Web 2.0. Because from Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s embarrassing Netspeak to Newt Gingrich’s tweets calling Sonya Sotomayor a racist, so far the few Republicans who can figure out how to get the technology to work have been batting around zero.

Was Ensign any better? If you want to, you can connect with him on YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Flickr or even LinkedIn. So far, no one seems to want to. His website’s mybloglog community only has 5 members. Two of them are other Republican senators. Another is someone named Rich. He is 41.

Ensign’s YouTube channel has only 53 subscribers, and none of his videos have been viewed more than 300 times. This compares unfavorably to videos of cats doing nothing, some of them literally called, “Cats Doing Nothing.”

But there’s always Facebook. On Facebook, Ensign has a grand total of 1,155 supporters. To put this in perspective, I have 1020 friends, and I am a college student. Interestingly enough, he lists no relationship status. (Perhaps this finally proves the adage that if you don’t list your relationship on Facebook, it doesn’t exist.)

Ensign abruptly stopped tweeting on June 12, leaving his public bereft of such sterling insights as “Now off to Le Mars Blue Bunny ice cream. Big decision. What flavor or flavors to choose?” Perhaps the 5,049 Twitter followers who received such messages as: “Just realized today is Ronald Reagan's birthday. Happy Birthday, Gipper,” breathed a sigh of relief.

The senator’s Facebook page, at least, remains. But these days, the tenor of the comments on his Facebook wall is a bit different. The same Mark Reynolds who on May 8 wrote, “John lets golf,” has changed his tone: “Nice job John taking you off my FB page. You just blew being President.” The remaining comments are calls to resign.

The writer is an intern with the editorial staff.

By Alexandra Petri  | June 19, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Next: Obama's New Strategy on Iran


PromiseKeeper has Shattered Promise. Good twist on the headline.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | June 19, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Sen. Ensign's demise is poetic justice. As a Christian man he never learned the Golden Rule. Politics and throwing stones just don't mix; or is it Professed Christianity and politics don't mix. Resign, Ensign. I don't wish to hear another thing about your affairs.

Posted by: fedup3 | June 19, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Surely you should say 'If his following is any indication he would (not should) not have been a prime contender'. You're making a prediction, not stating an objection.

Posted by: MHughes976 | June 19, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

People are actually calling for him to resign? For the sake of DC voting rights, I hope he does.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | June 19, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Republican Party is among the walking dead. Also, deaf, dumb and blind.

I suspect someday they will return, however.

My concern is that the GOP will somehow meld the entire radical right and corporatists into a bizarre other world majority.

Can type anymore, my fingers are shaking....

Posted by: hoo_u22 | June 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ensign, a front runner...? for what? I never heard of him before his scandal news. No one in Congress will have a chance of running for any national office after the debacle that's coming when the Dems have to inflict huge taxes to pay for their ill-conceived "reforms". Look to the governors of states that hold the line on spending for the rising stars. Just follow the lines of people fleeing high tax states and see where they are going.

Posted by: lostein | June 20, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada was unfaithful to his wife. He did a shameful thing and is ashamed of it. That’s not hypocrisy, but humanity.

Posted by: pvilso24 | June 22, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mtavro | June 22, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know why Senator John Ensign has had his presidential hopes dashed because he slept with a woman who he is not married to. If we were to take similar action against every man or woman who acted in an adulterous manner in America, we would have consequences akin to an infrastructure attack. This is going to evolve into the possibility of his wife and family drawing and quartering him and that is where it should end. From a studio apartment and bereft of his savings he can then potentially rise to any position he is accepted to. Remember, there is not a man in the world who has the powers to walk away from a clandestine and compromising situation with a beautiful and alluring female pursuing him. Perhaps because I came of age in the Love Generation of the 1960's that I say that a politician can sleep with his paramour in the AM, get himself together and then go to the Hill and do a great job, feeling enthused and confident.

Posted by: freelanceman4 | June 23, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

i have more followers on twitter and i'm nobody. i guess ensign--is that his name--is less than nobody.

Posted by: memorybabe1 | June 23, 2009 4:38 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't just the sex, he doubled the woman's salary and put her son on the NRSC payroll while the affair was going on. Ensign was paying off his mistress And her family with Other People's Money! Campaign contributions to Ensign, and campaign contributors to other Senate candidates were spent to buy Ensign some highly personal benefits.

I don't care about the sex, but this is right on the edge of campaigh funds embezzlement.

Posted by: lonquest | June 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

SO many seats opened in 2006 - because many of the repubs like Trent Lott knew what was coming withthe economic tsunami.

That is what they do - cause such disruption and then leave Americnas hanging in the wind-

How many years did they pander and kiss up to Big Oil?

SUV tax breaks?


Airline Industry?

Unfortunately- 8 years of that no child left behind - America does not even rank in the top 25 for education worldwide!

And while Americans cannot even connect to the internet-

World’s Fastest Broadband at $20 Per Home
By Saul Hansell

If you get excited about the prospect of really, really fast broadband Internet service, here’s a statistic that will make heart race. Or your blood boil. Or both.

Pretty much the fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabit-per-second service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan. Here’s how much the company had to invest to upgrade its network to provide that speed: $20 per home passed.

The cable modem needed for that speed costs about $60, compared with about $30 for the current generation.

By contrast, Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

Posted by: sasha2008 | June 23, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Remember, there is not a man in the world who has the powers to walk away from a clandestine and compromising situation with a beautiful and alluring female pursuing him."

That is a load of BS. Every man, or woman, has the power; do they exercise it is the question. If one is committed to their family, they are committed period. Any clandestine meetup is done with that same power, in the opposite direction. There are no excuses - " I was weak", "I was drunk" - pathetic. Own up to your own actions, they are, after all, yours.

"Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada was unfaithful to his wife. He did a shameful thing and is ashamed of it. That’s not hypocrisy, but humanity."

it is hypocrisy - he professed to be a moral leader, and was not due to his affair. He consistently chastised those that cheat on their spouses or supported anything he considered "unfamily". One cannot say one thing, and do another.

Posted by: Michael_A1 | June 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

We've seen first hand over the past week what living under a Theocrasy is like. Hopefully, every possible candidate from the religious right will be exposed and discredited before another election. Ensign's misuse of campaign funds financing his affair is reportedly under investigation and hopefully will rid us of him and his self-righteousness.

He was the first in line to hand out condemnation and demand resignation when his colleagues got caught. How does he justify not following the rules he set down for others? Nevada get this creep out of office.

Posted by: xclntcat | June 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Kagan is always hot for invasion. Can we send Cheney to Iran? The last time we overthrew the Iranian government we sent the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt, Teddy's grandson. Go Cheney go, take Kagan along with you!

Posted by: drWU | June 23, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

One poster indicates his admittance of his affair was "humanity". Didn't this writer realize that it wasn't until he was caught in the affair did he admit his shame? He is in fact a hypocrite, especially since he condemned others for his same actions. Democrat or Republican; a hypocrite is a hypocrite.

Posted by: arclight69 | June 23, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that most of our elected representatives and Senators are in it for themselves. It is a "career" choice. Has nothing to do with public service as our founders envisioned it.
Most of our founders had lives outside government service. Not anymore.
Now, the people we elect run for election in order to run for election the next time. Think about it? Great benefits! Free health care, basically, Retirement benefits. And MOST OF ALL, immunity from LAW.
Yes, occasionally, one of them gets caught in some kind of ridiculous, obvious, and stupid breach of trust, but, what happens to those people....nothing.
Ensign is probably thinking about how he can morph this whole situation into a Republican Presidential nomination with the help of Sarah Palin. Why not ? Maybe scandal will be a plus? Proves he's only human after all. After all those statements about how he wasn't.

Posted by: cms1 | June 23, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Republican Party is among the walking dead. Also, deaf, dumb and blind.

I suspect someday they will return, however.

My concern is that the GOP will somehow meld the entire radical right and corporatists into a bizarre other world majority.

Can type anymore, my fingers are shaking....


Yea, everyone is becoming independent because both you and the republicans suck.

But, hey. Your just as stupid as the republicans when it comes to reconiizing that your party isn't the answer. It's the problem. Oh, and people like you that should be locked up.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | June 24, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

anyone notice AGAIN how the democrats forget their own history? Lol, President Clinton ring a bell?

And before you low lifes come down on me about it being past history. Thats all you fools have TRIED to do with regard to the Bush Presidency.

Democrats are hypocrits. They are quick to crisize, but quicker to forget their own parties past deeds that were the same.

hypocrits and fools make up the democratic voting block. Again, a surgance of independent voters will make YOUR PARTY just like the REPUBLICAN party irrelivant. And your vote hypocrits. Will be for nothing because both you and the republicans are outnumbered. Your vote will not make a difference, no more then true republican votes will. Your vote, like your ideas are nothing.

Posted by: LiberalBasher | June 24, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

why not impeach him? they impeached clinton for it

Posted by: TramplingGrapes | June 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Yet another in a long string of Republican "family values" hypocrites to hit the dust. Unlike many recent GOP adulterers, at least Ensign's illicit paramour was female, and of legal age.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | June 24, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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