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Morning Fix: Analyzing Ensign



Nevada Sen. John Ensign. AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

Sen. John Ensign's bombshell announcement that he had engaged in an affair with a former campaign staffer was the latest in a series of difficult blows for an already-reeling party.

Ensign was widely regarded within the Republican Party as a rising star and was positioning himself to run for president in 2012 -- making a recent stop in Iowa.

In an April interview with the Fix, Ensign did little to deny his interest in a national run -- saying that most children dream of being president one day and adding a presidential bid was "not something I would ever rule out."

In the wake of his acknowledgment of an extramarital affair, however, senior Republican strategists were painting Ensign as part of the problem with the party, not its solution.

"This is yet another reminder as to why the American people have chosen new management for the foreseeable future," said John Weaver, a former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The Ensign news comes amid a series of struggles for Republicans -- from the emergence of controversial figures like former vice president Dick Cheney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) as the most recognizable leaders of the party and a series of polls and demographic studies that suggest the GOP is headed (in the words of Republican strategist Mike Murphy) into an "ice age."

That's not to say, however, that Ensign's affair in and of itself will have any long term impact on the electoral prospects of his colleagues. Kevin Madden, a Republican consultant, said the Ensign affair "is a Nevada story, a personal dilemma and an issue between John Ensign and his constituents," adding that the acknowledgment of an affair by former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) "who possessed a more advanced national profile, hasn't saddled the Democratic Party and its agenda."

As for Ensign's own political future, he seemed determined in yesterday's press conference to continue in office. "I am committed to my service in the United State Senate and my work on behalf of the people of Nevada," said Ensign.

Ensign was reelected in 2006 with 55 percent of the vote against a lackluster challenger. While his admittance of an affair would seem to imperil his reelection prospects in 2012, remember that Louisiana Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) acknowledged straying from his marriage with a prostitute in July 2007 and has a better than even chance at winning reelection next fall.

"Private actions have public consequences," said Republican consultant Curt Anderson. "Many people try to pretend it's not true -- but it is."

Ensign's political fate likely depends on what (if any) further revelations are made public about his relationship in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Wednesday's Fix Picks: How much would you pay for an official Fix t-shirt? $100? $200? $10?

1. President Obama to create new consumer protection office.
2. Senate Democrats are whittling away at the cost of health care.
3. War funding bill passes the House.
4. A GOP primary challenger to Jim Bunning drops.
5. Did Heidi Montag pose for Playboy?

Deeds Leads in DGA Polling: State Sen. Creigh Deeds, buoyed by the positive press surrounding his convincing primary victory last week, leads former state attorney general Bob McDonnell 42 percent to 38 percent in new polling released by the Democratic Governors Association. The survey, which was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, shows that both Deeds and McDonnell are well-regarded by voters; Deeds has a 48 percent favorable rating and a 14 percent unfavorable rating while McDonnell's fav/unfav is slightly less robust -- 43/19. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) remains extremely popular with 66 percent of voters viewing him favorably while a simple majority (53 percent) believe the Commonwealth is on the right track. Given those numbers, expect Deeds to focus heavily on the idea that he is the natural heir to the political legacies of Kaine and former governor Mark Warner (D). While the polling memo casts the results as unfettered good news for Deeds, some of the state senator's strength in the data is rightly understood as the positive coverage he has received over the past few weeks. McDonnell, who faced no primary opposition, has struggled to get any press attention during that same period.

RGA Up in New Jersey: Answering critics who alleged that the Republican Governors Association was talking a big game in New Jersey but not putting any money behind that talk, the RGA launched two ads slamming Gov. Jon Corzine (D) at a cost of roughly $300,000 for the week. The theme of the ads, which touch on jobs and taxes, is that Corzine has made promises that he has repeatedly failed to keep. "Watch what he does, not what he says," says the ads' narrator as ominous music plays in the background. Republicans insist that Corzine, who has been badly battered by the economic collapse, is vulnerable to former U.S. attorney Chris Christie. Still, as we wrote last week, most Republicans still see Virginia as their better pickup opportunity this fall.

Bloomberg Looks Unbeatable: New polling out of Quinnipiac University suggests that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in very strong shape to win a third term this fall over New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson (D). Bloomberg leads Thompson 54 percent to 32 percent -- including among Democrats (49 percent to 40 percent) and Independents (59 percent to 26 percent). That represents a marked improvement for Bloomberg from a Quinnipiac poll in late March where he led Thompson 49 percent to 35 percent. Bloomberg also is riding high in personal approval ratings with 64 percent viewing him favorably and 30 percent seeing him in an unfavorable light. Thompson is far less well known than Bloomberg with more than six in ten voters saying they haven't heard enough about him to offer an opinion.

Consumer Groups Sponsor Ads Hitting GM/Chrysler: A collection of consumer groups are banding together to fund ads aiming to draw attention to a loophole in the current bankruptcy bill for GM and Chrysler that, they allege, will make it nearly impossible to monitor defects in those cars. "Americans would have no protection f they were injured or killed by a defective GM or Chrysler vehicle from pre-bankruptcy days," says the ad's narrator. The ads, which will cost just north of $50,000, will run in the D.C. media market and will be accompanied by an online advertising campaign.

Moran, Tiahrt in Dead Heat: The Republican race to replace Sen. Sam Brownback is a statistical tie with Rep. Jerry Moran (R) receiving 40 percent of the vote and Rep. Todd Tiahrt taking 38 percent. (The poll was conducted by Survey USA, a firm that uses robo-callers. To read more on the accuracy of such methodology, check out the Fix's pros and cons of auto-dialed polling.) With no Democrat on the horizon and Democrats having not won a Senate seat in the Sunflower State since the 1930s, expect Moran and Tiahrt to go all out to win the GOP nomination; it's why the Kansas Senate primary makes our Line of best primaries in the country.

Say What?: "Did someone cut the grass?" -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs greets reporters before his daily briefing on Tuesday.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 17, 2009; 5:35 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Comments

Clearly, a difficult issue for the so-called social conservatives. Let them spout about how persecuted they are, especially when they go astray. Such a one has no moral authority. Having based a career on such social conservatism, that person should now give up that career. How does one continue in the face of the embarrasment he has caused his compatriots?
Remember, he has violated not only his vows to his spouse, but also the social conservatism he espoused. How can he "defend" marriage, when he so willingly attacked and injured his own?

Posted by: nita3 | June 18, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If John Ensign were truly dedicated to defending the institution of marriage, could he at least sleep with a single lady instead of someone who was married?

Posted by: LayneD | June 18, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'd pay $20 for an official Fix t-shirt.

Posted by: KatherineWelsh | June 18, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Ensign was
===============
(widely regarded within the Republican Party as a rising star)
-------
promises, promises... John Edwards?
===============

(and was positioning himself to run for president in 2012)
-------------
scandalous!

Posted by: opp88 | June 18, 2009 3:58 AM | Report abuse


I would like to think that Ensign 'fessed up because his conscience got to him. Or at least because he knew that there was little chance of keeping it a secret through 2012.

But he probably did make the calculation that it was better to announce it himself, and ask forgiveness, and have it be ancient history by the time the election rolled around.

The GOP candidate for prez was going to lose in 2012 anyway. Silver lining for Ensign--if he can get re-elected to the Senate after his 'reformed sinner' routine, then he could still run for prez in 2016.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | June 17, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8:

I believe what you are waiting for is the "Santorum on dog" headline.

Posted by: mnteng | June 17, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

lol he was on www.dirtyspouses.com

Posted by: info83 | June 17, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

lol he was on www.dirtyspouses.com

Posted by: info83 | June 17, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree that affairs should remain a private issue between spouses, unless like Sen Ensign, you call on Pres Clinton to resign over an affair, and run on a 'family values' platform.

==

I'm waiting for Rick Santorum to get in the news getting caught doing hardcore submissive gay bondage play.

I mean, anyone who wrote a book about having a family has got to be hiding something.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree that affairs should remain a private issue between spouses, unless like Sen Ensign, you call on Pres Clinton to resign over an affair, and run on a 'family values' platform. I always have believed that valuing your family is real family values. Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | June 17, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Um, I'm not sure how that last post ended up on this page.

==

I do. You have a browser window open on this page and you other other pages in your history, so if you NavigateNext or NavigatePrevious you end up on another TheFix comment section.

Are you using a ThinkPad by any chance? Or some other extended keyboard with dedicated navigation keys?

I do most of my TheFix posting on a ThinkPad running Fedora Linux. I've had posts end up in the wrong section several times by accidentally hitting those keys.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Um, I'm not sure how that last post ended up on this page.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the point I was trying to make is that Obama is probably doing what is best for US interests. Despite what people think, braying on a soapbox isn't always the best way to get things done. Sometimes its best just to assess the situation and see how things unfold.

And if the US is going to intervene, they had better be DAMN sure that there was massive corruption of the election process. Perhaps its just my style, but I don't need a lot of kinetic motion to think that the right decisions are being made. Sure, Bush would go up and say lots of cool John Wayne things like "bring em on" or "with us or against us," but any moron could tell that these were counterproductive statements.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If it is indeed true that Ensign made this announcement because the husband of the woman involved tried to blackmail the Senator, that husband is an idiot and almost as big a fool as Ensign.

Ensign is not up for re-election for the Senate until 2012. He was positioning himself to run for President, possibly in 2012. Why blackmail him now? Wait until his re-election year, or until he's a serious Presidential contender or possibly even the GOP nominee. This guy clearly failed the part of Blackmail 101 related to timing - don't put the screws on until your intended victim has the most to lose.

Posted by: bpai_99 | June 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Ensign is against abortion rights and against gay marriage because he says those practices are immoral. He is a hypocrite. Along with the rest of the holier-than-thou crowd.

==

That's why there's a story here. Otherwise there wouldn't be one.

The really crazy ones are those like NCPAC founder Terry Dolan, or Sen. Larry Craig, making repeated public statements against gays while being gay themselves. Dolan died of AIDS, Craig expressed his self-loathing by seeking sex in toilet stalls.

They could have just come out.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD: if you respond you just encourage him. Ignore him and he goes away after a while. This place has been fairly civil and readable the last few days, I'd like to keep it that way.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"What a difference a party makes. If he were a Dem he would be announcing his run for ethics chair."

Link please?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Also, Chris, could you not link to WSJ sites? I can't read them without paying.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada has stepped down from his leadership post one day after admitting he carried on a marital affair with a woman who was on his campaign staff.

What a difference a party makes. If he were a Dem he would be announcing his run for ethics chair.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, who is Heidi Montag?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, this is a personal matter between Sen. Ensign and his wife.

Posted by: dognabbit | June 17, 2009 11:05 AM |

Then why did Ensign have a press conference to tell the public about this very private matter?
To me, the interesting angle on this is the timeline. Yesterday the Fix reported that both the mistress and her husband had resigned from his staff in May of 2008 (the affair had already begun). I have to assume that maybe the husband knew of the affair at that time and both he and his wife resigned. The affair didn't end until August of 2008 - 3 or four months after they resigned. I would be interested to hear an explanation of all this.
I know that this is a private matter between the Senator and his wife, but by going public with it, he has now put himself in the position of having to answer questions about it.

Posted by: NMModerate1 | June 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Ensign had an affair with a staffer and her husband also worked for Ensign. Ewww.

Suppose the staffer got pregnant, does Ensign think she should have the option of getting an abortion?

Ensign is against abortion rights and against gay marriage because he says those practices are immoral. He is a hypocrite. Along with the rest of the holier-than-thou crowd.

Regarding the t-shirt. If I get paid $2/wear, I'll do it. More than that if I have to wear it in public.

Posted by: Renu1 | June 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"the loons have taken over again'

the loon speaks.

Posted by: drivl


It knows its name. the first step toward therapy.

It is from the "I know you are but what am I" school of liberal thought.

That happens to be one of their more advanced intellectual gatherings, relatively speaking.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse


"Tens Of Thousands Gather For New Protest In Tehran"

Looks like they're doing fine without us. Better, most likely.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Won't be long before the bone-smokin' chrishates shows up for his daily rant.


Posted by: king_of_zouk
June 17, 2009 12:02 PM

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..

call this one the "you just wait!" troll.


" still want to torture prisoners, still want to build a foreign policy on arrogance and bluster, still want to run incompetents and liars for national office. You haven't learned anything.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 12:25 PM

Zouk the oracle speaks.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

With respect to your Chrysler/GM remarks...FYI, the ad you reference, as well as a wealth of additional GM/Chrysler coverage can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/mujmjq.

Posted by: DanHaggarty | June 17, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Who cares? Really!

What does any of this have to do with government?

Ensign would not get my vote because
1. I am registered to vote in Florida
2. I'm a heathen secular-humanist and he's a flat-earther.

But this story is a private affair and not my business or your business. Politics has become less about civics and more about gossip.

Please, save this thread for tmz.com."

Well, this post is about the political implications of the admission of the affair and not filled any blue dress stories.

And this is, you know, a political blog. A pretty big deal for a high profile Republican with Presidential aspirations. It's hard to see this really having much of an impact on the Republican field. It's still a year and a half before the midterms. It's not like in 2006 when Mark Foley's thing came out right before the election. Furthermore, the Foley thing was made worse by the fact that the Republican leadership attempted to cover it up. Also, it was with kids. Unless a string of these affairs come out, I don't see the Republican party being saddled with this. Hell, I don't even think Ensign is going to suffer much. I mean, the changing demographics of Nevada might screw him, but I don't think the affair will matter in 2012. David Vitter seems to have gotten away with it.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"the loons have taken over again'

the loon speaks.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? Really!

What does any of this have to do with government?

Ensign would not get my vote because
1. I am registered to vote in Florida
2. I'm a heathen secular-humanist and he's a flat-earther.

But this story is a private affair and not my business or your business. Politics has become less about civics and more about gossip.

Please, save this thread for tmz.com.

Posted by: mikedow2 | June 17, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

the loons have taken over again.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

T-shirt? Only if it's black. I'd pay.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Well Drindl and BSIMON your points are not without merit but I just believe this country to be more fundementally conservative than our current White House

==

Looks like the Bush Bubble is alive and well. You Republicans are always overestimating American conservatism, that's what you get for only listening to like-minded sources. This isn't just a recent phenomenon, it's been going on for decades.

You can ignore the evidence of Virginia and North Carolina going blue if it helps you sleep at night, but it's out of reality

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse


"Machiavelli, “a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavor only to avoid hatred, as is noted.” "

Yes, we certainly need leaders like Machiavelli. ROFLOL. My first big laugh of the day. What that clown comes up with!

I agree with you Stonecreek about not dragging the wife on too. Let's hear it for Ensign, in taking responsiibility [even if it's for political reasons] and leaving her out of it. Agree too about the frying pan.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I would pay $10 for the fix shirt! If there were female sizes instead of uni sex I would prob pay $ 20

Posted by: dee150586 | June 17, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

No dganderson, I did not. I correctly predicted we would have our clocks clean. I missed 06, didn't see it coming, the same as dems not seeing it coming now. This country is more conservative than their government at this time, unless the economy does a quick turnaround, the dems are doomed for 2010.

==

I call this one the "you just wait!" troll.

You guys keep predicting a GOP revival, at least you've given up on the idea that the GOP will have anything to do with it, now you're resting all your hopes on national catastrophe. Some of you hope for an economic calamity, others hope for another "terrorist attack."

Why should we trust the GOP with national power ever again? You guys are still talking "magic of the marketplace," still want to torture prisoners, still want to build a foreign policy on arrogance and bluster, still want to run incompetents and liars for national office. You haven't learned anything.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

For his troubles, Obama has gotten a stocking chockfull of coal. Iran’s military-directed nuclear program continues apace; the Iranians recently selected/elected President Ahmadinejad again, despite Obama’s direct appeals to the Iranian people. Syria continues to support Hezbollah. Egypt announced this week that it would never accept the existence of the State of Israel. Hamas announced that they would not accept any of Israel’s positions. China is supporting the North Korean regime despite North Korea’s threats of nuclear war. Russia is undermining Eastern European security. And the Europeans have refused to help our efforts in Afghanistan.

We have a president who is “loved” and a country that is held to international scorn. Does anyone miss a time when America was respected and our president disliked?

Machiavelli, “a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavor only to avoid hatred, as is noted.” When a prince -- or a world leader -- endeavors to be loved rather than feared, he falls into the trap of attempting to please everyone. That is Obama to a T. He is more interested in applause than freedom or American security.

Obama doesn’t truly care, as long as the world keeps telling him how wonderful he is.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Stonecreek, you are in Houston, right? If you are in TX, what are you hearing in the Senate race for KBH's soon to be vacated seat? I am in Austin and hearing very little.

From here, the LG did not help himself on the R side in this Lege session. Do you see a Sharp v. Abbott race?

I apologize to non-Texans and invite Texans to respond to my threadjack as nothing seems to make me think that talking about a NV Senator's zipper problem will help him, his wife, his kids, his sweetie, the sweetie's husband, and the voters of NV or the nation in any way whatsoever, and because none of these folks ever resign in disgrace any more if they are not facing an indictment. Wailing about sexual hypocrisy of self appointed puritans is also just boring. I saw "The Crucible" already. I think Gingrich was in it, but I forget.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 17, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Well Drindl and BSIMON your points are not without merit but I just believe this country to be more fundementally conservative than our current White House and Congress. Economy and world events would have to be very favorable for the dems to keep the House. They will keep the Senate until 2012. Spending is just out of control and the dems want to spend even more money. The public will want divided govt just to keep them honest."

I don't think the typical American could care less as to how much the government spends. Deficits have never been an issue that has resonated with the voting public. People DO want lower taxes, yes, but they also don't want their services cut. Cutting anything will annoy someone. Not even Bush with his normally compliant Congress could really make much of a cut in spending. And he wasn't asking for much.

I was actually annoyed to see that Obama's proposed tax cut plans would actually bring in the same amount of revenue as Bush's scheme. It was definitely not as bad as McCain's plan, but was still keeping us in the red. Of course with the economy crashing and burning, the government SHOULD be running up a deficit.

I do think people underestimate the benefits of a good health care plan. If we are being less wasteful with health care spending, we have fewr uninsured going to ERs, and of course, a much healthier workforce, that's going to be a huge, sustained boost to the economy.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 17, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"Spending is just out of control and the dems want to spend even more money. The public will want divided govt just to keep them honest."

True, but there are still two problems:

1) The GOP's reputation for fiscal responsibility is somewhat tarnished. They need a credible messenger to make that sale; thus far there isn't one.

2) People tend to want divided gov't, but also tend to like their Rep. It is difficult to make the sale that "we need divided gov't and you have to throw out this Rep that you otherwise like in order to achieve it."

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 17, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I think Americans like to think of themselves as conservative; but on actual issues, 9 out of 10 times they agree with the Democratic position.

That's why the Republican Party spends so much time trying to paint Democrats as wild-eyed socialists and far-left revolutionaries. If Americans look at the issues instead of the labels, they tend to prefer the Democratic positions and find they fit quite well with their "conservatism." So the GOP has to keep the debate focused on labels that they define.

Obama's working on moving the labels around. So far so good. We'll see if it is working in 2010.

Posted by: nodebris | June 17, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

what a surprise, drivl is fuming and frothing as usual.

I still recall its outrage at the Bush deficit. Not a peep when Ds are wicked. typical Lib hypocrite.

Won't be long before the bone-smokin' chrishates shows up for his daily rant.

Meanwhile you can't take a single thing a Lib says at face value. all you can be 100% sure of is that it will cost you a lot more than they are telling you.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | June 17, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I can't say the exact impact this may have on either Ensign (possibly some, mostly in terms of fundraising and credibility for potential opponents) or the larger slate of Republicans (likely none). But I do appreciate that Ensign did NOT force his poor wife to stand up there in person with him like Spitzer, Vitter, and Craig. Geez, how unfair and stressful for the "victims"! By the way, I'm sure that as she says in her written statement, Mrs. Ensign does sincerely love her husband (and wants all of this to go away, right after she beans his skull with a frying pan.)

Posted by: Stonecreek | June 17, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

ARE REGIONAL FUSION CENTERS MERE "HYPOTHESES"?

They may be theorems.

Test them, with Euclidean proofs, at:

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-choclate-factory-Hershey-PA

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scribblerTimeWarpBlackHole

Posted by: scribbler50 | June 17, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Well Drindl and BSIMON your points are not without merit but I just believe this country to be more fundementally conservative than our current White House and Congress. Economy and world events would have to be very favorable for the dems to keep the House. They will keep the Senate until 2012. Spending is just out of control and the dems want to spend even more money. The public will want divided govt just to keep them honest.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 17, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

MORE PRIOR RESTRAINT/CENSORSHIP OF POLITICAL SPEECH INFLICTED UPON WA-PO READERS AND EDITORS


My attempted post a few moments ago again elicited the "held for blog owner" message, despite the fact that WaPo does not "hold" posts in real time unless its software detects foul language.

Meanwhile, this site continues to be blog-mobbed by the familiar aggregation of what appear to be paid trolls assigned to pollute political discourse with a constant stream of witty but often inane cyber-effluvia.

They also commit libel, character assassination, upon other posters. (See yesterday's threads.)

Political censorship appears to be alive and well in America -- and "surveillance" programs appear to be the pretext for harassment and censorship of unjustly "targeted" Americans, without benefit of warrant.

The New York Times writes about this subject today on its front page. The article's focus is at the NSA level. I hypothesize that the real dirty work is being done at regional "fusion centers" administered by the Department of Homeland Security, with input from local authoritarians among law enforcement and the corporate-business community.

I urge readers here to pursue this writer's ongoing account of these unconstitutional affronts to freedom of speech and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures:


http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | June 17, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse


" For all of you people who think the GOP will be a minority party for years, I just want to see you on this blog come November 2010. Going to be a lot of crying amongst the liberal chattering class."

I recall that you said the same thing last election, and all due respect, you will be wrong this time too. Until your party can do something besides whining, attacking Democrats and obstructing Obama just for the sake of obstruction, and pulling racist stunts and alienating everyone but white southern males, you aren't going anywhere.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

To clarify, what happens between politicians and their spouses should not have anything to do with how they govern or legislate.

Whether Republicans or Democrats or Independents, leave them alone when it comes to their personal relationships.

Posted by: dognabbit | June 17, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

And you thought Republicans only had hypocritically forbidden gay sex!

Seriously, this is a personal matter between Sen. Ensign and his wife.

Posted by: dognabbit | June 17, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

John Ensign: the new poster boy for the party of hypocrites,charlatans,and perverts.The shame he must be feeling is nothing compared to what guys like this deserve.I am thankful to Ensign,though,for his impeccable timing.At a time when the GOP can ill-afford this kind of story,Ensign throws caution to the wind and helps to sink the Titanic known as the Republican party.Thanks for this,Ensign.The nitwits that are leading the GOP are uncouth Americans of useless benefit to anyone and everyone.The talk of a GOP 'comeback' can now be put on hold.Personally,I hope the party dies a torturous death in the tradition of the Whigs and the Know-Nothings.Until the party adopts an 'under-new-management' approach to its leadership and membership,you and I will continue to witness the demise the GOP.
C'mon people: John Ensign,David Vitter,Larry Craig,Mitch McConnell,Charles Grassley,Jim Bunning,Saxby Chambliss,Jim Demint,and on and on and on----does anyone really believe any of these yahoos are true statesmen?
What a joke.

Posted by: klowry57 | June 17, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

It's not about personal peccadillos, Mark. It's about hypocrisy and dishonesty. You know that Ensign was among the loudest voices again Clinton, decrying the 'soiling of the Oval Office' and yelping endlessly about 'family values.' Every single one of these loud voices, it turns out, was either having an extramarital affair themselves at the time [like Newt] or has had one since then. This is a party that is trying to shove its 'values' down this country's throat -- and then it turns out they down't beleive in them themselves.

And Ensign was such a scum that he had an affair with a woman whose husband worked for him, too -- looking the guy in the eye every day while he played around with his wife. And now he wants to run for president, like every other playboy in his party.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Re Ensign: The Democrats have plenty of sinners, too, but they don't claim to set the moral standard for the country. It's the hypocrisy, Stupid!

I'd pay $15-$20 for a shirt, Chris.

Posted by: gbruner1 | June 17, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

His political career is over. Ensign caused it by being so outspoken about President Obama on issues, John Edwards as well as President Clintons affair. If he would have kept his mouth shut and been away from the cameras so much as a Republican it would not matter. And most woman have the hots for him anyway because of his good looks.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 17, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The Ensign scandal deserves to be examined in detail. Not because his sordid affair with the wife of a staff member is anything beyond trivia and selfish. But Ensign was among those Republicans who hollered loudest about the Clinton/Lewinsky foolishness.

Ensign and others of his GOP ilk have long claimed the high ground on matters moral. They assert their right to enforce a narrow, bigoted view of private family life on the rest of us. The unsavory details of Ensigns betrayal of his marriage vows sheds new light on the hypocrisy of all those Republican loud-mouths who claim to represent family values.

Getting caught with their pants down in an airport men's room, getting it on with prostitutes or page boys or other people's wives is the current reality of the GOP effort to inflict their extremist views on the nation. They can't keep their own pants zipped and they want to regulate everyone else's private lives. What maroons!

The modern Republican party is a collection of sorry hypocrites, intellectually corrupt and morally bankrupt. In addition to sexual dishonesty, the GOP represents militarism, extremist violence, anti-science ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and unfettered greed.

The Republican era is, thankfully, over and done with.

Posted by: dee5 | June 17, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Rharring, I am always and forever a victim of my own wishful thinking about national politics, but I do not think you know my wishes!

I wish for a D Party that prioritized social responsibility, a strong military, a bipartisan foreign policy, and fiscal responsibility; and an R Party that that prioritized fiscal responsibility, a strong military, a bipartisan foreign policy, and social responsibility. I wish for Eisenhower and Sam Rayburn. I wish for Truman and Arthur Vandenburg.

The tendency of the parties is to try to stay in power at the national level. When "no taxes" loses its efficacy as a vote getter the Rs might return to "fiscal responsibility" as a message that can be credible.

Local pols, faced with visible local problems and the inability to print money are often truer to representing their constituents social and fiscal needs than the national parties with which they affiliate. I think both parties tend to tarnish and not polish their "good ones".

I admire this Prez's foreign policy and national security initiatives. I believe that there is little room for bipartisanship on many issues but that there must be room for it on FP and NatSec. This Prez is clearly of that mindset, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 17, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

John Ensign is a veterinarian. Is "Neuter and Spay the Only Way"?

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/john-ensign-promise-keeper/

Posted by: MikeLicht | June 17, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

mark in austin,

That is just wishful thinking on your part. Just like i heard over and over Obama would never be president. Admit it buddy, your party screwed up. Rove wanted to build a party of boot lickers and this country caught on to it and booted you out. What you fail to realize but what the American people realize is that when your party is in charge, huge deficits will follow. Maybe you should look for a new party.........

Posted by: rharring | June 17, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes writes
"I missed 06, didn't see it coming, the same as dems not seeing it coming now. This country is more conservative than their government at this time, unless the economy does a quick turnaround, the dems are doomed for 2010."


I think you are where I was in 2003 & 2004. I thought the American people were smart enough to wake up to the damage the GOP was doing to our country. I had to wait until 2006 to see vindication, which was reinforced in 2008. At this point, the GOP are not yet positioned for big gains in 2010. First & foremost, they don't have much that they're campaigning for; they're only against Obama & the dems. With that strategy their only hope is that the economy continues to stink. Secondly, the ongoing demand for ideological purity is purging the ranks of the moderates they will need to attract swing voters. As long as the phrase 'RINO' is alive and well, the GOP is unlikely to make significant electoral gains.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 17, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

On Ensign: he's talking about it now in the hopes it will blow over by the time the field gets set for 2012. Faced with announcing now or hoping it doesn't come out, announcing now is the obvious strategy.

vboomes: perhaps indeed.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 17, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Always glad to hear from Mark_in_ Austin. Don't always agree with him, but he's a voice of reasonableness, civility and well thought out postings. Maybe I am little biased, but people who have been in the military seem a lot more intellectually sharp than their civilian counterparts.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 17, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

So, are the Republicans going to turn their backs and kick John Ensign out of their political party,
like the Democratics did to John Edwards?

Posted by: Cherubim | June 17, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

No dganderson, I did not. I correctly predicted we would have our clocks clean. I missed 06, didn't see it coming, the same as dems not seeing it coming now. This country is more conservative than their government at this time, unless the economy does a quick turnaround, the dems are doomed for 2010.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 17, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

CC wrote:

Wednesday's Fix Picks: How much would you pay for an official Fix t-shirt? $100? $200? $10?

I won one and never received it. I would pay postage for mine if that is the issue, CC.
------------------------------------------------------------
"admittance" should be replaced by "admission". "No admittance without a ticket" may have become a common usage, but "admittance against political interest" has not - at least not yet.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Threadjack warning.

When JB voted for appropriations for our troops and pointed out to HRC and BHO that their political vote against was irresponsible, I agreed. Some R should now point out that Boehner's stand against funding the troops is irresponsible and puts him with DK. The Rs have always supported IMF in the past and are more the party of free trade than the Ds so their protestations about funding IMF seem like cover, to me. As a matter of fact, many ticket splitters like me never understand not funding the troops and do not like it when Ds and Rs just use that vote for protesting some other perceived flaw. We also would like clean bills without other stuff attached, of course, and I am not dismissing that the remaining isolationist wing of the Rs would welcome strangling IMF. Still, that has not been R policy, which in this regard has been driven more by Wall Street than Main Street. Again, to be fair, D policy is driven more by Wall Street than by its so called major constituency, labor.

I sure don't much like the parties this morning, do I?
-------------------------------
Personally, I think this second Ensign thread is so bare of essence that I look fwd to the next thread and hope that it will be about something other than personal peccadillios. Vbhoomes, we know that the Ds will inevitably screw up and the Rs will inevitably find a message and a messenger - but I am guessing a longer
time frame than two years. I know from having lived a long time that you could be right, however.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | June 17, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I've just been "Born Again"! Can I drop my drawers and become a member of the "Traveling Talleywhackers". Well, at least he didn't apparently have the affiar in an airport loo. Family values? Gotta love 'em!

Posted by: NotBubba | June 17, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

BTW: I would pay $20 for an official T-Shirt.

Posted by: JakeD | June 17, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes didn't you same the same thing about 2008? Next verse same as the first just a little louder and a little worse.

Posted by: dganderson13 | June 17, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

News of Ensign's affair just underlines the problems Republicans face in redefining themselves. They've grafted the party to social values as defined by the Bible, while consistently producing examples to the contrary. The GOP offers little else in terms of 'policy' leaving the public to wonder what they stand for outside of this hypocrisy...

Posted by: RickJ | June 17, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I give Ensign credit for not allowing himself to be blackmailed, but he needs to pack it in as far as Presidential ambitions. Having affair where most of your citizens live in Sin City probably will not be a career ender, but we will see. For all of you people who think the GOP will be a minority party for years, I just want to see you on this blog come November 2010. Going to be a lot of crying amongst the liberal chattering class.

Posted by: vbhoomes | June 17, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The other thing about politicians have extramarital affairs: everybody knows it's been going on forever. It's just part of the politician's particular brand of hypocrisy. You've got McCain, Newt, even Ike had a mistress -- the list is endless, and there are as many God-fearing conservatives on the list as there are reformist liberals.

I think it's a sign of maturity when a country stops paying so much attention to this sort of thing. You notice France and Italy have, but they're older cultures. Of course, that would compel conservative politicos to drop some of the holier-than-thou stance, but I suspect the voters would applaud that.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 17, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Ensign's fine as far as Nevada GOP-leaning voters go; the state's more politically than socially conservative. Same was true (to a lesser extent) with Vitter in Louisiana. Now Kansas is a different matter entirely...

The difficulty for Ensign is when he steps on to the national stage, where he's trying to impress conservative voters from the Bible Belt. Against somebody like Tim Pawlenty or Mike Huckabee, he doesn't smell so good.

Of course, the way the Party's going, they'll probably nominate Palin or Gingrich anyway.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 17, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

malachhamovess,
good post! Politicians should stick with governing and get out of the business of imposing their "values" onto people. If they can't live by their "values" why should the rest os us.

While I'm at it, for those so called "faith based organizations" it is time you start paying for your own crusades and zealot activities! You guys don't want government in your busines, fair enough but keep your religion out of govwernment. Also, if you want the Democrats to start giving you favorable face time when legislation is being drafted stop badmouthing the president and the Democrats. You guys insult the democrats on one hand and beg for money & access with the other!

Posted by: SteelWheel25 | June 17, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

P.S. to malachhamovess: because Separation of Church and State has worked out just great so far?

Posted by: JakeD | June 17, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

You forgot to mention "Bill Clinton got elected President twice" in your analysis. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: JakeD | June 17, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

It's the guys who are out there ranting about the sanctity of marriage and the rule of law who are doing their secretaries and pages and film crews or even the paid professionals of the evening.

No one wants to hear your sanctimonious bs anymore; we look to religious leaders for spiritual guidance, and would hope our politicians would stick to the business of government.

Posted by: malachhamovess | June 17, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

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