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John Ensign's Unapologetic Critique



Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign is aiming for a higher national profile. (AP photo by Susan Walsh)

John Ensign wants to make one thing very clear: he's not sorry for saying it was "irresponsible" of President Obama to be seen laughing with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at last week's Summit of the Americas.

"That visual image is going to be used by Chavez to legitimize himself," said the Nevada Republican senator in an interview this week with the Fix. "Maybe if the president gets criticized for doing something like that he will be much more careful in the future."

The Rising

Ensign's controversial critique of Obama -- some wondered about the propriety of criticizing the president while he was in Latin America representing the United States -- is the latest sign that the Nevada Republican is moving quickly to fill the current leadership void within his party.

Ensign himself acknowledges as much -- arguing that without the bully pulpit of the White House it is incumbent upon the Republican Party to elevate new and different voices to counter Obama. "We have a responsibility to get our message out," Ensign asserted.

That message, according to Ensign, needs to be heavily focused on fiscal responsibility -- the elimination of wasteful spending and a reduction in the tax burden in particular.

The culmination of Obama's first 100 days in office -- defined, according to Ensign, by "grotesque borrowing and spending" -- provides Republicans a perfect opportunity to make their case on financial matters by "not only saying how wrong it is but also articulating" policy solutions of their own.

Ensign said he plans to do just that from his perch as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, a post to which he ascended after chairing the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2008. (The party lost seven Senate seats, and potentially eight depending on the outcome in Minnesota, in the last election.)

Asked whether the Republican party had spent too much time on social issues like gay marriage and abortion to the detriment of fiscal policy in recent years, Ensign said that idea was a misreading of actual events since Congress had devoted almost no time to wedge social policy matters in recent years. "This is a few people blowing it out of proportion and the media running with it," said Ensign.

Ensign also rejected the seeming ideological purity test that some within the Republican party have subjected their leaders to in recent years, insisting that "if you find someone who agrees with you 80 percent of the time that is your friend not your enemy." (Worth noting: in National Journal's 2008 vote ratings, Ensign is tied for the top spot as the most conservative senator in the chamber.)

Combine Ensign's stepped-up national profile, his electoral successes -- four years in the House, two terms in the Senate -- in a swing state, his mix of political and policy expertise and his good looks (he looks a little like James Brolin) and you start to see why some people have begun to buzz about him as a possible candidate for national office down the line.

Ensign is doing little to quiet that talk, traveling to Iowa on June 1 as part of the American Future Fund's Conservative Lecture Series. (As we have said before in this space, NO politician goes to Iowa by accident. It just doesn't happen.)

When asked directly about his presidential ambitions, Ensign said that most children dream of being president one day (The Fix dreamed of being Julius Erving) and that it was "not something I would ever rule out."

One potential hurdle to Ensign's ascendancy is his relationship with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.). Since the two men ran against one another in 1998, they have hewed to an unspoken truce of not speaking ill of the other either in the state or nationally. Reid is despised by the conservative base of the party and his reelection race is a major target for national Republicans in 2010.

Watch to see how much (or little) Ensign does to recruit and aid a serious challenge to Reid. That may tell us all we need to know about the depth of his national ambitions.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 23, 2009; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  The Rising  
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Next: Parsing the Polls: Obama on the Right Track

Comments

""how can you be pro-life (abortion issue) but then turn around and condone torture?"
-----
Actually it would be more apt to say "Pro-Birth"

Posted by: JRM2 | April 23, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

John Ensign: just your below average,pretty-boy veterinarian-turned-politician with no vision,devoid of any perceivable clout other than that which is bought and paid for by Steve Wynn.

Posted by: klowry57 | April 23, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Ensign: "That visual image is going to be used by Chavez to legitimize himself," said the Nevada Republican senator in an interview this week with the Fix.

May I say to the senator that Chavez is already legitimate. He is the elected PRESIDENT of Venezuela. Last I checked, that is a country with citizens of voting age, not a constituent of dittoheads!

Posted by: hadelaide | April 23, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

ENSIGN HONEY

THE GOP IS O V E R!! YOU NOW LIVE IN A DEMOCRATIC STATE AND WILL LOSE IN 2010, BIG TIME.
THIS IS A MULTI ETHNIC, MULTI RACIAL COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY THE EVER GROWING LARGE HISPANIC POPULATION IN THE SOUTHWEST. THEY'LL NEVER, EVER VOTE FOR YOU, EVER.
YOU ALREADY LOST WITH YOUR VIEWS ON THINGS, SO, SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.

YOU CLOWNS HAD 8 YEARS AND YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT EVERY SINGLE THING

Posted by: Cookie100 | April 23, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ensign, man, you have the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. You and the gov of Nevada are both going to lose, big time.
I've sent him images of the foloowing:

Nixon smiling with Kruschev (around 1958 or so when he was VP);
Nixon in China;
Nixon with Brehznev;
Reagan smiling with Gorbachev;
W kissing the Saudi King (yes kissing French style on each cheek and holding his hand!)
Rummy with Saddam shaking his hand;
W with the dictator of Uzbekistan;

Also remind Ensign that unlike Bush in 2000,Chavez was elected by a majority of the people in his country. He may be a socialist, but he is an elected one. Also remind this pinhead that Venezuela sells about half its oil to ------the US.

Posted by: Cookie100 | April 23, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Chris C. is good at dragging some new dork into the spotlight.. I'm always amazed at the number of inane bores are available to provide fodder for the tedious work of the political wonk reporter.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 23, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Fix Jr. can grow up to be Lebron James...

Posted by: tunamcdermot | April 23, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Note to Ensign. Please answer these six questions before you declare you are running for president because inquiring minds want to know:
1. Did you know that Obama smiles at everyone? It's part of his optimistic style. Only angry Repugs interpret THIS smile as having some special socialist karma. Ask people in other parts of the world if you are unsure of this.
2. Is this criticism of the president's smile the best you can manage? Should we expect this same level of pettiness in the future from you when you are running your covert campaign for the presidency?
3. Does the election of fewer GOP senators reflect on your leadership of the senate re-election campaign...or did you lose to that dastardly smile of Obama's?
4. As the most conservative senator, your views on social issues that you say the GOP hasn't pursued would be interesting to understand. Would you please share them?
5. Where were you during the presidential campaign that you missed Palin et al. talking ad nauseum about social issues?
6. Now that you're heading the GOP policy committee, can we expect more in the way of policies or is your reference to "message" genuinely singular, a re-tread of the low-taxes mantra? I wasn't aware that high spending in D.C. started with Obama. I could have sworn that Bush ran two wars "off the books" and expanded the federal govt. more than any predecessor. Guess I was mis-remembering. ;-)

Posted by: bweyand1 | April 23, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"LVbearAM said: As a Nevadan who has lived in the Silver State for most of his life, I would warn others outside Nevada they underestimate John Ensign at their own peril."

Dude, that is ridiculous. A ridiculous threat! First of all, this is the first time we are hearing him in national public or news... and guess what? He sounds uninformed, neo-con and RETARDED! And if your Nevada voters place him in ANY public office longer than 2010, you all better think of your own peril! But he wouldn't make the primaries -- he's too stupid! Think Palin...

Posted by: darmar40 | April 23, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

oh goody...
class time again!!! there will be a quiz later....

Terrorism-political violence.
-violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes

Terror-intense fear
-to inspire or instill fear. Intense or overwhelming fear

Fascism-dictatorial movement.
-any movement, ideology, or attitude that favors dictatorial government, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism.

Socialism-political system of communal ownership.
-a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

Nationalism-desire for political independence – patriotism
-the desire to achieve political independence, especially by a country under foreign control or by a people with a separate identity and culture but no state of their own.

Federalism-political system/doctrine
-a political system in which several states or regions defer some powers, e.g. in foreign affairs, to a central government while retaining a limited measure of self-government.

Militarism-pursuit of military aims, strong influence of military government
-a high level of influence by military personnel and ideals on the government or policies of a country or state.
-the pursuit or celebration of military ideals.

Communism-one party state Marxist Leninist system
-any system of government in which a single, usually totalitarian, party holds power, and the state controls the economy.
-the Marxist-Leninist version of a classless society in which capitalism is overthrown by a working-class revolution that gives ownership and control of wealth and property to the state.

Republic-political system of elected representatives
-a political system or form of government in which people elect representatives to exercise power for them.
-a country or other political unit whose government or political system is that of a republic.
-a constituent political and territorial unit of a national federation or union.

Democracy-free and equal representation of people. – democratic system of government – control of organization by members.
-the free and equal right of every person to participate in a system of government, often practiced by electing representatives of the people by the majority of the people.
-a system of government based on the principle of majority decision-making.
the control of an organization by its members, who have a free and equal right to participate in decision-making processes

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Osama is to Neocons what abortion is to pro-lifers and what socialism is to facists...Mother's milk and a reason for living.

Take the "pet cause" away and the fountains of cash will slowly slow to a trickle.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Politi-Facts:

Truth-O-Meter Says:

Mostly True

President Obama said "Venezuela is a country whose defense budget is probably 1/600th of the United States."

Barack Obama on Sunday, April 19th, 2009 in a news conference.
-------

Posted by: omaarsblade | April 23, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The tallest criminal in Pakistan is a free man after an 8 year manhunt...

This illustrates the value of torture.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah...
go read the book....it's great

HOUSE OF BUSH
HOUSE OF SAUD


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

analogy:
*we did what we did at Gitmo because the info. we got kept America safe, thwarted other attacks, and the info. we got helped round up islamic extremists.

*we enacted the USA Patriot Act because we had to SAVE citizens from terrorism on American soil.

if you believe both of the above statements-
you have been duped, fooled, the wool has been pulled over your eyes, you believed what the press reported, you did not do your homework, or you are deaf, dumb and blind.


even today's capture of Bagdaddy was a joke. he was their sacrifice.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

GOP has been in control 20 of the last 28 years - most with
a friendly Congress. Obama has been in 3 months.
Enough said ? You figure it out.

Posted by: dianhow | April 23, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Lets see Fascist - commie- socialist - not like us- terrorist - has the far right ran out of dumb names yet ? Fact
Bush / Bush / Cheney policies brought the country to the brink of disaster. . Reagan- Bush W were in power 20 of the last 28 years- so who was it again who caused this crisis.
Can Americans think and reason anymore.?
Or have we all dumbed down ?

Posted by: dianhow | April 23, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"WRONG. Torture, since the days of the Inquisition, has been used to elicit FALSE confessions."

Yeah, I don't agree that torture is especially useful for gaining information.

But if I'm someone who doesn't know much history, I wouldn't have a hard time reconciling pro-life views with torture techniques I view as life saving.

I'd be mistaken, but not hypocritical.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 23, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse


"It is really pitiful to rant and rave on anonymous blogs all day with spite, envy and hatred"

Yes, we know, and we pity you zouk.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Wait I got it wrong, he could not have even made Ensign. I searched and can find no record of his serving in the military. Just another Republican Chicken Hawk?

Posted by: Billy1932 | April 23, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Zouk...You talk about anonymous rant but last time I checked YOUR profile was blank.

The top GOP stories today: Sebalius Blocked and Obama Mocked.

The non-story: Limbaugh Calls Obama "The Enemy"

The Grand OLD Party! No to progress and yes to sedition. Heckuva job Pubs.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Torture or not ? Interrogation agents have said over and over Torture does NOT work -it yields false info. This just out. Cheney / Rummy pressured agents to force prisoners to admit a connection between Sadaam & Al Qaeda -- and they found NONE ! Iraq war based on lies and more lies. Soliers killed maimed and brain injured.
Cheney is on FOX noise smearing our new President. who is working hard to move correct the sins of Bush & CO.
Cheney is now a US security risk . He's telling the world Attack us- we are weak ! How dare he try to undermine the US that way. No one politician has ever done that.
Cheney is a broken down mean corrupt disgraceful .excuse for a man.


Posted by: dianhow | April 23, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

hey drivl - get a life.

It is really pitiful to rant and rave on anonymous blogs all day with spite, envy and hatred. find someone to love . try bathing first. then a shave. and perhaps some fresh air.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

GOP LEADERSHIP: He's good at criticizing.

Posted by: TOMHERE | April 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

We have been warned not to underestimate him. With his mind he will be an Ensign for life, never make LtJg.

Posted by: Billy1932 | April 23, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"how can you be pro-life (abortion issue) but then turn around and condone torture?"

Because torture may lead to life-saving information?"

WRONG. Torture, since the days of the Inquisition, has been used to elicit FALSE confessions.

Just like it was used by Republicans to drum up fake reasons to invade Iraq.

REPUBLICANS = INQUISITORS. sounds about right.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

All this GOP created nonsense about a hand shake . Bush & W sucked up to the Saudi Royal Family for eons. Polls show Obama's approval rating at 65 % . With each poll, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter - aka the GOP mount pieces say more and more outlandish things. Reasonable folks see this for what it is. Desperation & Panic - that they may lose again in 2010 . Beware - the far right will DO / SAY ANYTHING
TO GET POWER / CONTROL BACK> as they've had 20 of the last 28 years - most with a friendly Congress.
Fact : GOP in power 20 years- Obama in power 3 months.
Go figure it out yourself.

Posted by: dianhow | April 23, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

As a Nevadan who has lived in the Silver State for most of his life, I would warn others outside Nevada they underestimate John Ensign at their own peril.
In 1994, Ensign won the Las Vegas area House seat that was held by a Democratic incumbent (James Bilbray). Four years later, Harry Reid defeated Ensign for the U.S. Senate by just 428 votes. But Ensign won Nevada's other Senate seat just two years later--and defeated his Democratic rival (Las Vegas attorney Ed Bernstein) by 15 points.
I also agree that the 2010 election will tell the story of Ensign's desire for national office--if Ensign leads a serious GOP challenge against Reid. That's a big "if" right now, because many top Republicans are backing the majority leader, and it may be hard to recruit someone from the GOP ranks to run against Reid.
But I repeat: Underestimate John Ensign at your own peril--and that goes for Republicans as well as Democrats.

Posted by: LVbearAM | April 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"McCarthy was right."

That about sums up the right-wing these days. Good luck with that.

Posted by: goexplode | April 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"how can you be pro-life (abortion issue) but then turn around and condone torture?"

Because torture may lead to life-saving information?

Posted by: DDAWD | April 23, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

When Limbaugh called Obama "the enemy" yesterday, I just about ran off the road.

What's next for the king of "entertainment" and self described "leader" of the GOP?

He's told 'em the what...All that's lacking is the how.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"McCarthy was right."

OH YEAH! We got us a live one here, folks. An admiited fascist-- a McCarthyite. How many communists in Congress, Virginia -- 59, was it -- from the scene in the Manchurian candidates.

So are you a HItler and Mussolini fan too?

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Does the continuous presence of king_of_zouk and his merry band of apparently paid disinformation agents mean there is disloyalty and insubordination in the ranks... an indication of an incipient coup d'etet?

I mean, wouldn't these disinfo trolls have put on the white hat by now?

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

No, you must be thinking of your pigeons, zouk.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse


"The voices on the 'Rabid Right' should be a bit more educated in their accusations--this is McCarty-era rabble rousing of the worst and most irresponsible kind "

Ever read the Venona Papers?

McCarthy was right.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | April 23, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it sound to everybody here that the wingnuts are trying to get some fellow nut riled up enough to try to 'take out' 'the enemy' --Obama?

I got an email from Newsmax today entitled, "A Call to Arms" --shouldn't some of these folks like Limbaigh be on trial for sedition?

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

drivl, don't you have a couple hundred cats to feed?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse


hey drindl:
and you know what was GREAT about that handshake with Chavez.....
it was a "soul" handshake...not the usual right hand political bull** shake.

thumb shake or something...don't know what it is called.

and they were laughing (like they were agreeing with each other on a topic - such as - sports or something)

i looked at the picture and thought - they are having a "moment" on something they find mutually funny.
i immediately thought "cool"...not "WTF are you doing".

i bet that handshake - that has all the repulsives SHAKING IN THEIR SHOEs - was something related to ..
agreeing on a topic;
such as "did you see Josh Brolin in "W" - wasn't it great?"
OR
"man, cheney is in alot of trouble and I'm so glad".

who knows what conversation pre-empted that handshake.
it's one reason i cannot fathom where the heck the repulsives are really "comin' from these days". Their ideas of the events that are taking place are so way off base.....it's like they are living in 1951.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ensign is just another member of the hyper-partisan right wing crowd who can't stop saying "no" to Obama.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | April 23, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"That visual image is going to be used by Chavez to legitimize himself."

If he had a picture of President Obama smirking or sneering or giving him the evil eye, how would that help us?

It's funny to see the party that claims they want less regulation, less interference, objecting that the president (or anyone else) had the wrong expression on his face.

Posted by: DoTheMath | April 23, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

One lives in hope, dirndl!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | April 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse


"The voices on the 'Rabid Right' should be a bit more educated in their accusations--this is McCarty-era rabble rousing of the worst and most irresponsible kind "

That's asking too much of rabble and trailer trash.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

i dreamed of dancing with the Rahmbo.
oh yeah......

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

It's NOT okay to shake hands with a trading partner's democratically elected president. Check.

It IS okay to kiss the lips and stroll hand in hand with a Saudi prince/dictator enemy [9/11] like Bush did. Check.

No hypocrisy here.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris, how would it be, in your role of political wunderkind, if you made clear to the public and your readers that 'socialism' is an almost total OPPOSITE of 'fascism'?

The Nazis were fascists. Mussolini's and Gen. Franco's governments and, more contemporaneously, Kim Jong-Il's government were/are fascist regimes (it might even be argued by some--not me, of course--that the Bush Administration tilted perilously closely to areas of Fascism). I'm aware that Kim's government, since it espouses Communist ideals is a confusing anomoly, but the strong, deified central leader, the glorified military, the 'voicelessness' of the North Korean people argue in favour of a unique, if not prototypical, type of Fascism

Socialism, which differs considerably from Communism, is much the polar opposite of Fascism--viz., Sweden, etc.

The point is, it is IMPOSSIBLE to simultaneously be a Socialist AND a Fascist. One must be one or the other--OR NEITHER.

The voices on the 'Rabid Right' should be a bit more educated in their accusations--this is McCarty-era rabble rousing of the worst and most irresponsible kind (and, were this truly a Fascist regime, would be immediately and harshly suppressed), and I, for one, am finding it very, very tiresome.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | April 23, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

(laughing heartily)))
no, actually, i looked it up..

zouk means "yabba dabba do, i'm a basket case" in caveman.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

on the other thread, nano4 brings up a good point on repulsives (and possibly others)...

how can you be pro-life (abortion issue) but then turn around and condone torture?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh said on yesterday's broadcast that Obama was "the enemy"...There are wingnuts all over this country waiting on "go" from the GOP "leadership".

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Does "Zouk" mean bu**sh*t in some fascist language?

Posted by: ducbil | April 23, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

So it's OK for Republican Presidents to smile and bow to Communist DICTATORS like Mao and if Obama actually smiles when he shakes hands with an ELECTED official that's not OK.

Talk about your revisionist history.

The thing I can't stomach about the GOP is hypocracy.

Posted by: willandjansdad1 | April 23, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"John Ensign is a dirty word. The Post should've censored this.

Posted by: mbmclaughlin | April 23, 2009 1:50 PM |"
---
Like, "I had to wipe my Ensign"?

Posted by: JRM2 | April 23, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Now that we have found out, that the dem leadership signed off on waterboarding"
Posted by: vbhoomes | April 23, 2009 11:21 AM |"
------
You have absolutely no knowledge of what you are talking about here AND if it were true, then bring 'em to justice, all of them.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 23, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

TEAM OBAMA: How about the Bush-Era HOMELAND TORTURE?


Bush-Cheney- spawned torture is NOT just a foreign affair.

The "Extrajudicial Punishment Network" it created or expanded enables citizen vigilantes affiliated with federally-funded volunteer community policing and public safety groups to stalk, harass, terrorize -- and YES, torture.

This "American Gestapo" has co-opted and corrupted local law enforcement nationwide -- a grassroots-based authoritarian apparatus "hiding in plain sight."

Please, White House staff, read this. Your Bush holdovers already know all about it.

What have they told YOU?


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
http://nowpublic.com/world/bush-torture-memos-oked-radiation-weapon-use-americans-too

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse


condie rice is the next one taking the fall for cheney.

she verbally authorized torture. press story of yesterday

so cheney is lining up his "colleagues" for the fall.

love being colleagues of those republicans.

michael j. fox in american president:
"It's always someone like me who ends up doing 9 months in danville minimum security prison"

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Carter came into office with a national debt of $718 billion (35.4% of GDP). He left office with a national debt of $930 billion (33.3% of GDP). The tax and spend Democrats left the country with less debt as a percent of its income than it started with. Reagan and Bush I left office with a national debt of $4.18 trillion (65.9% of GDP). The fiscally conservative Republicans more than quadrupled the debt (or doubled as a percent of income.) Clinton left office with a national debt of $5.66 trillion (57.7% of GDP.) Once again the tax and spend Democrats lowered debt as a percentage of income. Bush II left office with a national debt of $10.7 trillion (or 78.1% of GDP.)

I trust the Republicans on money as much as I trust a promise from Eric Cartman of South Park. The Republicans have had veto power over the budget for 20 of the last 32 years and what have they done? Why do I trust them now to be fiscally sound managers of the Republic's finances? John Ensign can talk all he wants about fiscal responsibility, they have had 28 years and done nada. Now, the one time in seventy years when I agree we need to run deficits, he gets fiscal religion. Get a clue! It is not what you say it is what you do and you haven't done anything.

Posted by: caribis | April 23, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I watched Ensign get torched by Mathews last night, the GOP is making a huge mistake by trying to justify torture, they will be fighting for their lives because no one will want to be associated with the Republican party if convictions come down.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 23, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama, two polls 63% and 64% approval rating, 7 out of 10 like him (the man) and the majority believes we are now headed in the right direction.

Sometimes it's hard to cut through the noise of hate but...
Republicans, are you listening yet?


Posted by: JRM2 | April 23, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

John Ensign is a dirty word. The Post should've censored this.

Posted by: mbmclaughlin | April 23, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"President Obama will make clear to credit card executives today that he intends to back efforts to crack down on deceptive practices, even as the industry criticizes legislation in the House of Representatives as 'dangerous to the nation's hopes for an economic recovery'.

The House Financial Services Committee yesterday approved a Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights that would prevent such practices as arbitrarily raising interest rates on existing balances, assessing late fees if not enough time was given to pay, and charging interest on debts already paid."

And guess which party is fighting a bill to protect consumers from predatory practices? What a surprise -- it's the party of NO.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse


Last week, conservatives were complaining Obama was establishing a socialistic fascist dictatorship.
This week, conservatives are complaining Obama does not want to torture his opponents.

Hard to keep track.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Boehner admits US tortures:

"While cable news outlets and major newspapers continue to use euphemisms such as "harsh interrogation tactics" to describe the Bush administration's approach to intelligence gathering, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) used a more succinct term Thursday: "torture."

"Last week, they released these memos outlining torture techniques. That was clearly a political decision and ignored the advice of their Director of National Intelligence and their CIA director," Boehner said at a press conference in the Capitol."

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I can get Ensign's tortured logic straight - Obama laughing around Chavez, who for all his whackiness is a democratically elected leader and not some brutal thug dictator, is BAD. Reagan laughing and shaking hands with Gorbachev is good. Rummy laughing and shaking hands with Saddam Husein also good.

What do the Republicans want for Obama to spit literally in the face of Chavez? If he did that - and he wouldn't because he has too much class - then the Republicans would critize Obama for being rude to heads of state. You know the Democratic party in 2004 was a just say no to Bush party and it didn't do too well either.

Posted by: dre7861 | April 23, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The party of NO intends to stop you from getting decent health care. Why? Just because.

"As Senate Democrats move closer to using reconciliation to pass health care reform this year, key GOP Senators are signaling plans to avenge the move by employing parliamentary tactics to trip up even the most noncontroversial of agenda items."

In other words, they will not pass legislation they beleive in themselves, to keep Obama from achieving anything for this country. They want this country to fail so they can say Obama failed.

Why do Republicans hate America so much?

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I find it odd that Ensign would call Chavez a dictator when Ensign has never won an election by the margins that Chavez has won. For those who say the elections are rigged then why did Chavez lose a referendum a couple of years ago. We may not like his policies but to say he is a dictator is so false that it ruins our credibility. I am sure we can engage Chavez in a productive manner and I am proud of our President. Something I cannot say about the party of NO

Posted by: bradcpa | April 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

As a resident of Nevada, I can assure everyone that John Ensign is just a carbon copy of the failed GOP prototypes who painted our society into the corner we are presently in.

The responses to my inquiries from his office are monotonous and lack substance and vision.

I am sure he is an appealing prospect to the ultra-conservatives. The status quo is their cloak of invincibility.

As for, "swing voters", like myself, I have tasted of his brand of tactics too many times.

I am ready for a new recipe on my political menu.

Posted by: foothillbill | April 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

There's no longer two parties. There's the Democrats and then there's the escapees from the Marquis De Sade's Asylum.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Are you "liberals" listening yet?
You will be next."

Every hate-filled rightwing post on here only convinces me further that the republican party has become a haven for violently dangerous lunatics.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

some wondered about the propriety of criticizing the president while he was in Latin America representing the United States

When did this unique notion ever enter into the left's mindset? With the election of a socialist?

Do we need to stroll down memory lane and consider the number of leftists who excoriated Bush abroad - at EVERY opportunity?

Calling Ensign's critisism controversial, is like calling Miss California's statement on same sex marriage controversial.. Its a matter of perspective. To the majority of Californians, who voted down prop 8, her comments were mainstream. To an ugly, agenda driven, perverted segment of the media, its controversial.

Well, Ensign has the right to his comments. Just like you people commented on Bush.

What goes around comes around. We are not going to respect this loser of a president just because you want us to. He is going to have to prove himself to be a patriotic American who puts America first before he will get deserved respect.

So far, he is far, far from that.

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | April 23, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

hold the phone here:

"So it's treason for a senator to criticize the president while he's abroad, but it's nothing for a president to repeatedly criticize the USA while HE's abroad?"
--okay, I want to know how and where President Obama "repeatedly criticized the USA". President Obama has been in front of thousands and has stated the truth.
He has stated the truth. What paradox are you living in? Oh I get it, the bowing to the Saudi Arabia king is criticizing the USA.

"Or to sit quitely, with a silly grin, while a communist presedente tears the US a new one?"
---and this happened by whom and where? Have you ever seen or read the UN transcripts of the Bush administration?

The Brave New World of "liberal" openmindedness--with a one-way valve, of course--once again reveals its Chris Matthews-style "thrill going up its leg" when the Hate America First crowd sings its old songs.
---better to be openminded than anal retentive with "you will live our conservative way of life at all costs" mentality.

"Obama loves Chavez because Chavez is his role model. Obama was punked by Chavez, and Hugo is still his hero".
--and you get your source from where now?
One hand shake and you have them in bed with each other. PUHLEEZE

"Obama's puppet apparatchik Napoleon-itano meanwhile declares any potential opposition from the right as thought crime."
----((cough cough)--have you read the report? Have you read that every american white boy supremacist militia member is vying for a spot to be the one that pulls the trigger on our President.
Shades of Dallas for all you prejudice repulsives. You are the FINEST, aren't you?

Are you "liberals" listening yet?
You will be next.
Not a chance. Your head is too big of a target and blocks me.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

According to the Republicans, the president can't do a danged thang right. He be damned if he do, damned if he do not. If he scratches his azz, the Republic harangue starts in quadrophonic sound. And who is this new voice? Whadda dope.

He does have the right to his opinion and to express it.

I say, "...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | April 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

bsimon and drindl:
if i ever meet you, remind never to shake your hands

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

So it's treason for a senator to criticize the president while he's abroad, but it's nothing for a president to repeatedly criticize the USA while HE's abroad? Or to sit quitely, with a silly grin, while a communist presedente tears the US a new one?
The Brave New World of "liberal" openmindedness--with a one-way valve, of course--once again reveals its Chris Matthews-style "thrill going up its leg" when the Hate America First crowd sings its old songs. Obama loves Chavez because Chavez is his role model. Obama was punked by Chavez, and Hugo is still his hero. Obama's puppet apparatchik Napoleon-itano meanwhile declares any potential opposition from the right as thought crime. Are you "liberals" listening yet?
You will be next.

Posted by: PONCHOVILLA | April 23, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse


and one more oldie:

"As the history of the past 30 years shows, those people "willing to point out the problem" are called Republicans. The ones doing something about it are called Democrats..."

Republicans whine, Democrats get things done. Just like always.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

here's my answer to cons:

"If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.” ~ John F. Kennedy, 1960"

Nothing changes, does it?

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

GET A LIFE ENSIGN.
Your assumptions are illogical and dumb.
I am really getting sick of dealing with dumb freaks (male and female) all over the place.
It is called LOGIC. Do you have it?
Obviously not.
"That visual image is going to be used by Chavez to legitimize himself," said the Nevada Republican senator in an interview this week with the Fix.
--LET IT! Let Chavez use it for anything he wants. President Obama never backs down from "mis-representation" of any kind. He states the truth right off the bat on most of these "stupid little opinions and press stories". He nips it. And make no mistake, our President WILL come out and say something if Chavez crosses any line.

"Maybe if the president gets criticized for doing something like that he will be much more careful in the future."

CRAM IT ! All you (Ensign and repulsives) are doing is criticizing this President -who has a garbage dump full of sh&&& to deal with right now.
Maybe if the republicans get criticized ENOUGH about "pulling a president down", for doing something like "pulling a president down"--YOU, repulsives will be more careful in the future.

How does it look for these dumb a&& republicans to be knocking the President and the highest institution of the USA. I would be more afraid of that.

Ensign, go buy an Apple IPOD that has "shaken baby video game" on it.
Because you are as dumb as those Apple people.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | April 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The republican party doesn't need new messengers. It needs new messages.

Posted by: Frazil | April 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"That message, according to Ensign, needs to be heavily focused on fiscal responsibility -- the elimination of wasteful spending and a reduction in the tax burden in particular."

The problem with this message is that the GOP doesn't have a lot of credibility on fiscal responsibility given the GWB years. Reduction of the tax burden, yes, but elimination of wasteful spending? Not a chance.

In regards to Chavez, perhaps Ensign thinks that those ~200,000 low-income households that received discounted heating oil from Citgo/Venezuela should have forgone heating their homes to avoid "legitimizing" Chavez as well.

Posted by: mnteng | April 23, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

'policy expertise' ????

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: mycomment | April 23, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The Republican party of late seems mainly populated by straw men, red herrings, chickens, loons, boogeymen and rabid pit bulls.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"Chavez is going to use the image of him with Obama to "legitimize himself"? He's the democratically elected president of Venezuela, a country that's gained a fair amount of power in recent years. Chavez has plenty of legitimacy already. And he doesn't gain any more by shaking hands with Obama. World leaders always shake hands and act friendly to each other. That's diplomacy."


Given the Romney & Ensign reactions to the new administration's diplomatic efforts, I can't help but wonder what they're thinking. Do they expect to establish foreign policy creds by saying they're afraid to shake Chavez's hand? WTF are they thinking? "This is how you show 'em yer tough! You don't shake hands, you just look 'em in they eye and measure their souls. Its an old ninja trick I learned in my college fraternity. Works every time."

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Haha, it just makes my day to see th ol' king of puke writhing in impotent and irrelevant fury. The country left your kind behind, loser. Burst a vein for all I care.

Posted by: benjaminanderson | April 23, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

James Brolin should sue the Fix; Ensign looks more like an older, gray-haired Herb Tarlek from WKRP, with a better tailor. His attempted defense of torture last night on Hardball was appalling.

Posted by: umprof | April 23, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting article from the MN Post explaining why the rule of law matters:

http://www.minnpost.com/stories/2009/04/23/8283/states_human_rights_advocates_say_us_terrorism_policies_complicate_saberi_case

Summary: a US journalist was arrested in Iran for buying a bottle of wine. In a secret trial she was sentenced to 8 years in prison for espionage. The concern, by some observers, is that we don't have a very strong case to criticize Iran's legal process because of the way we've treated the people incarcerated at Gitmo: secret trials, secret evidence, lack of habeus corpus.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Chavez is going to use the image of him with Obama to "legitimize himself"? He's the democratically elected president of Venezuela, a country that's gained a fair amount of power in recent years. Chavez has plenty of legitimacy already. And he doesn't gain any more by shaking hands with Obama. World leaders always shake hands and act friendly to each other. That's diplomacy.

The GOP doesn't need new spokesmen. It needs new ideas. And Ensign doesn't seem to have anything to offer.

Posted by: Blarg | April 23, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

hey, king_of_puke, your mom's yelling downstairs for you. She made your lunch and it's ready now.

Posted by: jasperanselm | April 23, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Oh great, Just what we need in these trying times, another "wrong headed" Republican Bush wannabe spewing claptrap obstructionist rhetoric!

Posted by: Badwisky | April 23, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

As a Nevada resident I have to say that when you look for substance and logic behind Ensign's utterings, you will find there is no 'there' there. Just review his tortured interview with Chris Matthews yesterday - subject - release of the torture documents. Of course, lack of intellect has not been a disqualifier when running for National Office.

Posted by: jdrd58 | April 23, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I can't see where he fits in if Huntsman runs. Both are from the midwest and Huntsman has a much broader appeal I think. Plus he comes off as a used car salesman.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 23, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

drivl is off her meds again. keep your head down.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

BTW, great photo of Ensign, you cannot see the strings attached to him or Rush Limpbaw pulling them behind the curtain.

Posted by: free-donny | April 23, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who feels he has to justify the torture policies of the previous administration is not a true leader. He is merely a party hack. Ensign is no leader.

Posted by: chlind | April 23, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Not sure Ensign's whining about Obama is going to make any difference. His talk about fiscal responsibility is ludicrous, given W's wasteful spending over 8 years. The Republicans want to pretend W's administration never happened... Sorry GOP, but the public does. And with Obama enjoying very positive ratings, the ravings from these lunatics (Cheney, Ensign, Limbaugh, Gingrich) will only appeal to the remaining nut jobs that classify themselves as Republicans..

bsimon1 has it right: the GOP needs a strategy beyond 'us good and them bad.'

Posted by: RickJ | April 23, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Briefly, Ensign contiunes to prove himself in the Bushie mold. He is where the GOP needs to move on from ...a disasterous position. They need to move on to a place where Ensign would not be elected dog-catcher...and perhaps they could win some elections.

Using one of the U.S. largest business partners for a boogey-man is SO Bush/Cheney(9% of our oil comes from Venezuela).

Posted by: free-donny | April 23, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The Republican party's new tagline, brought to you by Thought Police Commandant Rush:

WINGNUTZ R US

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

And the times they are a changin...

"A new poll finds about half of New Jersey voters support allowing gay couples to marry.

The Quinnipiac University Poll results are similar to a Monmouth University poll in
February.

The latest poll finds 49 percent support gay marriage while 43 percent are opposed.

New Jersey lawmakers are likely to consider a gay marriage bill later this year."

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

talk about shriveling to utter irrelevance. take a look at the lib cable shows, NBC news, the NYTImes, all the mouthpieces of looniness - heading for the dustbin because they used to be funny, now just annoying.

Just like drivl. Anger, envy, hate and idiocy is not a policy prescription, although it did win the election for you.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

armpeg, hate to be the one to break this to ya but NO-ONE is going to knock george w. bush off his perch as the worst president EVER anytime soon.

Posted by: jasperanselm | April 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Now that we have found out, that the dem leadership signed off on waterboarding and other enhanced interrogations, will Drindl and other libs demand the prosecution of Nancy Pelosi, Jay Rockerfeller, etc. Apparently their only concern was that it was to soft. Bring on the Hearings, you dems will not be able to stand the heat from your own involvement. Oh, by the way, the only reason LA is still on the map is due to these methods. If the Hollywood libs had their way, they would all now be dead. Umn, on second thought, these methods did go to far.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

No one actually thinks that Congress spends time legislating on wedge issues. It's all about campaign fodder.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 23, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"Last year, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair that he did not "believe" that there had been a case where "any attacks had been disrupted because of intelligence obtained through the coercive methods." John Miller, a spokesman for Mueller, confirmed that position to the New York Times on Tuesday, saying, "The quote is accurate."

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

In October of last year, only 15% of people thought the country was moving in the right direction... but even though the republican party doesn't get it... the american people do -- and they beleive in Obamna.

"A new AP/Gfk poll shows that, "for the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction." Forty-eight percent of Americans say the country is on the right track while 44 percent said the country is headed in the wrong direction. The right track number is up from 40 percent in February, 35 percent in January and just 17 percent in October, 2008."

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

the policy of surrender and defeat on display. I guess the lessons of history are falling on deaf ears, starnge considewring the size of 'em.

National Security: The Justice Department may launch a witch hunt against those who organized the enhanced interrogation of terrorists. That's no way to treat people who saved so many lives. The American public has just seen how policy based on campaign rhetoric can come crashing into the reality of a successful past policy.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Keep it up, Republican party. You can tell when a party is shriveling to the point of utter irrelevance when its leaders start sounding as astoundingly dumb as their dumbest members -- like our poster armpit.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

where will obama liberalism and socialism take us? no need to speculate - look at the data:

MSNBC show host Rachel Maddow has suffered some steep audience erosion in recent months, down more than 40 percent in viewership from her peak last fall during the election.--snip--Maddow was at her worst last week, falsely minimizing the tea parties held across the country as "the fizzle in the drizzle" and mocking the participants.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | April 23, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Ensign's controversial critique of Obama -- some wondered about the propriety of criticizing the president while he was in Latin America representing the United States -- is the latest sign that the Nevada Republican is moving quickly to fill the current leadership void within his party."

SIINCE WHEN DID TREASONOUS CIRITICISM OF THE PRESIDENT WHILE OVERSEAS CONSTITUTE 'LEADERSHIP"

Jesus, CC, has the rightiwng Borg taken over your brain? You get worse every day.

Posted by: drindl | April 23, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

There's not a dimes worth of difference between the Hugo Chavez agenda to nationalize Venezuela and set himelf up as a Hitler, Stalin-like dictator, and Marxist Bozo Obama's plan for America. Obama will go down in America's history as the worst president this country has ever had. Move over Jimmy Carter, here comes Bozo Obama.

Posted by: armpeg | April 23, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

Please immediately post Chris Matthews' evisceration of Ensign on last night's "Hardball."

Dick Cheney with nicer hair.

***

IT'S TIME FOR OBAMA TO TAKE DOWN THE TORTURERS -- ALL OF THEM.

http://nowpublic.com/world/its-time-obama-take-down-torturers-all-them

OR (if links are tortured):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 23, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The Fix writes "[Sen Ensign says] without the bully pulpit of the White House it is incumbent upon the Republican Party to elevate new and different voices to counter Obama. "We have a responsibility to get our message out," Ensign asserted."

First, determine the message. Then you can get it out. I'd recommend that they find areas of policy on which they agree with Obama, rather than criticizing everything and coming across as the whiny party that has no ideas other than "Obama Bad, Us Good".

It seems like poor planning to be against everything the President says or does when he has reasonably high approval ratings and you don't. Further, the electorate seem much more on board with the President's party's ideas than the GOP's. Yet they continue to think its a winning strategy to stay negative. I don't get it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 23, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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