The Plank

Ensign's Simple Sex

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There's a piece up on Politico about how Sen. John Ensign, having followed the apologize-then-refuse-to-discuss-your-sexcapades lead of colleague David Vitter, looks likely to survive the recent revelations that he had been gettin' a little on the side from a former staffer. 

This seems reasonable to me--more reasonable, in fact, than Vitter's money-for-honey exchanges. Yes, I find men's widespread inability to keep it in their pants as tiresome as the next woman. But if there's any circumstance in which to argue that a politician's private affairs are precisely that, Ensign appears to fit the bill.

Unlike Vitter, he did not break the law by going the hooker route. Unlike Larry Craig, he didn't get himself arrested in a public bathroom for illegally soliciting sex. Unlike Bill Clinton, he didn't, um, prevaricate under oath about diddling an intern. Unlike Mark Foley, he wasn't pervily cruising obscenely young Hill pages. Unlike John Edwards, there are no icky lingering questions about whether he conceived a child with his side-piece and then conspired to hide that fact.

Nope. Ensign just cheated on his wife with an also-married staffer. Classless? Dishonorable? Pathetic? Absolutely. But so are the vast majority of spouses who cheat, and we don't necessarily kick them to the unemployment line. 

There is, of course, always time for additional salacious or criminal details to emerge and give this scandal new legs. Barring that, my bet is on Ensign riding out this one without much grief--except maybe at home with the missus. 

--Michelle Cottle

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