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Sen. John Ensign's affair
What the scandal will cost a Nevada senator considered a rising Republican star
J

ohn Ensign is the new poster boy for Washington hypocrisy, said Max Blumenthal in The Daily Beast. The Nevada Republican senator —who once insisted then-president Bill Clinton should resign after having an affair—admitted Tuesday that he had an extramarital affair with a married campaign staffer. So much for Ensign's 2012 presidential ambitions—you don't build a political career as a darling of the Christian right and defender of the sanctity of marriage and recover from something like this.

Forget the "predicable cries of 'hypocrisy' from leftists," said the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an editorial. In fact, Ensign was probably pushed to go public by opposition "bloodhounds" who got wind of the affair. But "it's worth pointing out that this is a personal matter," so Ensign should stand firm as "one of the more principled spokesmen" in Washington for keeping big government out of our lives—that's what Nevada voters elected him to do, "no matter what his personal imperfections."

Don't worry, John Ensign is unlikely to resign over an extramarital affair, said Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. "This will make for plenty of interesting water-cooler gossip, particularly since Ensign has a penchant for calling on people to resign for various and sundry moral and ethical lapses—notably Larry Craig, Bill Clinton, and Ted Stevens (but not David Vitter)." More significantly, it "certainly would seem to give the Democrats a leg up" when Ensign's term is up in 2012.

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