Friday, June 19, 2009

Credibility Hypocrisy

Talk about lost credibility:

Ensign resigns from GOP leadership after affair


A former campaign aide to Sen. John Ensign confirmed her involvement Wednesday in an extramarital affair with the conservative Republican, lamented his decision to "air this very personal matter" and said she eventually would tell her side of the story.

An attorney for Cindy Hampton and her husband, Doug, issued a statement on their behalf as Ensign phoned in his resignation as a member of the Senate GOP leadership. The senator's aides refused to return phone calls seeking additional details about a dalliance that pushed the 51-year-old Nevada lawmaker's political career to the brink of disaster. [...]

Ensign told a hastily arranged news briefing on Tuesday he had an extramarital affair with a woman on his campaign payroll, and it lasted several months, ending last August.

The disclosure resurrected questions about a two-week period in 2002, when Ensign abruptly dropped from public view. A person familiar with that episode, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Tuesday the senator told a close associate the absence followed an earlier affair.

Fox, Coburn knew about affair before Ensign's admission

Jed Lewison:
A week before John Ensign's admission that he'd carried on an affair with a former political aide, her husband wrote a letter to Fox anchor Megyn Kelly detailing the affair and appealing to Kelly and Fox for help. [...]

So now we know that Fox News knew about the affair before Senator Ensign's admission, which raises another question: did Fox News tell Senator Ensign about Doug Hampton's letter to Megyn Kelly?

Recall that initially Ensign's office claimed he was disclosing the affair to thwart a blackmail attempt. This letter obviously shreds that claim to bits, however.

In fact Ensign's office has subsequently renounced the blackmail claim. Yesterday, they disclosed that they knew that Hampton had contacted a major television network before Ensign's admission:
"Mr. Hampton first approached the media," Ensign’s spokesman said by e-mail. "He approached a major television news channel before Tuesday. We learned of this fact before the press conference."
So apparently, not only did Fox News know about the affair, but they also tipped off Ensign to the fact that Hampton had told them about it.

Moreover, they knew that according to Hampton, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma -- Ensign's roommate in DC -- was aware of the philandering. [...]

Fox says they were contacted about 24 hours before Ensign's news conference, but that they dismissed Hampton's claims as "not credible."

Speaking of not credible, according to their own timeline, Fox was (a) the first cable channel to know about the affair and (b) the last cable channel to report on it. Meanwhile, Ensign's office says he came forward after learning that Hampton contacted a national television network, which we now know is Fox.

Tom Coburn has got some explaining to do

Jed Lewison:
From a letter written on June 11 by Doug Hampton, the husband of the political aide with whom John Ensign had an affair:
The unethical behavior and immoral choice of Senator Ensign has been confronted by me and others on a number of occasions over this past year. In fact one of the confrontations took place in February 2008 at his home in Washington DC (sic) with a group of his peers. One of the attendee’s (sic) was Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma as well as several other men who are close to the Senator.
...So Tom Coburn, who is Ensign's roommate in DC, is begging forgiveness for Ensign and hailing Ensign for having "fessed up." But Coburn himself had known about the affair for 18 months, and Ensign only "fessed up" after Hampton approached Fox News.

If Ensign and Coburn weren't such outspoken crusaders for moral rectitude none of this would be anybody's business except insofar as Ensign's actions constituted sexual harassment or involved public resources.

But both Ensign and Coburn have built a political career on passing moral judgment on others. There's an expression about stones and glass houses that they might have considered before trying to foist their own hypocritical moral code on the rest of the country.

John Ensign Wins BuzzFlash's GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award for His Doubletalk on the Sanctity of Marriage

It's almost a given that a guy who wastes time on the Senate floor blustering about the sanctity of marriage would have an affair with a married woman. So when news broke earlier this week that Sen. John Ensign would be coming clean about his infidelity, we weren't all that surprised.

We did figure he'd step down though, if only because he loves the word "resign." He called on Sen. Larry Craig to resign after his wide-stance problem was revealed. He also called on Bill Clinton to resign when the president's cigar issue became known. Ensign even said that if he was in the same -- ahem -- "position" as Craig, that he would resign. Ensign has also said that he thinks that "we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard."

Well, apparently he wasn't talking about his own higher standards. Ensign merely gave up his leadership position in the Senate, which makes some sense. After all, how can you have seniority when you're such a big baby? Anyway, it would be kind of bizarre if Ensign got all upset and called on himself to resign.

Ensign is also a member of the Christian group the Promise Keepers, begging the question of what promises he's kept.

Hypocrisy Bites, Eh, John?

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