The Junior Senator From Neva-duhhhh

From J. Patrick Coolican the LAS VEGAS SUN:

Last summer, Sen. John Ensign was with his wife, Darlene, at Palace Station for a meeting of Nevada Republican women.

It was a somewhat awkward venue, coming soon after he had confessed to an affair with his best friend’s wife, Cynthia Hampton, who had been Ensign’s campaign treasurer and whose husband, Doug Hampton, had been his Senate co-chief of staff.

Ensign’s chrome-colored hair just so and his shirt stiffly starched, as always, he plowed ahead.

“I want to first acknowledge my lovely bride. My wife, Darlene, is here. Anybody who does this job knows that, without a very supportive spouse, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish the things we were able to accomplish, especially when I go to Washington,” he said, awkwardness filling the air as if from a leaky propane tank.

Original movie poster

“I want to share a few thoughts with you tonight. It’s always great, though, to be among such, um, well, beautiful women.”


For the second-term Republican, who won re-election with 55 percent of the vote in 2006, these tone-deaf — borderline obtuse — comments were just one example of increasingly arrogant behavior that goes back years, Republicans say.


Ensign’s actions in the wake of the affair, and the resulting investigations by the Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee have bled into the lives of his once-closest aides, associates and friends, as well as largely innocent bystanders and his family.

The sources, most of whom spoke to the Sun on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigations, said what rankles so many in Republican circles is that Ensign seems oblivious to the collateral damage caused by his actions, and unwilling to make the matter disappear by resigning.


According to recent reports in The New York Times and on KLAS Channel 8 and confirmed by the Sun, subpoenas related to the Ensign investigation have gone out to area businesses.

Although the investigation is focused on the senator, prominent Nevada businesses — including NV Energy, Allegiant Air, Rogich Communications and R&R Partners — have nevertheless been drawn into the embarrassing case.


The Ensign investigation apparently seeks to determine if he tried to make his problems with the Hamptons go away by leaning on businesses to hire Doug Hampton as a consultant.

The Times reported last week that Ensign sought financial assistance for P2SA, a small energy company, while he was urging the company to hire Hampton.

Eventually, Ensign’s closest political aide, Mike Slanker, resurrected his dormant consulting firm November Inc. and hired Hampton, and Ensign worked to secure them clients.

Hampton, with Ensign’s knowledge and possibly illegal encouragement, is alleged to have lobbied Ensign’s staff, which if true would violate the law — former congressional staff cannot lobby for one year after leaving their jobs. Ensign has acknowledged that his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 as a “gift.”


Even in the world of politics, where the mirror is everyone’s favorite accessory, examples of Ensign’s selfishness and arrogance are legion.

“Narcissism would be the best word,” a Republican insider said.

“The power changes everything,” another former associate said.

Given all that has since come to light, the person was incredulous describing Ensign’s behavior in early 2009.

The state’s junior senator had been elected to lead his party’s policy committee in the Senate after a stint as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group dedicated to electing Republicans to the Senate. Republicans lost eight seats.

Ensign had to have been distracted during his chairmanship. He was busy with the affair and then efforts to make it go away.

And yet following that failure and with the cloud of the Hampton mess hanging over him, Ensign trekked to Iowa, the traditional proving ground for potential presidential candidates.

“He be-bops off to Iowa?” the source marveled.

Long before Ensign prompted speculation about a presidential run, the warning signs of what they regard as character defects were there, Republicans say.

A GOP operative witnessed him working as a casino manager, the career bequeathed to him by his father before politics: “He was an ass to his employees, barking orders, acting like a peacock.”


Chuck Muth, former executive director of the Nevada Republican Party and longtime conservative activist, recalled volunteering once at an Ensign fundraiser. “He treated us like hired help.”

After losing to Sen. Harry Reid by a whisper in 1998, Ensign ran again in 2000 and entered the world’s most exclusive club — the U.S. Senate. Republicans say his wife, Darlene, was displeased with the Washington lifestyle, which friends took as a portentous sign that Ensign should have heeded by returning to Nevada.

Instead, he was drawn deeper into the heady air of Washington, prodded on by a small, insular group of advisers, what one Nevada Republican called a “cult of Ensign.”

The Ensigns, the Hamptons and the Slankers. They were together so much that there were “wife-swapping” jokes, although no one suspected the worst.

As a senator he was known as a show horse, not a workhorse — neither knowledgeable nor interested in the gritty details of policy or politics.

A Nevada Republican on a trip East to lobby Ensign and Reid said the difference between the two was striking: Reid knew the issues, paid attention, and assigned staff who later followed up.

The Republican might have expected even better treatment from Ensign given they shared a party label. Not so.

Ensign was uninformed. “Two minutes in, Ensign is looking at his watch. Five minutes in, he’s gone. Staff says they’ll get back to me. Never did.”

Staff could hardly be blamed for dropping the ball — Ensign took pride in coming in under budget and giving office money back to the Senate, which meant he paid low salaries.


“The reason you don’t see people rallying around him is he was so in your face about the morality stuff,” a Nevada Republican operative said.

Ensign was active in Promise Keepers and openly evangelical, gushing with pious intonations.

After being found out and confronted by Doug Hampton, Ensign wrote to Cynthia Hampton to ostensibly end the relationship, and he pulled it off with a religious flourish: “God never intended for us to do this. I walked away from Him and my relationship with Him has suffered terribly.”

The letter was something of a ruse, however, according to Doug Hampton, who has said in previous interviews that Ensign began to pursue his wife again almost immediately.

And here is a key paradox of Ensign’s character, assuming he is not driven by pure malice. How could a man proclaiming to worship Jesus Christ, whose ministry was about selfless devotion to others, discard the lives and emotions of friends, family, associates, staff?

An answer might be found in the house where Ensign wrote that letter to Cynthia Hampton.

It was the now-infamous C Street house, a shared residence where Ensign lived, and one of several properties in the Washington area owned by “The Family,” the shadowy Christian group whose members inhabit the highest reaches of American influence.

D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist who studied The Family or as it is alternately known, The Fellowship, for years, said the group teaches a “soft Gospel” of nonjudgmentalism. “I couldn’t find any instances when they had a word of judgment or condemnation for people in their circle,” he said.


He finds no coincidence in the adultery scandals of Ensign and two other members of The Family, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Mississippi Sen. Chip Pickering, Lindsay said.

Theirs is a religion, in this telling, shaped more by access to power and influence than by divinely commanded ethical precepts.

Ensign’s residence at the C Street house has led to yet more trouble, as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint against Ensign and his housemates — eight senators and representatives, in all — accusing them of paying below-market rent at the house, therefore violating the congressional gift ban.


Although The Family is a secretive group, determining who is chosen seems relatively uncomplicated: Powerful elected and business leaders are in.

Ensign’s days as a member of elite Washington appear to be numbered, however.

With the FBI investigating, “it’s every man for himself,” a Republican operative said.

And finally, “No one perjures himself for John Ensign.”


Filed under Christianity, Harry Reid, humor, Iowa, Justice Department, movies, parody, politics, religion, Republicans, Scandals, Senate, Senate Ethics Committee, snark, Tom Coburn, Wordpress Political Blogs

45 responses to “The Junior Senator From Neva-duhhhh

  1. writechic

    The C-men of C-Street creep me out. Ensign’s the biggest offender since he doesn’t seem to know when it’s his turn to crawl in a hole and hide his himself in shame. Nope. He’s unabashed. Daddy’s money. His mistress’ children called him “uncle.” The cuckold husband’s public grievances. Ensign’s just a pathological dick.

    Heh, heh, heh…those elephants are humping.

  2. Pretty boy Ensign falling apart is just what the Democrats need in Nevada. It might just get the attention off Harry Reid.

    • i wouldn’t count harry reid out. there’s plenty of time before november, and harry has time to make his case. there are lots of people whose kids would have been dropped from their insurance because they’re too old to stay on the family plan, and lots of people with kids with preexisting conditions who won’t have to worry. once the caffeine from their tea has cleared their systems, they’ll be able to think more clearly and they won’t be coming at dems with pitchforks and torches.

  3. kids, check this out! remember when MNLatteLiberal asked if the biggest poser poster could be used to “greet” princess sarah and batshit bachmann at the event in minnesota? they wanted to enlarge that and the laverne & shirley poster and use them as signs. i suggested that they make 2 of the biggest poser posters, use one as a sign and cut the you could be here section out so that people could put their faces there and have their pictures taken. they were kind enough to send me a link to the pictures they took as well as permission to post the link so that all the raisinettes could see them. click here. the pics are great.

  4. Yeow! Just saw the princess greeting pics (linked above)~ how fun is that?

    As for Entrails, I mean Ensign….guess he is no longer gushing with pious intonations– but he sure seems to be gushing something!

    Have to wonder if the C Street boys are having some kind of “who can be the douchiest” contest?

    • didn’t they do a good job “greeting” princess and batshit bachmann? the pix are awesome!

      i think the c street boys really thought they were all above the law. their little cult convinced them that they are all better than everyone else, so the rules don’t apply to them. i hope they throw ensign’s silver lamé ass in jail. let’s see how holier-than-thou works in there.

  5. They need to put some real meaning into “C” Street. Send out invites to all the goper hotties and get the party going. Sister Sarah could screech an opening prayer (that she stfu) and Michele could do a Pink Elephants On Parade revue. The climax would be supreme dominatrix Coulter in scanty leather spanking their bad boy bottoms. Hey, were gonna need a mop over here!

    • let’s start a rumor that the c-streeters were having extramarital affairs with….democrats! they seem to forgive having sex with anything else.

    • ken

      pathetic– of course he ‘s a sleaze–but its unreal to hear the hate and disdain you spout–especially when you encourage and admire democrats who are equally as sleazy. As for the health care plan–take a long look at it-read it and if you think that what you are getting is a such a great deal–then bully for you. The health care plan is not about health care reform its about destroying–(anything I say here can be better illustrated if you look at what the plan does – who benefits and why) In other words look at the power and money trail. There is no hidden conspiracy here. It’s out in the open and disconcerting to look at. Consider what happens when this plan gets implemented and the consquences that result. The 8 million people who are helped by this plan(that 8 is not a mistake) are helped in the most expensive- destructive- manner that targets everyone in the country. A comprehensive health insurance plan costs between 10 to 20 k per year for a family of 4. This plan could have been done for less then 350 to 400 billion. Instead the price tag is well over 2 trillion(that is also not a mistake). If this does not cause you to be concerned or skeptical of what is really going on then there is no hope for you.——If you dispute these figures and you may its very easy to verify them. The figures are readily available

      • gee, ken, you’re right. we have a 52-year-old man who can’t resist getting his dinky stinky (with his best friend and employee’s wife for that matter), and when he gets caught, he goes running to his mommy and daddy to pay off his mistress and her husband, as well as giving a job to her 19-year-old son and paying him with money that’s supposed to go toward electing rethuglicans (we call that stealing around here). all that time, he was living with and hanging out with a bunch of guys who hold themselves up to be holier than the rest of us (so what if they were either screwing around on their wives or covering up for those who were while paying only 600 bucks a month for rent in a posh townhouse in an expensive part of town). what were we thinking having disdain for him? you’re right, and i feel terrible. 😥 ensign is a prince of a guy. just the type you’d want your daughter to marry. i take back every bad thing i ever said about him.

        as to the health care bill, you’ve changed my mind about that matter, too, with your persuasive argument that contains no facts whatsoever and only your conjecture. what did i ever do before you came around, ken? i don’t need to verify any figures, readily available or not. your word is good enough for me, ken. i won’t post another thing until i have your approval.

  6. Oh Ken Ken Ken….. you’ve been drinking the kool aid. Here is another “easy to verify” figure….

    The GOP put us $11 Trillion in debt, getting their wars on.
    All the money spent on wars could & would have bought a decent health plan.

    Two more items:

    1. Hysterical Raisins is an equal opportunity, fair and balanced bastion of sarcasm & mockery. When the Dems screw up, HR is on top of it– it’s just that the GOP outdo themselves in screwing up.

    2. Your post is off topic. We are talking about silver lamé jackets & the wife swapping sex scandal & overall douchebag activities of John Ensign, resulting in a grand jury subpoena.
    By the way he voted no for health care reform because he’s got his (healthcare & a mistress!) & that is what the party of no is all about.

    • fran, i think it was grape kool-aid, judging from the stains on his t-shirt.

      gee, i spent all that time answering him, when i could have just said what fran said. that’ll teach me not to read ahead. 😉

  7. LOL!

    I thought you’d like that part about HR being
    ” an equal opportunity, fair and balanced bastion of sarcasm & mockery”.

    • oh, fran, i’m so glad you’re here! i thought ken had frightened everyone away. yours is the first comment all day! 😯

      i love your description, and i’m thinking of using it in all my advertising. if i ever do any advertising. just to prove that what you said is true, look at this. that’s my ammunition if ken ever shows his face here again. 😉

  8. Well said raisin women! Ever notice it’s always “guys” who show up here out of the blue with this intense desire to straighten you (us) out. Funny how the faux outrage turns to money and bitching about money and on and on……”there is no hope for you”…..darn, just when we were getting close to all that republican gold!

    • when they can’t find a way to support their opinion, they change the subject so they can recite something they heard on the radio or on faux news. there have been a couple of females who have come here to teach us heathens a lesson, but, if i’m remembering correctly, they were fundies who showed up to thump their bibles when i dared to disparage some televangelists.

  9. Joanaroo

    Well, you know, Rethuglican men have no use for women unless it’s for 3 things:stripping, mud wrestling and f*****g! Oh, and being barefoot and pregnant. I love how the arrogant bastards figuratively rape and pillage, and only when caught you get the faux tears, apologies and Bible quotes out the yazoo! I just say Keep it up Rethuglicans! The more you show your more arrogant and hypocritical side, the closer you get to the final GOP implosion!

  10. Joanaroo

    Oh, yes, and by the way, I am angry that the prez and Dems went against popular opinion and sent the single-payer plan straight to Bill Hell, and I have no qualms telling them about it in e-mails and phone calls. But, Ken, for a party that claims to be so damn religious, there sure are alot of Commandments broken:lies (plenty! including the Iraq War started on lies), adultery, stealing (elections, kickbacks, fraud), killing (soldiers dying for nothing)

  11. Joanaroo

    And also-sorry, Nonnie, on a roll, it didn’t start recently-there’s Watergate and Martha Mitchell being blackballed when she broke the news to reporters, Enron-links to the Bushies, and alot more. And as to being a Christian, Jesus showed love to the poor and downtrodden, aging and ill, but not the damn Rethuglicans! Cut this! Vote down that! No health care reform to help the poor-let ’em die! The Rethugs in office have taxpayer-provided insurance and the best health care in the world but Oh, f**k our own citizens, let em die!

  12. Joanaroo

    Republican Anti-Health Care Reform Jingle: I’m a Republican and so’s my grandmother. She voted for me and loves me like no other. But she can’t afford the co-pays, prescription costs and even with Medicare is getting sicker. So because health care for all is commie and socialist I told her she can stay Republican and die quicker! She looked at me and said you’re nothing but a hypocritical well-insured motherf****r!

  13. jeb

    Ensign Pulverized. Excellent although I admit I’m torn. Jack Lemmon’s Ensign Pulver was a lovable and goofy character. Ensign Pulverized is sleaze personified. He professes a deep Christian faith but you couldn’t explain the concept of hypocrisy to him if you had a month.

    Congrats on your hard work being taken to the streets. Well I better get back to writing my Congresscritters and tell them how upset Ken and I am about the government screwing us over and ruining our economy with healthcare. Any good American knows only the big insurance companies are allowed to do that.

    • i loved jack lemmon. he’s one of my favorite actors evah! take heart, jeb. jack lemmon was ensign pulver in mr. roberts, but this poster is from the sequel that had robert walker as the title character.

      i’m laughing so hard right now! 😆 i see that ken convinced you to change your ways, too. we should nominate him for some kind of faux news award. oh no, one of the rethugs in congress has to have some kind of resolution praising him read into the record!

      • jeb

        OK, I admit to being lazy and sloven and not using teh Google to look up the sequel. I can’t even imagine anyone but Lemmon as Ensign Pulver and am glad I’ve never seen the sequel.

        Yes, Ken’s numbers were very persuasive. I didn’t even verify whether he’s right or not. I just believe him and although I just made one mistake by not checking before I posted, I have complete trust and know that I don’t have to check his numbers. What are the odds I’ll be wrong again?

        • i, just like ken, would never make you work that hard, jeb. all you had to do was click on the link to the original, and you would have seen that it wasn’t jack lemmon. i did see the sequel, many, many moons ago, and though i barely remember it, i do remember that it was not anywhere near as good as mr. roberts. in fact, if i remember correctly, it was just silly.

  14. Joanaroo

    Sorry for the spleen-venting, Nonnie! I’m just so tired of the Rethugs and their faux news, faux morals, faux family values and faux Christianity. They want secession and since they want to gut the clean air act and don’t care about anyone else and their well-being – well, why don’t they move to the Bikini Atoll where all those Atomic Bomb tests were held. They could live in a historic area and since they love war it’s right up their alley!

    • haven’t you heard, joanaroo? we’re all done with venting. ken has turned us all around and set us on the virtuous path of accepting everything he says as true. 😉

  15. Joanaroo

    Ah, f**k that! =)

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