A number of folks have suggested that Sen. John Ensign’s infidelity problem would sideline him and, thereby, hurt the Nevada Republican Party. Which would be true….if John ever really did anything to help the Nevada Republican Party in the first place.
Consider the 2008 campaign cycle. I just did a quick check of the campaign finance reports for the Nevada Democratic Party and the Nevada Republican Party.
In 2008, Harry Reid donated $250,000 to the Democrats. And that doesn’t include the untold bundles of cash he helped raise from other sources.
John Ensign didn’t give the Nevada GOP squat.
Neither did Gov. Jim Gibbons, by the way.
No wonder the party doesn’t have a headquarters or a staff.
So exactly how – considering that Ensign has done next to nothing for the party over the last dozen years or so, and especially during the last two years – does it hurt the party that he won’t be around this cycle either?
Even Ensign’s promise/threat to ride in on his white horse to rescue the party last November was nothing but hot air. If he truly wanted to help the party, he could have picked up the phone and raised a hundred grand in less than an hour. After all, he isn’t just a U.S. senator; he was the #4 leader of the Senate Republican caucus.
Instead, Ensign started his own PAC to compete with the party; a PAC that he would completely control and for which he would hire his own people/cronies – while at the same time the Nevada Republican Party was forced to close its headquarters and lay off its entire staff.
Yeah, the Nevada GOP sure will be hurtin’ without John Ensign around, won’t it?
Here’s the thing.
I don’t think John Ensign should resign because he “hiked the Appalachian Trail” with Cindy Hampton.
And I don’t think he should resign just because he’s never really done a darned thing to help build the Nevada Republican Party.
And I don’t necessarily think he should resign just because he’s a world-class family values hypocrite.
John Ensign should resign because Harry Reid now owns him.
I mean, it was bad enough when these two guys were just peas in a pod. At least they were operating on a somewhat level playing field. But now Harry Reid has John by the, um, family jewels – especially when it comes to that ethics complaint filed against him last week which the Reid-controlled Democrat Senate will hear.
Ensign is now compromised politically and can never undo that. He will forever owe Harry. He’s no longer anything even close to independent. Not only is he now a political eunuch for the state, he’s as worthless at teats on a bull to the Nevada Republican Party – not that he was ever much help in the first place.
Ensign’s ego will never allow him to resign on his own. Republicans in Nevada, for their own good, need to recognize this political reality – even those who still love the guy – and tell him it’s time to go spend some time with his family and let someone else represent the state and the Nevada GOP in the United States Senate.
Orrin Johnson is a conservative Republican living in Reno, Nevada. And Mr. Johnson has inked a very thoughtful examination of Sen. John Ensign’s affair and its ramifications for the party and the conservative movement here in Nevada from the perspective of someone who has been a strong supporter of the Nevada senator. It’s well worth the read if you want to know what’s going through the heads of a lot of conservatives on this matter right now even though most are not inclined to say so publicly.
Catch it HERE on Orrin’s “First Principles” blog.