Saturday, April 23, 2011


If you have followed the John Ensign story over the past couple of years, you can now chalk him up as one more elected official who has walked away in disgrace. Ensign (right), the Republican Senator from Nevada, resigned as he was under heavy investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. Allegedly, Ensign had an affair with a campaign worker, and steered big contracts of some sort in her husband’s direction. Sleazy and convoluted as it was, Ensign had managed to hold on to his Senate seat, until this week. After Ensign announced the resignation, the two Senators who head up the Ethics Committee, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) issued a terse statement which said only this: “Senator Ensign has made the appropriate decision.”

Here is how you can read those words – “has made the appropriate decision” – with some X-ray vision. The Ethics committee was probably about to unload some real dirt on John Ensign. He was informed of this and decided to bow out. By doing that, the Ethics Committee is not required to release the information about him. Whatever the case, Nevada is sick of the John Ensign story, as evidenced by a recent column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in which writer Jane Ann Morrison says of Ensign’s announcement, "This is all about his ego, his arrogance and saving his reputation. It's about the threat of more embarrassing publicity and his inability to raise money.”

Unlike other politicians, Ensign can wipe his brow and breathe a sigh of relief. He may have dodged an embarrassing bullet. (The Ethics Committee still has the right to release its findings, but most likely will not). Here’s the question, though: Why do so many politicians and government officials put themselves in the line of fire? Why do they continually believe they can get away with it, whatever “it” is in their individual cases. Sometimes (okay, most times) it’s sex. Other times it’s political shenanigans. And sometimes it’s greed. But every time it is about power. There is something about D.C. style power that seems to overwhelm some men. Men who otherwise seem like they’ve got a level head on their shoulders just lose their sense of order and right and wrong.

Since we’re talking about once-powerful bad boys, here’s the update on John Edwards (left), the 2008 would-be Democratic candidate for President, who allegedly steered campaign funds in the direction of his mistress, who later became the mother of his fourth child. Misuse of campaign funds is a Federal offense, so he is being investigated on that level right now. Edwards, who carried on the affair as his wife was dealing with terminal cancer, was later outed by the National Enquirer and that was the end of his political career. Edwards, now a widower raising his and Elizabeth Edwards’ children, faces possible jail time if convicted. Recent reports indicate Edwards is terrified of going to prison, to the point of being suicidal. Hell of a guy, that John Edwards. He has two small children who only months ago lost their mother, and he considers taking his own life, so that the kids will have lost both parents.

If some of these scandals seem to drag on forever, it may be that the alleged perpetrators of wrongdoing keep doing wrong. Take Jesse Jackson (right), for example. Ten years ago, married family man Jackson had an affair with a staffer that produced a child. Much like the Edwards affair, there were ongoing reports of money paid to the child’s mother for questionable services. Now, a decade later, a gay male staffer has filed a discrimination suit against Jackson, claiming, among other things, that he was ordered to bring women to Jackson’s hotel room, and then clean up the room after Jackson had sex. Oy. Sleazy, huh? The Windy City Times detailed the charges in an explosive article last week. The above-mentioned charge is tame in comparison with other charges in the discrimination complaint. In fairness, it should be said that Jackson has a history of supporting gay rights, but as mentioned several paragraphs ago, so often it’s about sex. And as we all have learned, where there’s smoke….well, you know the rest.

The old saying goes like this: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." That phrase has unknown origins, but it sure says a lot. What are these guys all about, really? Do they seek power positions to satisfy their other needs in life, or does power truly corrupt absolutely? I guess we’ll never know, but the evidence sure stacks up if you just keep your eye on politics, big religion and big business.