Why Do Politicians I Work For Keep Cheating On Their Wives?

In case you’ve missed it, the biggest political story of the last 24 hours has clearly been  Senator John Ensign’s (R-NV) confession that he had an affair with one of his married campaign staffers:

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) has acknowledged an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer in a statement released by his office. “I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions,” said Ensign. He is expected to announce the affair at a press conference at 6:30 pm tonight. The affair, which was with a woman who worked for both Ensign’s re-election campaign and his Battle Born leadership political action committee

But the aspect of the story that REALLY makes this political drama interesting is that I worked for Senator Ensign’s re-election campaign during the time in question and knew the woman he cheated with.


But wait…it gets better. According to MSNBC and Politico, the reason Ensign disclosed his affair is because the husband of the women involved tried to blackmail him for a large sum of money. Yes, that’s some good ole fashion extortion right there.

And yet, despite all of the press coverage, there’s one angle that’s being overlooked by all of the media outlets. Not only is the couple involved in the affair/alleged blackmail close and personal friends of the Ensign family, they’re arguably even close to top Republican strategist couple Mike and Lindsey Slanker, the brains and brawn behind Senator Ensign’s political apparatus. It remains to be seen which side the Slanker’s take, but any schism between the two sides could have drastic repercussions for the Republican party.

But, what we do know is that Ensign’s confession will no doubt have major repercussions on the landscape for the 2012  presidential election.

To Run or Not To Run?

Before word broke of an alleged extortion scheme, the prevailing wisdom believed that Ensign’s seemingly random admission of guilt was an attempt to air out his dirty laundry well in advance of a potential campaign for the Republican party’s presidential nomination. But with new information coming to the forefront, no one knows for sure if Senator Ensign will make a 2012 run.

One thing’s for certain. 2012 is a long ways away and no one knows what the political landscape will be like then. Personally, I don’t think Senator Ensign’s confession will harm his political standing one way or another. People have short term political memories. And when it comes to “unimportant” conservative issues like family values, Conservatives  have historically been more than willing to self rationalize forgiveness. Of course, this is only if you’re a Republican and not at all Bill Clinton.

Do As I Say Not What I Do

Though the more curious point that needs to be made is how any person could claim to hold integrity when their current actions oh so clearly violate their past statements. Personally, I believe a politician’s private life is private. As long as there’s two consenting adults there its none of my business what you’re doing in a relationship. But when you run on a socially conservative platform that stresses the values of the family, when you jihad against providing same sex couples with equality under the law, and when you stand on the biggest soapbox you can to routinely criticize other politicians for marriage infidelity, even going as far to demand their resignation, how can you with good faith, postulate your supposed moral authority?

In short, you can’t.


New York Governor David Patterson = Boned in 2010

I knew New York Governor David Patterson was in trouble but I didn’t know he was in this much trouble:

Paterson is viewed favorably by 29 percent of voters and unfavorably by 58 percent, down from last month‟s 40-47 percent rating. His job performance rating is 19 percent positive, 78 percent negative down from 28-69 percent last month. Only 14 percent of voters are prepared to elect Paterson as Governor in 2010, compared to 67 percent who prefer “someone else.” That‟s down from 19-57 percent last month. […]

In a hypothetical 2010 Democratic primary for Governor, Cuomo leads Paterson 67-17 percent, up from last month’s 53-27 percent. In December Paterson led 49-26 percent. In a potential general election matchup, Giuliani beats Paterson 56-33 percent, up from 51-36 percent last month. Paterson led 51-38 percent in December. Cuomo leads Giuliani 51-41 percent, similar to last month’s 51-38 percent.


After several AIG executives agreed to return their bonuses today, I’m sure Cuomo, NY’s Attorney General, will get an even bigger boost in the polls.

You think Patterson regrets not appointing Cuomo to the Senate now?

Is General Petraeus Planning a 2012 Run?

Conservatives around the blogosphere so:

“THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that General Petraeus is planning on delivering the commencement address at the University of Iowa in 2010.”

So reports Michael Goldfarb, late of the McCain campaign, on the magazine’s blog.

Petraeus going to Iowa, a state he doesn’t have previous ties to, is going to create a huge amount of buzz about his presidential ambitions because the Iowa Caucuses kick off the whole presidential nomination process. If he does, deliver the address–and Petraeus must know this–it will be seen as a sign that he is thinking about running in 2012.

Previously, it has been thought that Petraeus would not run against a president who had been his Commander in Chief. But there are reports of tension between Petraeus and Obama over both Iraq and Afghan strategy.

Is it just me or there something unseemly about a general gearing a potential presidential run while serving the commander and chief he would be running against. If that’s not a conflict of interest i’m not sure what is.

Admittedly, a Petraeus/Romney or Romney/Petraeus ticket definitely has potential. Maybe even a Petraeus/Gingrich ticket.

After Four Years Congress Listens To Me (Sort of): DC To Get Voting Rights

It’s about fucking time:

Today, in a vote of 62-34, the United States Senate voted for cloture on the DC House Voting Rights Act (H.R.157/S.160). After a centuries-long struggle, DC residents have overcome a significant hurdle in their fight for voting representation in Congress.

“Congress truly made history today,” said Ilir Zherka, DC Vote Executive Director. “Not since the 1970’s has a piece of DC voting rights legislation made it to the floor of the Senate. After years of protests, marches and calls to Congress, District residents are finally on their way to having their voices heard.”

…”Victory is so close on this issue but the fight’s not over yet,” said Zherka. “There has been a lot of discussion about possible amendments to the Senate bill. We are calling upon the Senate to pass this bill without amendments.”

DC Vote’s mission is full congressional voting representation for District residents. Next on the group’s agenda is working towards full democracy for DC.

“We will certainly be celebrating once the DC Voting Rights Act is passed,” Zherka emphasized. “It will be a momentous win. But then, it’s on to the business of defending any legal challenges to the legislation and looking towards future victories such as Senate representation and broader, local autonomy for the District.”

Jerome Armstrong opines that this bill might be the first step to DC Statehood:

The ‘solution’ is sorta a cut-the-baby-in-half one. DC gets a single Rep in the House, and one more is added, which goes to Utah and the GOP. But the issue of whether this is constitutional is a pretty big one– since when do places that are not states have Congressional representation?

It will go to the courts, and I would not be shocked to see it reversed; because its not really that great of a precedent, and it doesn’t really entirely solve the problem. If that happens, then it will go back to Congress, and force the issue of statehood– which it should.

To the Convention!

So now the press tells candidates when to quit?

This article provides excellent historical context to challengers staying in the race and going to the convention. Its pretty clear there’s a big double standard going on in the 2008 campaign. Just goes to show what happens when biasness and bad journalism mix.

No longer content to be observers of the campaign, journalists now see themselves as active players in the unfolding drama, and they show no hesitation trying to dictate the basics of the contest, like who should run and who should quit. It’s as if journalists are auditioning for the role of the old party bosses.

Continue reading

Clinton Proposes New Debate Format

The Clinton campaign is taking the initiative to create a better forum for discussion of the issues. The proposed debate formate would be similar to the famous Lincoln Douglas debates and fairly similar to collegiate debate format:

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will participate in a 90-minute debate in an open public forum. Just the two of them — no questioners, no panelists, no video clips. One candidate would speak for two minutes, then the other, alternating back and forth all the way through the debate. Their discussion – not any pre-set rules – would determine how long they spend on one subject before moving on to another. Such a debate would range across all of the challenges, large and small, we face as a nation or it could focus on the most significant issue we face today, — the economy.

Great idea right?Jonathan Singer from Mydd doesn’t think so

However, these “Lincoln-Douglas Style Debates”, as the Clinton campaign calls them, would not diverge so much from the modern trend of sound-bite driven campaigning or hew closely to the true nature of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. No, instead of allowing each candidate to speak in a measured, thoughtful and clear manner, laying out his or her case and responding to the other candidate’s case, the debates proposed by the Clinton campaign would just be more in a series of made-for-television, “Crossfire”-like quasi-debates that show less about the quality of a candidate’s thoughts and beliefs than they do about the candidate’s ability to come up with a biting sound-bite or a funny joke.

There’s two issues involved here:

1. The effectiveness of the proposed debate format
2. The politics behind having more debates.

On the first issues;

Considering the fact that everyone complains about the horrible format of political debates and/or the vacuous guidance from moderators we should applaud the Clinton campaign for at least proposing a new format. It may not be perfect, but where’s the alternative from the Obama campaign who always claims it wants to sit down and talk about the issues?

But politics aside, its about damn time a major presidential candidate proposed a new format for a debate. No offense,but your criticisms against Clinton’s proposed debate format are pretty damn insignificant. The time limits are too short is hardly a deathblow to the proposed debate format. If the two campaigns are truly interested in having a discussion about the issues, a claim both candidates have made repeatedly, then they can agree to specific speaking times.

The anwser to the political aspect of whether to debate or not is simple. If Obama really wants to have a debate about the issues, a claim he’s made numerous times, then this is a perfect non media driven forum for the candidates to actually have a genuine conversation.

Don’t Cite The Rules If You Haven’t Read Them

Jerome from Mydd has a must read about Obama’s supports accusing Clinton of trying to change the rules and “overthrow” Obama’s nomination.

The paragraphs below lay out the story better than I can, but the bottom line is that winning the most pledged delegates leading up the convention DOES NOT NOR HAS IT EVER MEANT, that you are the nominee. Those aren’t the rules. Sorry you’re playing the wrong game. The DNC rules explicitly state that the path to the nomination involves three parts. State campaigns, the credential committee, and the super delegates votes. The rules were set up like this to intentionally create a tiered nomination path

Continue reading