PEEK

John Ensign Sex Scandal Escalates: "It's Not Good"

Only weeks ago Mark Sanford's melodrama had eclipsed Ensign's scandal. But Ensign's sleaziness has once again captured the spotlight.

For a long while, the inspiring tale of Mark Sanford's Latin American jaunt on or near "the sex line" had gripped America with its romantic melodrama. You can read more about it in the forthcoming Tropic Of Capricorn 2: Buenos Aires Nights, by Henry Miller. But as much as the heart wants more from the Mark Sanford story, like "positions explored" and "quantity of white zinfandel consumed," it's now time for the body to get really interested in this whole John Ensign affair story.

So, the dilly: John Ensign, Nevada Senator, copped to having an affair with Cynthia Hampton, who was for a time on his campaign staff. The television media got all worked up about it, saying things like, "This is bad news for Ensign, one of the GOP's presidential contenders." And people like me replied, "Wait! John Ensign is a presidential contender?" later adding, "Seriously, you can't possibly think this guy was ever going to be a presidential contender." And Ensign was thought to be working out all his difficulties with some group called the "C Street Foundation," which describes itself as a "Bible study group" but is actually some sort of detox facility for Congresspersons who are way into sexcapades.

That's when the even shinier Mark Sanford story hit the news, along with Sarah Palin's "Oration On The Verbal Frappe Currently Coursing Out Of My Mouth In Alaska, Because I Have No Political Advisers Who Are Worth A Good God Damn." And Marion Barry straight up stalked a lady, in DC, because he is crazypants. But now: Ensign!

Driving Ensign back into the news are escalating exchanges between Hampton's husband and Ensign's allies over who got paid how much and for what, why, and when. It's all crazy confusing, the sex-scandal equivalent of the Purple Ticket Inauguration fiasco, but I think we have a handle on it:

 

Jason Linkins is an associate editor at the Huffington Post, based in Washington, DC.
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