Democratic Senator John Edwards’ affair was as juicy as they come gossip-wise: he had a wife suffering from cancer; the woman involved was blonde and attractive enough to get tongues wagging about her look; there were plenty of photos of Rielle Hunter all over the web for those searching for the sordid details to soak up; and there was talk of an alleged lovechild. And while there may be no lovechild involved in John Ensign’s affair or pictures of the staffer involved, the story isn’t lacking in scandalous details.
First of all, like John Edwards in 2008, many have been saying that John Ensign was a possible candidate for a bid for the presidency in 2012. Unfortunately, with this misstep, that possibility has faded very fast.
According to Politico, John Ensign’s affair started several months after he had separated from his wife Darlene, which makes it not seem as bad. But when he and his wife reconciled and he parted ways with the campaign staffer (the name of the woman involved has not been revealed), he gave her a severance package and probably hoped that would be the end of it.
But the woman’s husband seemed to have gotten greedy, prompting John Ensign to decide to go ahead and make the affair public rather than pay the couple off. All John Ensign has revealed about the couple is that they were both close friends of his and had both worked for him.
What makes this ordeal particularly ugly for John Ensign is the fact that he is a strong advocate for keeping marriage sacred (in other words, between a man and a woman with no infidelity). But if that isn’t bad enough, he’s a member of an Evangelical group called Promise Keepers that promotes marriage fidelity. Politco also reports that John Ensign was one of many who called for Bill Clinton to resign from the presidency after news of his affair with Monica Lewinsky. So will John Ensign, a man who has just completely contradicted everything he is, resign from being a Senator himself?
It’s hard to say at this point. Some may argue that he was at least separated from his wife when the affair took place, but, then again, he was having an affair with a married woman. So even if he could try to justify an affair, he can’t argue with the fact that he allowed another woman to stray along with him.
His wife Darlene Ensign learned of the affair last year, and while there are no photos of the other woman posted all over the web or the possibility of a lovechild, this has to be quite a shock to a woman married to a man that has fought so hard to preserve the image of what so many Americans perceive as an ideal marriage.
This comes at a point when Republicans don’t need anymore drama; they’ve been struggling to find their voice amidst the howls of those that are dragging their party down like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Dick Cheney. John Ensign was a voice that might have stood out and got more Americans to listen, but, as we’ve learned in the past, when a politician strays, their whole party pays.