I have made no secret of my disgust with the Democratic Party, which in my lifetime has undergone a metamorphosis from what it was and what it stood for when I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties and what it has become and stands for today. Except for the absence of wingnuts, it is virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party.
That so noted, there may be no better exemplar of the arrogant shamelessness of Congress at the moment than Senator John Ensign.
The Nevada Republican, for those of you who have been napping, has been revealed to be extraordinarily corrupt and extraordinarily hypocritical as a Family Values cum Promise Keeper born-again Something Or Other who carried on an affair with a campaign aide whose husband was his chief of staff and best friend. When the cuckolded hubbo threatened to blow the whistle, Ensign went public while privately paying the family $96,000 in hush money provided by his gadzillionaire parents.
Then there is Ensign's nonpareil ability to be tone deaf and say stupid things like his response to the spot-on assertion that the health-care systems in many industrialized countries deliver more effective care at lower costs. Ensign's rejoinder was that the U.S. actually does better when you don't count injuries from guns and car accidents.
Given the superheated venality of Congress, banging an aide and paying hush money is small beer, let alone making a fool of oneself, and nobody really expected Ensign to resign. But it now seems increasingly likely that he will be frog walking away from Capitol Hill sooner or later over his fondness for something called "structuring" that has caught the attention of Justice Department investigators.
Structuring is the creation of financial transactions to evade reporting requirements. Such as paying your mistress's husband $96,000 that is laundered through a trust controlled by your parents and calling it a "gift" instead of what it obviously was.
There appears to be enough evidence to indict Ensign just based on what Doug Hampton, the cuckold, has said. Then there are smoking gun emails and the ends to which Ensign went to get Hampton work while he was employed by former aides to the senator.Despite the bull's eye on Ensign's back and the liability he is quickly becoming for the national and Nevada GOP, no one in his own party of consequence has spoken out against him although his Republican peers apparently aren't returning his phone calls these days. Nor have Democrats, but that surely will change if Ensign is indicted.Caricatures by Chris Morris and Kerry Waghorn