Distinguo

Sen. Ensign thought that Larry Craig should resign after propositioning a cop in a men’s room. But Sen. Ensign doesn’t plan to resign after conducting an affair with a woman who worked for him and whose husband ALSO worked for him. Is this just ordinary motes-and-beams, or flat-out homophobia? We report, you decide.

I’m looking forward to Sen. Ensign’s explanation of why Ensign said Sen. Craig should have resigned after being arrested for his wide stance but Ensign doesn’t himself plan to resign after admitting to a months-long affair with a woman who worked for him &#8212 and whose husband also worked for him.

Ensign seems to have violated several well-known rules :

1. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

2. Keep your pecker off the payroll.

3. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

4. Don’t get caught.

#2 makes it, in my view, a public matter.

The hypocrisy just makes it delicious.

It’s not that Ensign thinks that every bit of sexual misconduct ought to lead to a resignation. He didn’t think Sen. Vitter’s purchase of sexual services was a resigning matter, either. I would have said that Craig was the least culpable of the three.

Let’s see, is there some element present in Craig’s case that was absent in Vitter’s and Ensign’s cases?

Hmmmmmm….

Footnote Looks as if Ensign forgot a couple of his “Promise Keepers” promises; “man of integrity” doesn’t seem to be an especially good label at the moment. Maybe someone should start a support group for people in Ensign’s situation. They could call themselves “Promise Breakers.” It has a sort of ring to it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com