Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Readers! Hope you had a great 4th of July Weekend!
What incredible events with Gov. Palins' resignation and Vice-President Bidens' visit to Iraq this weekend. Compared with them, Cheney was sort of quiet over the weekend, but here's something I found interesting.
In case you missed it, over the last two weeks two prominent Republicans: Senator John Ensign of Nevada, and Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, both confessed to extramarital affairs.
Ensign stunned the folks back home in Nevada when out of the blue, he admitted to an affair with aide Cynthia Hampton. He then resigned as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, a top Senate leadership position, after critics branded him as the worst kind of hypocrite for harshly criticizing others for their trysts -- including President Clinton back during the Lewinsky Scandal. At the time Ensign said Clinton should resign -- and now he admits indulging in his own sexual indiscretions with the wife of a friend, who also, happened to work for him! The affair started in 2007 and even when the husband Doug Hampton confronted Ensign about it in his house in DC in front of witnesses, it still continued. Hampton sent a letter to Fox News describing in detail everything he knew about the affair and how it had ruined his marriage and his life. There might even be elements of extortion involved in this mess, since Hampton got two jobs back home in Nevada with companies with strong ties to Ensign. Ensign made calls on Hamptons behalf to both companies. Not good.
The Sanford scandal was even more bizarre with the Governor going off the radar over the Fathers Day weekend for what he later claimed was a trip hiking along the Appalachian Trail. Sanford somehow managed to lose his security detail on Thurs (pretty impressive in a way actually), missed Fathers Day weekend with his family-(Way to go father of four!), and then played hooky from work on Monday as well, leaving the whole state playing "Where in the World is our Governor?"
Well, fact was Gov. Sanford wasn't appreciating the Appalachian Trails' many examples of the beauty of nature, but was instead enjoying a different kind of beauty-hooking up with his Argentine mistress-María Belén Chapur. Sanford later copped to the affair at a press conference shocking The Palmetto State. Sanford claims that Chapur is his " soul mate" and that the relationship was not "just about sex". He also confessed at a different press conference that he had casual encounters with other women while he was married but before he met Chapur. So I guess that means that at least he didn't cheat on his wife and his mistress with other women at the same time. Sanford tried to end the affair, even going to New York this past winter with his wifes' permission, taking a spiritual advisor so he could confront Chapur and end it, but he couldn't stay away from Chapur and the affair continued.
Outraged legislators and voters in South Carolina in both parties have claimed that Sanford should resign or be impeached because he was unreachable during the latest Argentina trip and that no one was in charge of state government during his no longer secret liaison. Sanford did resign as the head of the Republican Governors Association and says he is working on reconciling with his wife and family, but it seems he will not resign as Governor.
Gov. Sanford, like Senator Ensign, was extremely critical of President Clinton during "Monica-Gate", and was known as a strong voice for the conservative Christian right-clashing with President Obama over the stimulus package. Sanford was considered a serious contender for the 2012 Republican Presidential or VP nomination. He even wrote about the talk of him being VP in somewhat graphic love emails he sent to Chapur.
Now all those dreams are gone for them both. So what does former VP Cheney think about all this? Well, he was asked about it on the Washington Times radio program, and sort of danced around the question. Instead of criticizing his fellow Republicans, he took the opportunity to promote newer, younger Republican politicians just coming in to national prominence. Here's the entire article from The National Review's website-Jim Geraghty reporting:
Dick Cheney, Discussing Mark Sanford and John EnsignFormer vice president Dick Cheney, appearing on the Washington Times radio program on June 29th, 2009 was asked about whether the recent troubles of Sen. John Ensign and Gov. Mark Sanford impact the future of the Republican party:
Portman is running for Senate in Ohio in 2010; President Obama named Huntsman the new U.S. ambassador to China
"I know both of those gentlemen, I consider them friends, and I'm sorry to see them in the difficulties they're now in. But I think from the standpoint of the party, we've got some great talent out there, young people coming along that are going to do a superb job. I always remind people that in adversity, there's opportunity. You get people like Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, Rob Portman from Ohio, Jon Huntsman from Utah and so forth. We've got some very talented folks coming along. And I think that it's just a matter of time before the party begins to sort of firm up around a few key individuals, and we'll hear big things from them in the future."
Notice who he didn't mention? And that was before her resignation. Will these new GOP members be in the running for the VP nomination in 2012? We'll see.
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