Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 09:19:24 AM EDT
This news from Congress Daily a couple weeks back perked up my ears:
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., will make his first political appearance in Iowa this spring, a move that will stoke speculation about his political future, given the state's reputation as a launching pad for national politicians. American Future Fund, a 501(c)(4), signed Ensign to speak June 1 as part of a new lecture series featuring conservative leaders. Ensign will speak in Sioux City, long a hotbed of conservative political activity.
Politicians know what it means to make trips to Iowa to give big speeches, so you can't say that John Ensign isn't trying to stoke some speculation that he is looking to potentially run in 2012. And politicians certainly know what it means to flail wildly in attacks on a very popular President to score points with the base of their own party, too.
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, told CNN Sunday it was "irresponsible" for President Obama to have been seen "laughing and joking" with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas on Friday.
In the interview with CNN, Ensign was also sharply critical of the Obama administration for releasing previously classified CIA memos outlining Bush-era interrogation techniques.
"What the president has done is he has sent a fear throughout the intelligence community that they could be prosecuted in the future," Ensign said. "And that is exactly the kind of fear that paralyzed the intelligence community prior to September 11. I think America is less safe because of the release of these memos," he said.
"Irresponsible.""Less safe." These aren't just the words of the Senate's most conservative member -- not when combined with a forthcoming trip to Iowa. No, Ensign thinks that he can sow the seeds for a potential White House bid by throwing big words at President Obama and by speaking to the few remaining faithful in Iowa (and there are relatively few, considering that 145.6 percent more Iowans participated in last year's Democratic caucuses than in the Republican caucuses and that John McCain lost the state by nine and a half points last year).
Well, if Ensign's presidential ambitions go any bit as well as his tenure as chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2006 cycle, when his party lost all but one of the seriously contested Senate elections around the country to a Democratic Party few thought had much of any shot of retaking the Senate, then this should be fun to watch.