Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

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.

Tags: John Ensign, Republican Primaries, White House 2012 (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

Ensign also has the John Edwards problem.  Given that his state is now leaning D, he can't pull a Biden/Lieberman/Paul/Kucinich.  He would have to give up his seat to run for President.

by Ramo 2009-04-19 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

What gets me is the apparent outright ignorannce of irrefutable facts.  Ensign claimed that Chavez is a "brutal dictator" and talked about the abuses of human rights in Venezuela.  Now don't get me wrong, Chavez is a bully and a bit of a buffoon, but he's no dictator.  He was democratically elected, and while I'm not itching to move to Venezuela his human rights record is way better than the right wing governments that were there before him.  The scary thing is I don't think Ensign is being cynical.  I think he actually believes this crap!  One more reason to keep him as far away from the presidency as possible.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/200 9/04/19/senator-says-obamas-appearance-w ith-chavez-irresponsible/#more-48210

by ARDem 2009-04-19 02:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

He can't win a primary. Could you imagine the GOP supporting a guy from a state where a) prostitution is legal b) gambling is encouraged c) labor unions are growing?

Social conservative would freak! Ensign is also a  huge recipient of gambling interest campaign contributions.

Also as a democrat Nevada had a huge corruption problem with it's local GOP. This would be easy payback with a vengeance! Who cares is Ensign wasn't involved the media did support that standard with Obama!

by dopper0189 2009-04-19 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

I don't think that's really an issue.

He's a Laxalt conservative and that's just a skip and a jump from being the next coming of Ronald Reagan.

by Charles Lemos 2009-04-19 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

Though Laxalt wasn't too successful during the 1988 Republican primaries...

by Jonathan Singer 2009-04-19 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

True and I wouldn't expect John who? to fare any better but not because Nevada allows gambling.

We missed you at our little MyDD reunion in SF yesterday.

by Charles Lemos 2009-04-19 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

Two words on the gambling issue: Jack Abramoff.

by ARDem 2009-04-19 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

Wow don't type after drinking a few beers! Last paragraph should read

Also as a democrat, Nevada had a huge corruption problem with it's local GOP. This would be easy payback with a vengeance! Who cares if Ensign wasn't involved, the media did support that standard with Obama!

I think you guys are underestimating the liabilities of coming from Nevada for a republican. Remember this is the party that tars SanFran, Massachusetts, and Vermont. I know their hard core base would ignore it, but not their "soft" base (social conservatives 1st, republicans second). I wonder if he could win WV or ND with these liabilities. I also think he couldn't win NC in a general with out Bob Jones' crowd.

This is also my question with Jindal. I think he wouldn't win enough moderate voters to counteract his problem once voters in WV and MO find out his real name is Piyush. (Democrat will try and force his real name on ballots of course pundits will call foul on this but this will force the issue ou).

I think Jindal triggers a 3rd party candidate running on what I call the WESP (white evangelical southern protestant) ticket. Unlike Bob bar this time that ticket would get 2-4% of the vote in the deep south and highlands (Appalachia + Ozarks). I also think the controversy over his assumed name would kill him amongst Latinos I don't think will take to his preaching on assuming an "American" name to succeed after a guy named Barack Obama won last time!  

by dopper0189 2009-04-19 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Ensign Raising Profile for Presidential Bid?

Let me say bing from NV, it really shows how much the GOP lacks in depth that Ensign is being considered. I'm sure he'll probably run but with the main point being a possible VP (though with the way the GOP picks it's VP's, Lady GaGa could be the next in line)

by werd2406 2009-04-19 05:29PM | 0 recs

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