In the state where marriage is a union between a man and a woman and the senator they both work for, John Ensign is still running ahead of Harry Reid in approval ratings and is now busy apologizing, not to his wife, but Senate colleagues for embarrassing them.
Members of both parties greeted him warmly in Washington yesterday, and Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander cited Ensign’s decision to give up his position of Policy Committee chairman as “a substantial step...an act of contrition.”
Ensign's transgression, reported to Fox News by a confused husband seemingly unsure of whether he was seeking money or moral vindication, has to be seen in the context of Nevada as America's oasis from Puritanism, where quickie divorces were invented, legal brothels flourish and the Mafia created casinos to relieve tourists of their inhibitions and life savings.
In this setting, immortalized by movies from "The Misfits" to "The Godfather," the real scandal may be not Ensign's peccadillo but Harry Reid's ineptitude in figuring the odds to get anything done as Majority Leader of the Senate.
That kind of sin is unforgivable.