GUY W. FARMER: Sharron Angle and John Ensign are delusional

Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, a perennial loser, is thinking of running for president and disgraced Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is running for re-election. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Given their dismal track records, Ms. Angle and Sen. Ensign must be delusional if they think that Nevada voters will support them in 2012. All they can do is to make our state an object of derision - a laughingstock, if you will - on the national political scene. The "fun" started in Iowa last month when Ms. Angle hinted that she might be interested in running for president.

"I'll just say I have lots of options for the future, and I'm investigating all of my options," Ms. Angle told the Des Moines Register at the premier of "The Genesis Code," a $5 million film about "the balancing act between religion and science." Angle described the movie as "family values entertainment." Well, maybe.

Although Ms. Angle ran a strong race against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., last November, losing by only five percentage points, she doesn't have a prayer as a Tea Party candidate for president. That "honor" clearly belongs to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has converted herself into a reality TV star.

As for Sen. Ensign, he's about as popular as ex-Gov. Jim Gibbons among Nevada Republicans. Gibbons, who was involved in a very messy public divorce from ex-wife Dawn Gibbons, was accused of groping a Las Vegas cocktail waitress and doing favors for defense contractors when he was in Congress.

The charges against Ensign are more serious. The Senate Ethics Committee last month named a special counsel to investigate Ensign's shabby affair with the wife of his then-chief aide, Doug Hampton. Washington attorney Carol Bruce will investigate whether Nevada's junior senator violated federal lobbying restrictions by attempting to line up a job for Hampton with campaign donors. And then there's the matter of that $96,000 payoff from Ensign's parents (his father is a wealthy Las Vegas casino executive) to the Hamptons, which some cynics describe as "hush money." Perhaps it was nothing more than a token of their friendship. Ahem.

Making matters worse for Ensign is the fact that he's a card-carrying member of Promise Keepers, a religious organization that extols the virtues of family values and the sanctity of marriage.

Looking ahead to 2012, Congressman Dean Heller, of Carson City, is leading Ensign by 15 percentage points (53-38) among likely Republican voters. And if Heller runs for the Senate, you can be sure that Ms. Angle will seek his seat in the House of Representatives.

• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, has followed Nevada politics for nearly 50 years.


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