The author Sally Denton, who grew up in Southern Nevada, writes an occasional blog for The Daily Beast, the new-ish website run by longtime magazine diva Tina Brown (Vanity Fair, The New Yorker).
In her latest entry, Denton, author of several works of history, including “The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America,” seeks to explain why Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is in deep trouble in his home state, where popular perception holds that adultery is not only accepted but encouraged.
“Ensign’s sex scandal has broken through the veneer of the born-again puritan to reveal the lounge act beneath,” Denton writes.
Denton notes that Ensign’s affair with a key aide is more than a private matter, because the mistress, her husband and their son were paid handsomely to work in Ensign’s office. When the affair fell apart, the mistress and her family lost their cushy jobs.
“Nevadans are famously accepting of clay-footed politicians, and would have doubtless forgiven Ensign a sexual transgression if not for the enormity of the hypocrisy,” Denton submits, noting Ensign’s conservative religious beliefs and membership in the Promise Keepers. “The conventional wisdom in Nevada suggests he can survive the sex scandal, but charges of shakedowns and payoffs are risky business.”
Find Denton’s blog post here.