The Sun asks why Ensign hired his "best pal" Doug Hampton in 2006 for a high-paying job in the senator's office, despite Doug Hampton's apparent lack of qualifications for the post. The paper notes that Darlene Ensign -- the senator's wife -- and Cynthia Hampton went to high school together, but then adds:
The Hampton and Ensign families also shared conservative evangelism, according to people who know them. The men shared a commitment to the principles of Promise Keepers, a Christian fellowship that espouses strong marriages and families.
We reported last month on the Promise Keepers connection, and noted that one of the seven promises to which participants commit themselves is "pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises."
A source told us for that post that when Hampton was hired, the attitude among other staffers was, "This is the boss's religious buddy. We're not gonna bitch about him, but we don't really like him."
In other words, could it be that Ensign -- who had had a long unexplained absence from his job in 2002, which many observers believe was triggered by another affair -- brought his religious friend onto the staff in part to help keep himself on the path of righteousness, but then ended up straying from that path, with disastrous consequences, with his friend's wife?
The word irony would hardly do it justice...