What — Me Worry?

With respect to the philosopher Alfred E. Neuman, I find myself worrying more these days about things that probably don’t matter all that much. Probably has something to do with the fact that I am tethered to the elliptical trainer at 5:30 a.m. (and watching local TV news) rather than grinding my feet and knees into the concrete. For instance, didn’t Jon and Kate owe it to the nation to try to work things out with, ah, Dr. Phil?

And will the Republicans have a presidential candidate in 2012? I worry about that. Not sure why.

Gail Collins surfaced that issue in her New York Times column Sunday, “A Nation of Candidates.”

The saga of Senator John Ensign of Nevada, who resigned from a party leadership position this week because of a sex scandal, contained one surprising piece of information.

Obviously, it was something other than the fact that a U.S. senator, who is extremely vocal about family values, had a messy affair with a former campaign staff member.

What struck me was that virtually every story about Ensign’s fall from grace included a reference to his having been considered a possible contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2012.

Who knew? I have to admit, I had trouble even putting a face to Ensign’s name. Since then I have learned, however, that he is the only veterinarian in the Senate.

The Republican Party has finally turned into a big tent. Everybody’s a presidential contender! Being a Republican senator is pretty much an automatic qualification. After all, there are only 40 of them. Once you’ve eliminated the ones with sex scandals and the guy from Kentucky who uses a teleprompter in debates, there’s hardly enough left to fill up a stage at the Iowa State Fair.

I’ll admit it. I didn’t even know Ensign was a U.S. senator, let alone a presidential candidate. I digress. Yet if Ensign is out, who is in? How about South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford? Well, probably not. Seems the gov has been AWOL for the past few days — off hiking somewhere without, apparently, letting his wife, staff or anyone else know where. Go figure. Here’s a story on The Huffington Post.

But get this. A Wall Street Journal online story reports that “Mr. Sanford has been viewed as a likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.” To steal from Gail Collins: Who knew?

If Sanford and Ensign are likely contenders, maybe it is time to worry.


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