This is frickin' unbelievable. We used to have something like dignity in this country. At least pay off your mistress yourself, Senator Ensign -- don't use mom and dad's money to do it!
Seriously -- compare this to, say, Alexander Hamilton fooling around with a married woman other than his own wife. He stepped up to the plate, took his lumps, and stopped the bleeding. Did it cost him the Presidency after it all went public in 1797? Doubtful -- he would have had to have gotten past the incumbent John Adams within his own party, and then his reward would have been going up against Thomas Jefferson, whose popularity was at its zenith. If anything, Hamilton coming clean about the nation's first sex scandal salvaged some portion of his reputation, because it cleared him of being involved in a scheme masterminded by his mistress' husband, which concerned speculation in military back-pay vouchers.
But John Ensign? He's going to wind up the punch line to jokes even more cruel than the ones currently being told about Mark Sanford. Because paying off your mistress and her husband with your parents' money is like school on Saturday.