Why Paul Stanley's Private Affair Is A Public ConcernThere is chatter all over the blogosphere about Tennessee State Senator Paul Stanley's affair with an intern who was/is married and had other boyfriends on the side. Stanley reported the situation to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation because one of the boyfriends of McKensie Morrison, the intern in question, was threatening to blackmail Stanley with incriminating photographs of he and Ms. Morrison. There are the predictable calls for Stanley to resign for various reasons, and the also-predictable defenses of "this is Senator Stanley's 'private life.'" I must disagree with my dear friend Stacey Campfield-I think there is little question that Paul Stanley needs to resign, preferably yesterday.
It is not because he had an adulterous affair that Paul Stanley needs to get out of the Tennessee Senate. It was morally wrong, politically stupid, and sinful for Stanley to behave in the way that he has apparently grown accustomed, but if every person in the Legislature who has ever been unfaithful to their spouse were made to resign for that reason alone, I doubt that the Speaker of either House could keep a quorum for business. It is even acceptable in some quarters at the Capitol to whore around with one's female interns, as disgraceful as that might be. The real question which raises Paul Stanley's offense(s) to the level of resignation is the question of what Paul Stanley is doing with his time while in Nashville.
When the Legislature adjourns for the day during session, it is not the least bit uncommon to find legislators going to their favorite restaurants, bars, clubs, or other hangouts near Capitol Hill. When you work with certain people for six months out of the year in an institutional setting, it is easy to see that you'll become friends with some of them. You might all stay in the same hotel, eat at the same places, and run with the same crowd. You might have a great time with your new friends some nights as a fringe benefit of the job. When in Nashville to cover the General Assembly, I stay in the same hotel with Bill Dunn, Stacey Campfield, Dennis Ferguson, Eddie Bass and Chad Faulkner (among others). In the evenings, these folks enjoy good conversation and chats about colleagues, family, and friends at the hotel bar while they share a meal. I have often been invited to lunch or dinner with Frank Niceley, Susan Lynn, Debra Maggart, Eric Swafford, and many others and have seen how our Representatives bond and form relationships with each other while enjoying themselves. This is a part of life at the Capitol, but each of the people I mentioned understands that this is not the reason they are up there.
Bill Dunn is known to show up at his office at 6:00am to begin working. Mike Bell has a blue collar work ethic that causes him to show up early and often stay late. It isn't the least bit unheard of for Stacey Campfield to work deep into the evening and sleep on a small couch in his office. These people know that their primary reason for being in Nashville is to serve their constituents, not to be a good-time Charlie or spice up their sex lives.
If someone is able to come up with enough photographs of you playing Romper Room with your favorite intern that they can then threaten you with blackmail, then you've probably spent entirely too much of your time at the Capitol tending to your desires rather than the concerns of the people you represent. Paul Stanley's libido is obviously of greater concern to him than the public business, so he needs to clear himself from the burdens of public life so that he can engage in the things most important in his universe.