Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time For Valuing Family, Not Just Family Values

We have absolutely no interest in the sex lives of celebrities and politicians, and we’ve always thought that marital infidelities are best left to the couple involved and the rest of us should just mind our own business.

The only disagreement that we’ve ever had here on this rule of thumb has been the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton sexual affair. It was the unanimous opinion here that the president’s impeachment was an overreach and a $70 million one at that by the time Kenneth Starr quit churning his billable hours.

It was a split decision on whether President Clinton had done anything wrong. The majority vote here was that it was silly to care about the sexual activities of politicians and the president was no exception. The minority view was that it did matter, not because President Clinton was having sex outside of marriage but because he was having sex with an intern, theoretically an employee of the White House.

…Where You Get The Mail

We mention all this to say that if the revelation of Tennessee Senator Paul Stanley – the latest in a seemingly endless string of outed philanderers whose political careers have been built on images of their families and the rhetoric of family values – had not involved his legislative intern, we’d simply dismiss it as none of our business and it is best left to Senator Stanley and his wife.

The problem is that the first rule of Being the Boss 101 is that you do not have sex with people who work for you. It’s not about being unfaithful to your wife. It’s about opening up your employer – in this case, the State of Tennessee – to possible legal action for sexual harassment.

On that latter point, there appears to be no gray area, and reluctantly, we conclude that Senator Stanley’s behavior with an employee makes this seamy and untenable. It’s just hard to argue with the general feeling by most parents that their 22-year-old daughters should be safe from sexual advances in the halls of government (even if she is a seductress of the first order).

Damage Control

Senator Stanley essentially issued up his mea culpa in his resignation from the coveted chairmanship of the Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee. At this point in these serial events, the emphasis always seems to be on stanching the political bleeding, and apparently, that’s what his resignation was aimed at doing.

It’s confusing, however, as to why he would feel the need to resign a chairmanship if he isn’t resigning as a senator. Perhaps we are being Pollyannish, but we think he should be concentrate on his family, not his politics.

Whether his wife emulates the familiar, “stand by your man” style of Elliott Spitzer’s wife, or the refreshing independence of the wife of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, it could be a major influence in giving this a shorter shelf life as a media priority. It’s tempting to say these days that many of these politicians have more commitment to the Second Amendment than to the Seventh Commandment, but life is always complicated and often messy, so we hesitate to trivialize the most angst-filled episodes in people’s lives.

Compassion Is A Family Value

As for us, we find little to commend in Senator Stanley’s anti-living wage, pro-gun and anti-gay politics, and in the past legislative session, he was a poster child for the worst Legislature in modern history. That said, we vote for the volume to be turned down on all of this.

While Senator Stanley tried clumsily to cast himself as a victim in his first press release, he needs to follow the familiar scandal containment two-step: accept responsibility and ask for forgiveness. Our people are infinitely forgiving and they understand that every one has something in their lives that they’d rather forget.

To his credit, the senator did not toy with the idea of coming across with the extortion payment in hopes of keeping a lid on the blackmail attempt. Instead, he went to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, knowing that consequences would be inevitable and unpredictable.

Senator Stanley prominently displays a photograph of his family on his website, and they cast a striking portrait of perfection. At this point, we should at least be willing to give them space to deal with the imperfection that has intruded into their lives.


Anonymous said...

Just for, you know, the record and all, the charges against President Clinton were perjury and obstruction of justice. Not piddling with the intern. Which itself is grounds for a criminal charge. Remember Judge Lanier up in Dyersburg or thereabouts?

As for whether he had done anything wrong, seems the Arkansas and U.S. Supreme Courts thought so. They took his law licenses.

Zippy the giver said...

When "The Most Powerful Leader on Earth" starts having sex with YOUR DAUGHTER who is VOLUNTEER, not an employee, learning government and she inevitably learns we are run by a despot who's depravity is akin to Saddam Hussein's sons, then you can expound about Clinton.

Memphians aren't forgiving at all. They are either asleep, don't give a crap, aren't paying attention, or are in denial.

Smart City Consulting said...

The perjury and obstruction of justice were connected directly to sex. It was all about sex, and self-righteous, moralistic at that. And it's worth mentioning that some of the folks outed recently for their affairs were those screaming about Clinton.

It was the proverbial mountain made out of a molehill.

Smart City Consulting said...


Whether volunteer or employee, the same rule applies.

Anonymous said...

SCM - Come on. The president lied under oath. About sex. In a sexual harrasment case. That is not excused because the questions were about sex. You can argue that he shouldn't have been impeached for it, but you can't really be arguing that his lying under oath was excusable because of the subject matter of the questions. A witness does not get to decide whether the subject is worth the truth or not. I don't mean to rehash all that Clinton stuff, which more pointless now than it was then, but that argument has always bugged me.
That said, Rep Stanley has gotten himself in quite a pickle. Doesn't seem much to ask that if you are going to demand that the rest of us live by your moral code, you will too. Conservatives wont vote for you if you admit up front to having an affair with a 22 year old, but they seem awfully interested in defendiing you when you in office and caught with a 22 year old. As long as you agree with them, that is.

Anonymous said...

The really good thing here is that SCM would also have defended George Bush if he had been caught with a 22-year-old intern, told his pollster he would have to lie about it, looked directly into the camera and lied to the American people, lied under oath in a deposition about it, and kept the whole thing going for months instead of just admitting it. It would be all about sex.

Because otherwise SCM would be a hypocrite.

Tom Guleff said...

This is a political train wreck for Paul Stanley. It is just a matter of time before he resigns his seat. The state GOP will not allow this to distract or hinder their progress. Paul is pretty much toast. Ramsey knows that this will have to be dealt with sooner than later. I'd give it another another week or two before he's told to pack his bags.

Zippy the giver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"The peasants are revolting!"

"They certainly are..."

Groucho Marx

lighten up fact, go ahead and light up, that baggie wasn't going to last till the weekend anyway.

Smart City Consulting said...

Tom: You are destined to be right, especially with old issues from a first marriage now surfacing. We've begun the drip-drip-drip phase of media coverage that eventually drowns you.

Smart City Consulting said...

anonymous 7:14:

Actually, we did suggest that George Bush I's affair got the lack of media coverage that it deserved.

As for us, we'd have impeached Clinton if he's told the truth about the affair. :)

Zippy the giver said...

I don't really care what Bill's crime was, I grew around his minions and corruption, what you know as suicides and rumors I know is murder and fact.
I don't like ANY of the current crop of political weirdos outing themselves. They are all loathsome.
You think Bill is just a sort of hapless pervert. HAPLESS??
Tell that to all the "suicides" and "plane crash victims" that have three bullets in their heads in addition to other injuries. There are 71 of them.

How many did Saddam's sons kill?

You think that Flowers and Jones were his only "extra's".
He's been having an affair with a woman from his hometown for eons, paying for her apartment in west Little Rock for years and her new breasts.
You guys really don't know crap about the Clintons. What you think is preposterous is hard fact, it's just so crazy you can't believe it on it's face, classic Clinton.

Christians don't have to worry about electing the "antichrist" to office of president anymore, you already did it, willingly, two terms.
The next head of the dragon is Hillary. They're already building her up as a "tough old broad" as secretary of defense. You'll elect her in a landslide.
I wouldn't go banking on anything after that either, in fact, you can forget about banking at all.

Had it been your daughter and had you known the real scoop on what really happened, you would be singing a very different song.

Do you like law teachers that overfocus on teaching how to subvert the law through loopholes? That's what Bill taught.

"Whether volunteer or employee, the same rule applies."

Really, exactly what rule is that?
What rule is it when it's your daughter?

"Time For Valuing Family, Not Just Family Values"

A bit disingenuous, idnit?

That is a core problem in Memphis.
People don't realize they are hypocrites and that they actually have no core values that they are willing to "actually" live by,


It's all talk, no walk.
The mayor can't even walk out of office on time.

I'll tell you what the "rule" is, it's the rule of law, you'll live by it or you will become beasts, like wild pigs and hyenas. wait till unemployment reaches 50% and the government has no money for extensions, we're at 25% now, see ya in 6 months.

The day of people who can make excuses for politicians because they admire them, even though the don't really know the depth of their crimes, or worse, are a part of them, are ending. Thank GOD!

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