I realize that the Paul Stanley story out of Memphis is tabloid at its finest, but it makes me think of another question that always comes up when legislators get caught with their pants down. The trappings of this scandal has followed many politicians through the years who forget why they were elected in the first place.
So we have the good state senator who was elected as a conservative, to bring conservative values from his constituency to The Hill. He brings up some controversial legislation and he says he speaks for those who voted him in. Stanley forgot one thing though and that is when you continually bring up legislating morality and then don’t practice what you preach, you are going to lose your base.
Now, I’ve noticed that the media is already piling on the intern he got jiggy with, which he has admitted. But you see, she wasn’t voted into office with a mission statement. Her role in this, just like Monica Lewinsky a decade ago with a certain president, is secondary. Neither of these women, regardless of what we think of them on a personal level, were given the privilege of serving in the legislature.
Being elected is indeed a privilege and not a right.
We live in a new world of media that is still smitten with scandals. Scandals, especially pesky sex ones that Stanley has found himself immersed in, are popular because it creates an “us and them” sort of dynamic. And, believe me, sex scandals happen all the time even in small towns like Hoots. It is what it is. We are sexual creatures. But on the other hand, the privilege of being elected to serve a constituency that believed enough in a candidate to give them the “gift” of their vote and then to see that politician not all that he said he was does create a larger issue of who can we, as voters, trust.
Trust is earned. And then when trust is betrayed, you just can’t get that back now, can you. And I’m not even going to get into how his family must feel right now. I feel for them, because Stanley dragged them into this public hell and it was something they didn’t ask for. Nor did they deserve it.
Again, this is not how a savvy politician behaves. Any media strategist worth a dime would have advised Stanley to tell his story first, and to do it before the media had a chance to find out on its own.
Stanley, as many of you will remember, has cast himself as the champion of the traditional family
Stanley did try to hide this, yet he did contact the TBI because he was apparently being blackmailed. On another media level, he didn’t control his own story. We’ve seen this happen before with Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Ted Haggard although he was a preacher with political power, Mark Sanford, John Ensign …
I find that most people are very forgiving when just told the truth. Stanley, and the other folks I mentioned, displayed high levels of hypocrisy with public trust, because we feel as if we know our candidates in many ways on a personal level. Politicians are also celebrities, whether they want to admit it or not.
It cannot be “Do as I say, not as I do” because people don’t want to hear that pile of waste. They want leaders in government who are, as Wendi wrote, savvy. If there was a definition of anti-savvy in Webster’s Dictionary, I think you would find Stanley’s picture beside it, as well as next to the word hypocri te.
And voters can take that gift of a vote back.