[updated 6:17 pm]
[updated 3:57 p.m.]
[updated 3:41 p.m.]
By Diane Silver
See the Lawrence Journal World and Associated Press for details of Paul Morrison’s announcement. The resignation is effective Jan. 31.
I’m sick at heart, but I don’t see anything else Morrison could do.
First, there are the good government reasons. “Good government” was the phrase Statehouse insiders used to favor when they meant they were pushing politics aside and acting for the good of the state.
This scandal, all the investigations and media coverage would have dogged Morrison's every move, sucked up all his time and his staff's time and made it impossible for Morrison to do a good job as attorney general.
This state needs an effective attorney general. Having a distracted, unprofessional AG like Phill Kline was one of the reasons 58 percent of voters booted Kline out of the job last year.
Morrison also had to resign for political reasons.
As one of the most visible Democrats in the state, Morrison was helping to lead the charge against the religious right. He was also helping to push the state out of more than a century of Republican domination and into the blue column.
Having Morrison associated with the Democratic Party would have given Republicans and social conservatives an issue to rally behind. It would have sucked the air out of the Democratic resurgence.
Right now, I just want to cry. I voted for Morrison. I defended him on this blog. I saw him as a leader who could turn Kansas away from the blindly incompetent, abortion-obsessed regime of Phill Kline. I saw him as someone who could make the office of attorney general work for all Kansans -- not just those who shared one narrow religious viewpoint.
If the first reports are accurate and include all of Morrison's statement, then I have to admit that I'm a little angry that he apparently didn't even try to defend himself. Saying so little -- if that's the full extent of Morrison's statement -- is like admitting he's guilty of everything that's been alleged.
Don't the thousands of us who voted for you deserve better than that, Morrison?
One footnote: GOP Chairman Kris Kobach's statement about "questions" surrounding Morrison's interest in enforcing the law is overblown, to say the least. The only questions being raised were from the most vehement, anti-choice wing of the Republican Party.
Although Morrison didn't go into details, it seems that he did say more than was first reported. See the Kansas City Star's Buzz Blog. This makes me feel a tad better.
The KC Buzz Blog has Morrison's full statement. It's worth reading.
Just to clarify... I'm not making any judgments about Morrison's guilt or innocence. I don't have enough information to judge any of that. If Morrison is innocent of nothing more than having an affair, he is still in an impossible situation.