Some Baby Boomers may recall a few political extramarital affairs and cheating scandals that occurred in the 1960s and 70s, but it was nothing like the tidal wave of congressional bad boys washing ashore today.
In 1968, Tammy Wynette recorded the hit song Stand By Your Man. That popular tune has become an unofficial anthem for the wives (and some late wives) of adulterous politicians. Just to name a few on a list too long to print, there’s Silda and Eliot Spitzer, Elizabeth and John Edwards, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Dina Matos and Jim McGreevey, and Marie and Arnold Schwarzenegger. And the newest high profile political couple to win the Hot Dog Award is Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner.
Last month, when it was disclosed that Weiner – no kin to Oscar Mayer – posted a nude photo on his Twitter page he immediately went into denial and then lawyered-up.
That defensive play is as smooth as a 3-move checkmate and it begs a redundant and somewhat unrelated question, “If the accused maintains innocence, why settle out of court?”
Well, Weiner recently recanted his original story, and the fact that his wife was not at his side during his press conferences was as obvious as John Boehner’s year round tan.
Could it be that the wives of high profile men are growing tired of standing stone-faced beside their mate as he lies and sometimes cries his cheating heart out in front of television cameras? One can’t help but wonder whether the public apologies and display of apparent remorse of these men is to conceal their embarrassment, secure their marriage or protect their political career.
Regardless of whether the prominent husband’s affair is with another woman or with a man, when the media gets wind of the story it spells public humiliation for both spouses. Even as the offended wife stands dutifully by her man’s side at the press conference and appears to put on a brave face for the cameras, chances are that inwardly she is in emotional turmoil, visualizing the downward spiral of her marriage, and trying to remember where she put the Washingtonian’s list of the Top 25 Divorce Lawyers.
There is nothing wrong with a wife having her man’s back. But any woman whose husband has been unfaithful can certainly feel the pain of the wives of Capitol Hill whose husband’s infidelity funded a whispering campaign.
Congressman Weiner’s pregnant wife reportedly said that she plans to continue her marriage. Nevertheless, the fact that she was a no show at her husband’s press conferencebrought enthusiastic high-fives from women who are tired of seeing the string of mistreated wives put on a united front just to help their cheating husbands save face. Which other women did – or did not – stand by their man?