[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]
I do just what I want to do
I want everything and I want you, too
I wish I could explain to you
But the things men without women do
You just don’t understand
- Little Steven, Men Without Women
As the Weinergate story continues to build up steam one side conversation that comes up frequently is about whether it will have any impact on the Democratic congressman because….well, he’s a Democrat. I say forget that. If the story breaks the way it seems to be breaking, ignore his party affiliation. Watch his wife.
Lots of people think there’s a double standard based on whether the scandal is about a Republican or Democrat. Republicans view this as an example of media bias and Democrats view it as side effect of Republican’s focus on family issues but both sides accept for the most part that the double standard exists. I’m going to offer an alternative theory for your consideration. It’s not about politics.
It’s about women.
Specifically, it’s about the wives of politicians and how they react. This is a bigger factor than party affiliation. Often, the voters just don’t care. The wives always care but sometimes put the money and power and ambition above other considerations. (I’m looking at you, Hillary.)
Or take another case I know well; the John Edwards affair. When the Enquirer broke the story of John Edwards getting caught at the Beverly Hilton with Rielle Hunter, it wasn’t like the late Elizabeth Edwards didn’t know who Hunter was. In fact, she’d confronted John about his affair just a few days after he announced his Presidential run. Elizabeth could have chosen to end his ambitions right then and there. She chose not to. As Brad Crone, a Raleigh-based Democratic consultant said “While she’s the victim, she clearly didn’t stand in the way of the cover-up."
And once Elizabeth turned on Edwards, it was over for him.
Now, I do think that there may a cultural factor that is peripherally related to politics – at the margins, Democratic wives may be ambitious and politically focused than Republican wives, who may be more religious or focused on their own family. As I said, though, at the margin – there’s no rule here.
Compare David Vitter (Republican) with Elliot Spitzer (Democrat) and their respective hooker scandals. Spitzer resigned almost immediately. Vitter stuck it out and there’s Wendy Vitter, standing right by his side as he sticks to the career path. You really don’t need to watch the video — look at her face in the clip thumbnail. Sticking it out ain’t easy.
Those southern, family values Republicans elected Vitter again.
Compare that to Elliot Spitzer…
Close friends have stated that Spitzer spends most of his time with his family, and regularly meets with lawyers in his father Bernard’s real estate office in Manhattan. Spitzer and his wife have entered couples therapy because of Spitzer’s adultery.
Look at almost any of these sex scandals and you’ll see the real factor how the wives reacted.
When Chris Lee (R – NY) was
caught with his pants down with his shirt off, he immediately resigned and went home. I don’t have any insight there, but my first thought was that his wife told him he’d lost his D..C. privileges.
Larry Craig (R – ID) retired but didn’t resign and fought back.
Literally and figuratively, Suzanne Craig, wife of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, stood by her man as he spoke to reporters Tuesday, denying that he is gay and saying that he mistakenly pleaded guilty to charges that he had propositioned an undercover police officer for sex in an airport men’s room.
And Barney Frank? No women at all.
What’s Mrs. Weiner to do? Thankfully, she has Hillary to call on for advice and support.
- Lee Stranahan