Patterico's Pontifications


Political Sex Scandals: Forget Party. It’s The Wives.

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 12:46 pm

[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

45 Responses to “Political Sex Scandals: Forget Party. It’s The Wives.”

  1. Elizabeth was an ardent socialist she hated America with a passion what is difficult to quantify – it was on par with how bumble and m’chelle feel I think

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  2. Barney had no women, but what about his men? Or were they not that close to care?

    PatAZ (f23d3e)

  3. Elizabeth could have chosen to end his ambitions right then and there. She chose not to.

    That’s because his ambitions were also her ambitions. Clearly what she was getting out of the relationship was still worth it – at least for a while.

    I think you bring up a good point, Lee, and that is, wives are ultimately in control of the husband’s response: if they want the power and prestige as much as the straying hub, then they’ll wince in unspeakable pain, yet bear it. I don’t even think it’s about a commitment to public service or meeting the needs of constituents, but rather about not wishing to lose a position of unequaled power.

    Mrs. Sanford’s deep commitment to her faith compelled her to forgive and attempt to work through it, but then upon realizing it was a one-sided effort, with great dignity and poise, walked. The power was non-significant to her own well- being and that of her family.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  4. Mrs. Sanford is a heroic figure like Evel Knievel and Ellen Ripley she’s a for reals role model

    Elizabeth Edwards was a lot of things but she was never a role model

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  5. unless maybe you were a wee socialist child what dreamed of growing up in an America where everyone died in squalid government hospitals

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. look like weinerman
    rilly scrooed da pooch on this
    oh wait… he’s a Dem

    ColonelHaiku (19a039)

  7. Wendy Vitter remains my favorite. A rather large woman, she went on stage with her diaper-fetish-hooker-lovin’ husband wearing what probably was the sexiest top in her wardrobe — sorta leopard-spot looking, V-cut and tight.
    But she still looked like an all-knowing deer in the klieg-lights.

    Larry Reilly (0e1b2d)

  8. for Louisiana David Vitter is about as good as it gets

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  9. Larry Reilly,the JounoList, has hatred oozing from his pores.

    JD (d48c3b)

  10. Geez, someone has real issues with women. I guess that’s what happens when you take your cues from the likes of Olby and Ed.

    Ag80 (1bc637)

  11. Larry Reilly it’s even funnier that Elizabeth Edwards looked the other way when her husband cheated on her but threw him under the bus when it became to inconvenient to be seen with him.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  12. Larry Reilly – Have you ever had sex with a woman?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  13. No but he has had sex with himself……………….Ok I will shut up.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  14. “Larry Reilly – Have you ever had sex with a woman?

    Comment by daleyrocks — 5/28/2011 @ 2:30 pm”

    Revising and extending – Other than a direct blood relative.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  15. I do feel bad for the women, especially when they are trotted out to stand next to their husband. Here is a picture of Elliot Spitzer’s lovely wife, I wish I could dig her a hole myself for her to jump into. I am also thinking about Roy Romer’s wife, who stood by him at a press conference while he explained footage of him making out with an aide in an airport parking lot. Tipper Gore, having to endure the sad ending to her marriage, with public reports of randy Al’s attempt to get a ‘happy ending’ (no irony intented); and making that “kiss” all the more creepy.

    Really like Dana’s point about Mark Sanford’s wife. Maria Shriver, too, a little different but she put up with the whispers and got out ahead of the big story.

    TimesDisliker (45ec72)

  16. We are contributing to Gorebull warming.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  17. /sarcasm obviously

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  18. The thing about Maria Shriver is that the Kennedy women should be used to this.

    Jay Stevens (4638e0)

  19. I think Lee has a point about Republicans and Democrats. Nobody expects a Democrat to keep his pants zipped. Mark Foley was run out of town for stuff that Barney Frank wouldn’t even acknowledge. It’s a bit like Gary Hart inviting reporters to follow him around.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  20. I always feel bad for all of the wives involved; to have such an intimate betrayal broadcast far and wide must be extra humiliating.

    And I can’t imagine what it must be like for women like Ahhhhhnuld’s wife Maria and Hillary Clinton; both of whom went to bat for their husbands initially, and Hillary continued to after the truth came out! Amazing…

    That said Lee, you may be onto something here. But I must say that we’ll have to agree to disagree about the motivation for the biased focus depending on the party ID.

    It’s part of the larger meme regarding the supposed explanation for why the MBM is soooooooo much more negatively focused on conservatives than members of the progressive left; because of the hypocrisy!

    Becuase if that were really the case, they’d be all over Mr. Obama and some of his associates like white on rice…

    No President of the modern era has broken as many promises to his supporters as Mr. Obama has…

    And more importantly, from phony talk of “post partisanship”, and TRANSPARANCY!, to the stump demagoguery regarding THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY!, signing statements, and recess appoints, and prosecuting the war on terror; Mr. Obama scolds, and continues to lecture and scold, his political opponents about behavior he has no reservations whatsoever about engaging in himself…

    And, oddly, I don’t seem to see the MBM “focusing like a laser” nor even seem the slightest bit motivated to expose Mr. Obama’s “hypocrisy”.

    So, as always, say what you’d like, but in addition to it being a colossal case of “Do as I say!, and not as I do!”, combined with “some animals at the farm being more equal than others”, it is for the most part fundamentally about the lack of principle on the port side of the political spectrum.

    Or perhaps more aptly put, the only principle is that which is situationally expedient at that time; to be replaced or updated as necessary, as the situation dictates. Or as Malcom X said, “By whatever means necessary”…

    My Regards

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  21. So does cheating on your wife contribute to gorebullcrap warming? somebody ask Al Gore assuming he doesn’t have his head up his arse.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  22. Democrats think 28% of US population is gay–Gallup

    This proves they live and operate in some sort of bizarre perception bubble that is very off kilter from reality. This Gallup result also suggests that many of their (Democrats’) operating assumptions about Republicans probably are off kilter, too.
    (As if we didn’t already know that from the lamestream media’s contributions to American society.)

    elissa (953622)

  23. Not sure it’s all right/left.But would bet serious money Weiner is not going anywhere. You have to have or pretend to have standards to be a hypocrite in the first place, and Weiner might not have any abiding belief beyond himself. Weiner’s marriage was probably a sham from Day 1, so it’s not like it meant anything to him nor mattered to him. In fact, based on some of the campaign brochures by either Bob Turner or Orthodox Jews, his wife was probably a politcial liaibility.

    Bugg (ea1809)

  24. I don’t know what to think about Vitter.

    If my husband had diaper fetish…..I don’t know. Maybe I’d be grateful he used a prostitute to fulfill that need.

    MayBee (081489)

  25. Of course, the wives don’t care until the affair becomes pubic.

    I’ll be here all week. Tip the waitress.

    Ag80 (1bc637)

  26. Ag: also public.

    PatAZ (f23d3e)

  27. Does anyone else want to correct @repweiner’s May 24th tweet hashtag of #YouCantStopMeBoehner to #youcantstopmyboner ?

    Pamela (08dad3)

  28. I’ve been offline for the past 24 hours and don’t really know what this is about, but if what matters in a sex scandal is how the wife reacts, then Wiener would seen to have nothing to worry about, since I doubt Huma gives two hoots where he gets his rocks off, so long as it isn’t with her.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  29. In fact, based on some of the campaign brochures by either Bob Turner or Orthodox Jews, his wife was probably a politcial liaibility.

    True. In that district, his marriage is a liability. But 1. in Borough Park the political machines matter more than what anybody actually thinks; and 2. he doesn’t intend to stay in that district forever. He put off his mayoral run when Bloomberg got the rules suspended just for him; but I expect him to run in 2013. And Huma will stand by his side, and the citywide voters will lap it up. And then he’ll no longer have to care about Borough Park.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  30. If my husband had diaper fetish…..I don’t know. Maybe I’d be grateful he used a prostitute to fulfill that need.

    Me too. It seems like a sensible arrangement for all concerned.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  31. “I’m looking at you, Hillary”

    Good God! Why would you want to?!


    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  32. PatAz:

    You do know that was a joke? No disrespect.

    Ag80 (1bc637)

  33. Lee
    If it’s not about politics, why do you think it’s funnier if the politician is a republican and I think it is funnier if the politician is a democrat?

    badger (70c78d)

  34. I understood, Ag.

    PatAZ (f23d3e)

  35. You liberals[a hijacked word] need to calm down.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  36. or she can call her Mom (still in Saudi Arabia?), wonder what she’d have to say?

    ER (2b7697)

  37. The only evidence that Vitter did something wrong was his name turned up in the madams list of callers.Unlike spitzer, he had no duty to enforce the law and no govt. funds were involved. Who knows how many office holders would have to resign if all that was needed was to have their name in someones records.There was not enough evidence to bring any charges against vitter but spitzer could easily have been convicted.

    dunce (b89258)

  38. Sorry to go off-topic (OTOH it’s a holiday weekend and these threads are slow), but I’m just going to start saying this compulsively:

    Ryan/Rubio ’12.

    I think it hits the Dems on multiple fronts. Electorally, it’s got a fair bit of power: siphons off the Midwestern vote, the Latino vote, plus the white-ethnic Reagan Democrats who mistrust the GOP but are growing concerned about the deficit and would vote for a GOP candidate who isn’t perceived as crazy.

    Plus they’re both eloquent and competent. And if they signal that their Cabinet will include Christie, Palin and Daniels (and maybe Pawlenty) then you’ve got a Rock and Roll Competency Hall of Fame.

    “I! Drink! Your! Milkshake!”

    Any thoughts?

    d. in c. (6d8a47)

  39. Neither Ryan nor Rubio have ever run a government of any size, have they? How long will it take them to learn? A president should have already done it on a smaller scale, so there isn’t any “what does this do?” phase.

    Palin/Jindal in ’12. Let Ryan guide his budget through Congress in the first two years of the next administration, and then see whether Scott Walker is ready to move on in ’14. Ditto for Rubio; after he’s been reelected to the Senate in ’16, he should turn his sights to Tallahassee. Once they’ve both done some governing, they can think about the presidency.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  40. The only evidence that Vitter did something wrong was his name turned up in the madams list of callers.Unlike spitzer, he had no duty to enforce the law and no govt. funds were involved.
    Comment by dunce — 5/29/2011 @ 8:38 pm

    How about his own words?

    Vitter apologized again for “a serious sin in my past,” a week after phone records showed he had contacted the D.C. madam. The couple refused to answer questions after their brief statements.

    Read more:

    vor2 (233aed)

  41. Milhouse — your point is taken, but I’m chiefly thinking about what’s necessary to genuinely WIN in a difficult climate.

    Can Palin pull it out? It’s an open question. I do like her, despite her serious drawbacks; but her sworn enemies are both numerous and extraordinarily vicious and persistent. That’s a serious and very real obstacle.

    Like you I’d prefer a seasoned and charismatic governor; but that really only means Christie and if he won’t run, then ??? I really don’t think Jindal’s up to snuff.

    Ryan at least has the resume of, if not an executive, then still a grizzled Washington pro: this is better than nuthin’, and he’s both serious in a way that Romney isn’t, and undeniably intelligent in a way Palin has yet to prove. I’d honestly look forward to a Ryan-Obama debate with great confidence; but a Palin-Obama debate would be at best a white-knuckle affair, not to mention a hurricane of idiot spin on both sides.

    I agree that in an ideal world Rubio should bide his time and make some more hay; but in this particular political backstreet fistfight, it might be useful to have a guy like Rubio who can siphon off Mexican votes w/o demanding an unreasonable pound of flesh in return.

    There are other tempting (and risky) combinations to be sure; but the GOP needs to be honest that its A-team is weak, and that without some crafty strategy Obama will edge them out, even if (or especially if) Congress goes R.

    d. in c. (cae88c)

  42. The voice of unintelligibility strikes again.

    Icy Texan (5238a0)

  43. I really don’t think Jindal’s up to snuff.

    He may have what it takes, but he’s too young to mount a serious run. Plus the calendar works against him; by the time he’s finished with his reelection campaign it’ll be too late to jump into the primaries. But he could be a credible VP candidate.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  44. Comment by Icy Texan — 5/30/2011 @ 5:56 pm

    I can always count on your blabber whenever I post. methinks I wear too my jeans a little too tightly when around you – eye contact icy eye contact, ok?

    excitedtexan (1862e8)

  45. that was me not excited texan — icy is the excited texan one in this thread 😉

    vor2 (1862e8)

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