Spitzer’s Skeletons Came out of the Closet

Ahh kittens…one of my favorite scandals erupted unexpectedly yesterday to brighten an otherwise dull Monday afternoon. By now, we’ve all heard about it, the good old Governor of New York couldn’t seem to keep his pants zipped up during a quick trip to DC last month and had to ship down some call girl from NY to keep him occupied for a few hours. Ahh……the joys of a political sex scandal involving a rising star in the Democratic party, sprinkled with the fun of knowing this particular politician has steadfastly fought against prostitution rings in the recent past……nothing adds whip cream to the top of a delicious political sex scandal more than double standards and hypocrisy, of course!  I can still hear Wall Street and business tycoons laughing over their gin and tonics and cigars.

But see, it’s not really the guilty husband that intrigues me the most about this story or even how sanctimonious Spitzer was as the AG. We’ve talked about this before on KT. It seems that we’ll never know why the ego stretches so large that politicians believe they are above the law and most importantly, forget that they actually can’t ever get away with their indiscretions. But, history has a way of repeating itself and this scandal is as old as time.  No matter how brilliant the aides are that surround these politicians, they haven’t yet been able to convince them that their skeletons will always come out of the closet. And we should all be thankful for it because it sure is fun to watch.

But like I was saying, it’s not the man that fascinates me in all of this, it’s the role of the betrayed and humiliated wife that I just can’t move past. The image of the wife standing there next to her husband during the initial press conference, with that scorned look on her face, and then holding his hand as they exit center stage and dodge the most painful questions.

Why….why…why…I keep asking myself. Why do these wives stand there? Anyone thinking of our gal Hil on 60 Minutes, with such confidence that her husband did NOT have an affair with Gennifer Flowers…years before Monica showed up in the Oval Office in her blue dress? Or gay Governor McGreevey’s wife. I think she resurfaced onto the Today Show this morning but we were busy watching Little Bill. Or Vitter’s wife…or Larry Craig’s wife….and now Spitzer’s wife…and all the other wives before my time….and that will come down the road in the future.

Why do they stand there, we all wonder?

Now, from a PR perspective, I understand why the wife is standing there but even that confuses me at my core. The horn-dog political husband needs his wife standing there in that first press conference to show the world that his family believes in him, so we should too. I get that.

But what does that do for the wife? Why does the wife give a shit that her husband’s career is going down the toilet and fast? Why does she want to be publicly associated with this sinking ship any more than she already is? Hell, we’re all talking about how he not only cheated on her with a hooker but went so far as to transport that woman from NY to DC to get it on with her….and if you’re transporting hookers, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that wasn’t the first time he got his toes wet…so to speak…..

Also – living in DC – I’m a little offended. What’s wrong with our hookers here? What – they not as hot as the ones in NY? Come on guys……no need to transport them over state lines.

So, back to the wife, why should she care about her husband’s career in that moment? Why should she stand there, stone faced, hanging on like cold grim death, to the idea that her husband’s career will actually survive?

Well, being a mother, I can only assume one thing – she’s standing there for her kids.  She’s standing there because she believes, in that rock bottom moment of her life, after all the crap she’s put up with over the years to support her husband and help his career, that her children need to see their parents as a unified front in order to minimize the disgrace, humiliation and confusion they are surely feeling. 

That is the only theory I can come up with as to why the wives all stand there. Not a person in this world can convince me that any one of those wives wants to be there. And hopefully she is giving her husband a verbal beating before and immediately leaving center stage, though it won’t do any good. But as mothers, in that moment, I’m sure the only thing they can think of to do is what they think will help their children in the long run.

And so I can’t judge them, I can’t throw them under the bus just like I want to throw their husband under the bus, because if I believed that I needed to do that to help my daughter, then I would stand there too. For her. And only for her. And if some reporter asked me why I was standing there, all I would say was “to support my children.”

So instead of judging these wives, I ask you this – do you think that standing there in support of the husband actually does help the children more in the long run? Surely children have been all ages when these kinds of scandals have hit these horny, pathetic, lying, cheating excuses for husbands and fathers. So some kids can understand the scandal immediately while others might need more explanation and then will look back in time at those pictures.

What message does it send the children in that moment and in the future? Does it tell their kids that you stand by the people you love when they need you the most, no matter how much it hurts? That you can’t just cut and run when the going gets tough? Or does it tell them that even after you were just walked all over like a doormat, and stomped on a few times, and there was probably dog shit on the bottom of the shoe that was stepping all over you, even after all that, you still stand up there in support? Because you really are a doormat?

I honestly don’t know.

What do you think?

4 Responses to Spitzer’s Skeletons Came out of the Closet
  1. WendyK
    March 11, 2008 | 3:59 pm

    i’m also conflicted. on the one hand, i think it’s the only way the children can hope to have relationships with men and their father, on the other it may tell them they deserve to be treated like sh*t. he must be a psychopath.

    Have you read the book, The Psychopath Next Door? Very interesting. It asserts that 1 in 25 people are psychopaths…not blood hungry necessarily, but the common denominator is they live guilt-free lives. They usually have enough interpersonal skills to hide it from people. The book says they can’t be reformed and you should avoid these people. I didn’t read the entire book, so that’s all the advice I can give. :)

  2. ABP
    March 11, 2008 | 4:41 pm

    I was having the same discussion today with a coworker. I was saying if that was my husband – get your checkbook out honey because you are getting a call from my lawyer. About the kids part – I am not sure that the wife sticking around is helping them. What kind of message does that send? That she is sticking to her vows of marriage of until death do us part? Or that its ok for dad to do these disloyal (and disgusting) things? I would think the child would respect their mother more if she left. Maybe these wives feel stuck – that they have wrapped their lives and identity so much with their husband that they feel that they can’t leave and be out on their own. Maybe its a form of stockholm syndrome? The reality is that no one comes out a winner in these scenarios.

  3. chrissy
    March 11, 2008 | 4:52 pm

    I watched Dina Matos on the Today Show this morning and when asked why she stood by him, she said exactly what you guessed KT: she did it for her kids. She says that at the time, she thought it would be most reassuring and stable for them. Plus, she reminds us that in the shock of the scandal, all she could think of were her wedding vows and how she was to stand by him in good times and bad…but mainly it was her kids and she’s guessing that’s why ES’s wife is standing there too.

    In a more annoying follow up, they had the hateful hateful Dr. Laura comment on the interview during which she basically blames the wives. That’s an entry in itself…

  4. YumaMom
    April 27, 2008 | 4:27 pm

    I’d like to see that Dr. Laura interview. She says lots of things that I think are outrageous – (like blaming the wives for Spitzer-type behaviour, if that’s what she said.) At the same time, I believe that she has some wisdom as well when it comes to happy dynamics between a man and a woman in marriage. My mom bought me the book “Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” or some such title, and I totally scoffed and laughed. Then I read half of it. She does have a few good points, tucked in among the “never in my life” ideas. The most important point is that men want to feel like MEN, and this is OK, and we should not forget or deny that if we want a content married life (and don’t women also like to be “treated like a WOMAN” every once in a while?). How you define all this does not quite have to be like Dr. Laura – but it is worth thinking about.

    The other thing she points out, and I think it is true, is that in the past decades’ effort to raise women up and attend to OUR needs, OUR egos, OUR careeers, etc. – the flipside of the role of men in marriage, society and life in general has been ignored. The guys are often left figuring it out alone. They try to reconcile being the perfect husband with other notions of manliness, or whatever they have learned in society, and they are damned if they do and damned it they don’t (I am not talking about Spitzer here, or even the Spitzer issue – just your average guy trying to get by, respect himself as a man, and be good to his wife and children).

    Maybe my years in Europe opened my mind to the idea that it is OK and even good for a man and a woman to be masculine and feminine – without meaning that the woman has to stay home and do the dishes. My mom bought the book, it turns out, for me and for my two sisters. We are all strong, independent women, and she is proud of that. But maybe women of her generation still know a few things that we don’t.

    I challenge you to read that book and tell me it does not have a few good nuggets.

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