Standing by your man

March 17, 2008

by Kristen Miller

Being involved in a sex scandal is embarrassing, not to mention shameful and hypocritical for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was perceived as one who tackled such crimes.

The American public shouldn’t be so shocked, considering scandals like this happen practically once a year.

Spitzer did do the right thing though, by stepping down, which he did just days after the incident came to light.

What perplexes me, and somewhat upsets me, was seeing Spitzer’s wife, Silda, standing next to him during Monday’s press conference.

Maybe she loves him and will do anything to make it work, which is what marriage is all about, but I’m not sure she did the right thing.

We have a joke going on around the office that he paid off his wife to stand by him.

This wouldn’t be the first time a man did this. During the Kobe Bryant alleged rape scandal, he bought his wife, Vanessa, a gigantic ring so she would stay with him. Who says money can’t buy happiness?

Although I feel sorry for Spitzer’s wife, having an untrustworthy husband and all, I’m a bit disgusted by her complacency.

Seeing her standing there, looking down and appearing as if she had been crying all day, it was hard not to feel her pain.

I just don’t believe her “stand by your man” behavior.

She was devastated, and she shouldn’t deny her own feelings just for a public appearance.

As a wife, I would be outraged. I wouldn’t stand next to my husband in public (unless I thought the allegations were truly false), basically giving the impression to the world that everything will be OK. Everything will not be OK, at least not for awhile.

If I was her, I would be humiliated, and the last thing I would want to do is stand in front of a camera next to the man that betrayed me.

I think it was just a public relations tactic to get the public to think, “If his wife can overlook it, maybe we can, too.”

In an ABC News story shortly after the infamous Larry Craig incident last summer, a spokeswoman for the American Association of Political Consultants, Cathy Allen, tried to explain the “stand by your man” technique.

“Because a picture is worth 1,000 words. If you see a guy standing next to his wife, it offers some explanation that he might be telling the truth,” she said.

“Usually, there is an assumption that if your wife can forgive you, then the world can forgive you,” Allen said.

That is exactly what happened in the Craig case. I know it had me thinking, “Well, maybe he isn’t gay. Maybe he just needed toilet paper.”

The WCCO web site showed a number of wives standing by their man including Tammy Faye Bakker, the wife of Jim Bakker, who in 1987, used church funds to pay off a women he allegedly raped; Carolyn Condit, wife of California Representative, Gary Condit, who had an alleged affair with a missing Washington intern back in 2001; and Wendy Vitter, wife of the Louisiana Senator, David Vitter, who was identified as a client of a Washington, DC escort service just last year.

I may never know what these women are going through (I hope not, anyway), but it would be nice to know what they were thinking and feeling at the time of those press conferences.

I’m also wondering if Mrs. Spitzer should stand up for herself, and not so much for her man.