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In the Midst of Scandal, Why Some Political Wives Stand By Their Men

"With His Wife By His Side ..."


Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Eliot Spitzer and Silda Wall Spitzer in New York City on March 10, 2008.

Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images
When a sex scandal involving a married politician hits the news, we cringe when we hear the words "with his wife by his side ..."

Why don't these husbands face the cameras alone?

How can these unfaithful jerks ask their wives to do the "stand by your man" routine in front of the world?

Why do political wives stand by their cheating husbands? Why do these wives face public humiliation in the midst of a sex scandal? Why do they agree to appear in public looking shell shocked with sunglasses covering their puffy eyes?

Rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is difficult. Husbands should not make it more difficult by stripping wives of their pride.

Profiles of Some Political Marriages Rocked by Scandal

Comments About Scandals in Political Marriages

Debra J. Saunders: "Just once, I'd like to see a politician caught with his pants down (so to speak) not trot out his wronged wife to stand beside him as he issues his mea culpa ... Or if we have to see the wife, couldn't it be as she is throwing his suits, socks and golf clubs on the sidewalk while invoking the name of a ruthless divorce attorney?"
Source: Debra J. Saunders, "The Emperor's Wife", SFGate.com, 3/11/2008.

Gillian Parrillo: "Another day, another man shaming his wife publicly. The line is endless ... Each, Stepford wife-like, silently standing by the side of the guy who have just broken their heart and made a mockery of their relationship ... I just want one of those women to suddenly open their mouth at the press conference and scream, "You SOB, you are going to pay for this." Or better still, refuse to show up and act like all is forgiven and life is back to normal ... Come on political wives, don't be so pathetic. Demand more, expect more, and be a better role model to others."
Source: Gillian Parrillo, "Enough of This Stand By Your Man Thing", SacramentoExecutive.com, 8/2007.

Deborah Hastings: "Sometimes the answer is presenting a united front for purely public relations. Sometimes it's about hanging onto the perks of power and the pleasures of public office. And sometimes, political consultants say, it's the simple fact that she still loves the jerk."
Source: Deborah Hastings. "Political anthem: 'Stand by your man.'"Associated Press. 8/31/2007.

Dina Matos: “It’s very easy for people on the outside to criticize and say, ‘I wouldn’t have been there. Why is she there? He disgraced her’ ... But you don’t know what the marriage is like. You don’t know what their relationship is like ... It’s a very personal matter. For me, I thought about my daughter. This was a man that I loved, whom I had taken a vow to stand by in good times and in bad, and that was the right decision for me at the time. It was very personal. It was not about the politics ... It’s almost like an out-of-body experience. You’re there physically, but your mind is elsewhere. You can’t even think.”
Source: Mike Celizic, "Why wives stand by scandal-stained husbands", TodayShow.com, 3/11/2008.

Linda Lowen: "How disheartening to see women passing judgment on another woman's actions and decisions. What happens in a relationship is known only to the two involved - the wife, the husband. If you're not in that relationship, then you don't have the full picture and can't accurately judge the situation."
Source: Linda Lowen, "Silda's Choice: Why Judging Silda Wall Spitzer is Wrong", WomensIssues.about.com

Eric Dezenhall: "If you don't have the spouse with you, the signal sent is one of abject debauchery and guilt. When the wife or the family is with you, that suggests, well, somebody close to this person loves them and thinks they're worthwhile."
Source: Libby Copeland, "Spitzer practices ritual of repentance", Washington Post, 3/11/2008.

ABC News: "When public figures take a very public fall, a choice remains for the women in their lives -- to join the hate brigade or to stand by their men. These women sustained their husbands' scandals and stood by their side as they tackled the critical media and public."
Source: Slideshow. "Wives Stand By Their Men." ABCNews.go.com.

Mark Fabiani, political consultant: "It's impossible to get inside anyone's marriage and figure out what really goes on. But if you can't immediately persuade your wife to stand with you, you're finished. How they convince them to stand there before cameras and hot lights and angry questions is impossible to know."
Source: Deborah Hastings. "Political anthem: 'Stand by your man.'" Associated Press. 8/31/2007.

Hillary Clinton: "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by her man. I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him."
Source: "Hillary Clinton stands by her man", BBC.co.uk, 1/27/1998.

Steven Mintz on 'morality fatigue': "When something like this occurred the first time, society was disapproving. But then there’s a second time and a third and so on, and society gets accustomed."
Source: Tony Castro, "Politics & Infidelity: Forgiving Their Trespasses", TonyCastro.typepad.com, 7/24/2007.

Gail Saltz: "Your lives are intertwined, emotionally, financially and physically. You share children. Just because someone has hurt and betrayed you deeply doesn't mean you stop loving them. It's very complicated for any woman who finds her husband has betrayed her."
Source: Jocelyn Noveck. "Women Ponder Why Spitzer's Wife Stood By." ABCNews.go.com. 3/11/2008.

Tony Castro: "... like all political divorces and scandals, may shock and titillate –- but which surprisingly may not have a lasting impact on the futures of those politicians. It is stunning given that as recent as 1988 a highly publicized extramarital affair killed the presidential campaign of then Colorado Senator Gary Hart, who at the time was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. But pundits like veteran Los Angeles political consultant Joe Cerrell say that today divorce and scandal may create headlines but that they no longer break political careers."
Source: Tony Castro, "Politics & Infidelity: Forgiving Their Trespasses", TonyCastro.typepad.com, 7/24/2007.

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