What Happened to the 'Good Wife' Factor?

It was a holy mess in Texas last week when James Dobson took to the pulpit and questioned whether a mistress of eight years had what it takes to be a First Lady. Dobson was, of course, referring to Callista Gingrich. Dobson was trying to drum up support for Karen Santorum, but the overt marriage of religion and politics left some in the audience stunned given that the event was supposed to be a procedural one for the organization of church leaders.


Then came Newt Gingrich's ex-wife's tell-all to ABC News, just days before the South Carolina primaries. Q'uel scandal! Marianne Gingrich let it rip with tales of requests for an open marriage and reports that Callista had slept in Gingrich's marital bed at their home in Washington while working as an aide to Gingrich. She went on to say that Gingrich told Marianne, who is wife number two of a total number of three, he was leaving her because he wanted to be President and Callista could make that happen.

For a woman who rarely speaks, there's a lot of noise around Callista in this campaign. So much so that Gingrich's top advisors departed en masse this spring when she reportedly convinced her ex-paramour/boss/now Presidential candidate husband that he needed a vacation to Greece more than he needed the advice of his top campaign staff.

Surely, Newt was heading for the first spousal implosion in the 2012 election. Amazingly, there wasn't even a sizzle or a pop. Apparently, the Christian right decided Mitt Romney's wealth was a bigger sin than the way Callista had shanghai'd her man.

So, the question now is what does a candidate's spouse have to do to mess things up? Kitty Dukakis took pills for depression, Betty Ford was an alcoholic, and Cindy McCain was once addicted to prescription drugs. Michelle Obama is now being painted as Madea (from Tyler Perry's Diary of a Mad Black Woman) in a new book because she snapped, "Barack, we're talking about YOU," in order to get Barack Obama's attention in a White House meeting. It's beginning to look like being a candidate's spouse is, errr, just a tad bit stressful.

It seems to me the rest of society is probably just grateful that someone else is willing to play that role in the fishbowl of life as a candidate's wife. Maybe now that we know the truth about life behind Camelot, we are more forgiving of a candidate's wife's flaws. Or maybe, when you are the real deal, like "the good wife" in this election year, Anne Romney, a cancer survivor who still struggles with multiple sclerosis, people resent you? Omg. No wonder the country is in a tailspin.

One final thought ... it isn't just wives, is it? Michelle Bachmann's husband, Marcus, made headlines of his own for reportedly counseling homosexuals "to pray the gay away." Luckily, in his case, his wife was creating enough gaffes of her own that no one noticed.


This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: In a Presidential Election, Do Spouses Matter?

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