Fighting Like a Lady?

BlogHer Original Post

Being a political wife has to suck. I don't just say that because I know politicians and I can't imagine being married to one and not ending up closer to the nuthouse than I already am, but because on top of having to be involved in the political process as a co-candidate, living off diet Coke and Cheet-os and sleeping every night in the back bunk of a campaign bus, you get the honor and privilege of being exposed to the kind of scrutiny normally reserved for livestock at a State Fair.

We've heard plenty about how Michelle Obama is now off limits according to her husband's campaign -- a good move on the campaign's part as Michelle has the potential to be a polarizing figure not quite of Theresa Heinz Kerry caliber but close -- but there's another woman in this race who isn't getting the same hands-off treatment, even after the Obama edict, even though she agrees with the sentiment.

Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, said Thursday that the spouses of the presidential candidates should be allowed to have some privacy.

Cindy McCain was in Hanoi, Vietnam, for a humanitarian mission on Thursday.

"I do not think that spouses and family members ... are fair game," she told CNN's John King.

"There has to be some decorum left in politics and in American journalism as well. Our husbands are the candidates," she said.

Just a day after Michelle Obama went off the market as a target, the DNC released a statement attacking John McCain for his and his wife's personal use of his wife's plane, and just days before, while the Obama statement was still likely in the draft phase, liberal blogs were circling around the rotting corpse of a story on Cindy's spending habits. Although the McCain's may have had good reason for not paying off the $250,000 on Cindy's AmEx black -- namely that money that could be used to pay off the no-interst credit card was doing better in investment accounts until it became absolutely necessary to withdraw the money and pay off the cards -- sweeping metaphors were drawn about McCain's fiscal policies from his wife's jet fuel purchases. Just yesterday, Cindy was waking up to headlines ravaging her for "cookie plagarism", when guilty of the same crime was none other than wannabe First Husband himself, Bill Clinton. And while no one seems to care that Michelle's thesis remains under lock and key, they're all concerned about Cindy's substance abuse -- though both women have made it clear that they've grown up substantially since these events.

Candidates wives are never going to be "off the table" so to speak, unless they manage to become summarily unintersting (and there's no way that either Michelle or Cindy could ever become uninteresting based on attention paid to their fashions alone), or refrain from periodic guest hosting gigs on The View, but they do deserve some equal respect. After all, if and when they win, they're going to have to devote their lives to planning gourmet meals, picking out corresponding china and picking out Christmas decorations when everyone else is cleaning up their July 4th barbecues. Its not going to be pretty.

Also on the subject of the role of political wives:

Fellow BlogHer editor Erin Koteki Vest takes on the juvenile treatment of Michelle Obama in the media, Brilliant At Breakfast hopes that the newly branded (and newly untouchable) Michelle doesn't take her role as a political wife too much to heart, and Anne at Backyard Conservative explains why the off-limits edict might not work as well as the Obama campaign hopes.


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