Stand By Your Man

It’s hard to watch uber-educated, power holding, game changing women living out a Tammy Wynette song.

But here we are again.

Fact is, Hilary Clinton is NOT a cautionary tale. Clinton stuck by her husband, who has likely been philandering since day one, and spun the political capital into gold – as secretary of state and now as a serious contender for first female president. She is smart, savvy, political, and deserving of the positions she has held – but I would not turn to her for dating advice.

Apparently Huma Abedin did take marriage lessons from her mentor Clinton. One can just imagine then sitting over Cosmos and talking about how “they all cheat” and the last laugh they will get when they demote them to the couch in the Lincoln Bedroom.

What happens in a marriage is private. In my role as a psychologist and researcher I have seen that the glue that binds a marriage is often as mysterious as the origins of the universe. Some marriages fall apart after an errant text message, others endure decades of infidelity. Marriage is not about romance, it is functional – and clearly these two women, and many other political wives, actually embrace a model of marital utility that we typically only observe in the aristocracy or in the third world. In these marriages, the marital bond isn’t about roses and poetry – it’s about economics, continuity, and expediency. It is very likely that Ms. Abedin is wise enough to see Gracie Mansion as a good next step for her – and in that way, Weiner becomes her bitch.

Many women would have shown Mr. Weiner, his virtual weiner and his Twitter account the door. However, perhaps none of us know what we would do in that situation until faced with it.

There is a larger issue though – and that is his behavior. I love the seemingly high minded folks that try to argue “his private life is private” . Nope – sorry, not when you are a public figure and your decision making impacts MY life. You want a private life? Get a private career. Brain science would suggest that a person does not make impeccable decisions in one place and sloppy ones in another. I don’t care if Weiner screws the entire freshman class at Vassar and then videotapes it. However, his poor judgment, his entitlement, his lack of impulse control, his lack of empathy – how could these variables NOT affect critical decision making while running NY – a city struggling with income disparities, a fading middle class, ongoing issues with crime, and the myriad struggles of an enormous city.

Do we all make mistakes? Yes. Have we all made mistakes in our relationships? Yes. Do we all change our behavior? No. Some certainly do – they either clean up their act and learn that Twitter and Facebook aren’t the best place to carry on an affair and go old school with their infidelities in hotel rooms and untraceable phone calls. Or they actually embrace that second chance like water in the desert. But few folks who are sociopathic or narcissistic learn from their mistakes. Those qualities are often why they did this nonsense in the first place, and they are rampant in our politicians today. Fund raising, special interests, and the general sleaziness of the American political process are attracting the smarmiest ones to the well -and their bad behavior with them.

As a feminist I am all about women taking opportunities to get ahead when they can – as a woman, I would have never let a critter like Weiner in the door in the first place. If Abedin can spin this Tammy Wynette Stand By Your Man mess into good for her career – more power to her. However, I hope the voters of NY have enough good sense to know that bad judgment in a personal life provides insight into potentially sloppy decision making in public office. I don’t care if my plumber cheats on his wife on a daily basis – has no bearing on my clogged sink. I do care if my elected officials can’t follow basic ethics. There is a difference.

Life imitates life.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 at 6:55 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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