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Archive for March, 2009

antonia-and-wife1When the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair broke out, I remember being quite surprised at the lurid interest the Western media showed. The Indian media for the most part never concerns itself with the private lives of politicians. Other than for politician Amarmani Tripathi- suicide/murder-poet Madhumita Shukla, the Indian media really hasn’t hounded anyone for their sexual peccadilloes. In fact, there are many politicians here, who have flaunted their wives/mistresses on stage along with them and the media hasn’t batted an eye.

But in the West, apparently it’s a big deal for the media. Politicians can be let off bringing the country to an economic crisis, corruption or even war mongering (Iraq, Afghanistan) but never for flings. Seeing the recent controversy with Eliot Spitzer and Silda’s coming out in support of her husband, I couldn’t but remember Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s affairs with many women like Gennifer Flowers, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue and Dolly Kyle and sexual misconduct with Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky and Juanita Broaddrick had due “exposure” or should we say “coverage” from the media?

But when he was caught! Whom did he turn to for support? His wife – Hillary Clinton! Of course one can cynically say that she had her own political agenda, but no one can deny that she must have suffered deep humiliation, embarrassment and anger. Why do politicians, who have been caught in sexual scandals, feel it is necessary for them to parade them wives as a standing testimony of support at press conferences?

Hillary’s disappointment and humiliation could be seen in her eyes and her stiff carriage as she stood by her husband. And since it is not the first time Clinton was pulled up….with memories of the Paula Jones case hardly behind her…… She knew perfectly well that Clinton was not in the least bit sorry. If  he had really valued his family or had integrity, he wouldn’t have pursued/harassed or sexually assaulted women for two decades.

It seemed so fake those pictures of family unity – with poor Chelsea also been dragged in to show her support for dad. Hillary’s well-tailored, candy-for-the-masses book also totally ignored his sexual misconduct. She tries to pass it off as Gay Governor Divorceif it is the Monica Lewinsky thing had come as a shock to her and she had never known of his behaviour before the media’s expose.

About the Clintons, Craigs and Spitzers of this world, I am stunned at the arrogance and the assurance with which they tell their tales of remorse and “disappointment.” How do they expect people to believe their feigned “sorrow”?

Its bad enough that they have betrayed their wives. But to drag their wives to stand by them is sheer cruelty on their part. It is cruel and just not on board. Every one of these “caught-red-handed politicians” conduct confessional press conferences in which the poor wife has to tag along and give her silent support as cameras photograph for posterity her humiliation.

Why should the wife have to support her man, when he deserted her for more than 10 years as he went philandering? Both Clinton and Spitzer share many commonalities in this regard!

When Spitzer spent 10 years away from Silda, why should he drag her in suddenly because he wants an umbrella of support and protection? But these political wives lack guts or seem to be on the lookout for their own careers – because all of them as a rule, including Larry Craig’s wife chelsea2Suzanne -have shared in their husband’s well deserved public-hour-of-reckoning when they could have left him high and dry.

And even worse some politicians use their children as props and make them share their humiliation. At least the wives are adults and have made a choice, what have the poor kids done? Imagine being a teenager and having to face school/ college after reading about your father’s antics in the papers. Chelsea Clinton when campaigning for her mother Hillary at universities across the United States, was forced many a time to respond publicly to a question about her father Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

I used to feel so sorry for Price Harry and William when accounts of their parents’ love affairs always made it to the front page of every tabloid. It must have been hell and torture – their royalty I am sure did not protect them from taunts from their peers.

In office for only two years, NJ Governor Jim McGreevey would resign his post in 2004 due to an extramarital affair – an affair with one of his male aides, making McGreevey the first (openly-professed) gay governor in American history. The headlines for the say was his proclamation, “I am a gay American.” But his first confessi0nal press conference, of course had him towing his wife Dina Matos along.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, elected in 2005,  term in office has been marred by rumors of extramarital affairs, in particular with local television news anchor Mirthala Salinas. The scandal cost her, her TV job but Villaragosa is still in office with his faithful wife Corina in attendance. Corina might now be filing for divorce, reports say.

spitzer-and-wifeThere are so many who enlist the support of their wives to share their humiliation…the list includes, Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, who had a  sexual affair with his campaign manager’s wife.

When a person enters the public sphere as a politician, shouldn’t they realise the consequences of their actions? Every time they get caught in  compromising situations, its the family which has to come to their rescue.

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