New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is resigning, according to a report Wednesday in the New York Post, over the revelation that he had been a client of a prostitution ring. (New York Post, free registration). Aides said Spitzer’s wife, Silda, urged him to stay on. (The New York Times, free registration)
What the commentators said
Why “in God’s name” is Silda Spitzer still “standing next to her disgraced husband”? said Kelly McPartland in Canada’s National Post. This man “mindlessly” gambled with their family, “humiliating her and their children before the entire universe.” The role of the political spouse is to smile and “at least fake a happy marriage,” if only to fool family-values voters. Hillary Clinton played along through Bill’s “bimbo eruptions,” but she had her own political career to protect.
That’s precisely why it’s so hard to understand why Silda Spitzer is still around, said Amy Ephron in The Huffington Post. It’s not like she “is going to run for office.” So why did she show up at all to stand by, dutifully, to be humiliated? “I just want one of them, Hillary, Silda, to stand on the steps of the house, the White House, the Governor's Mansion and stamp their foot and say, 'And another thing, I'm keeping the house.'"
There’s “one clear advantage” for “political wives who go to the press conference, smile forced smiles, and say nothing,” said Anne Applebaum in Slate. “It's all over quickly. And no one asks you for a follow-up interview. You appear once—and then you vanish forever, along with your husband's career. If you've been clever about it, you've kept your maiden name and can thus return to your own career.”
It’s probably tempting to “skip the news conference” and go straight to divorce court, said David Knowles in AOL News. But the cold truth is that men (and women) cheat all the time, and people who live under “the spotlight of public life” have as much reason as anyone to try to work things out. And when you look at “The Craigs, The Vitters, The Haggards” out there, “it's fascinating to see just how many sullied unions live to see another day.”
And how many would survive, do you suppose, if the wife were the one who paid “some young stud to scratch her itch”? said Michelle Cottle in The New Republic Online. “Consider it: You wake up one morning to discover that the papers are awash in juicy details (and even juicier innuendo)” about your wife’s infidelity. Then, instead of phoning “the meanest divorce lawyer” you can find, “you get to shower, shave, put on your special-occasion tie, and try your best to look aggreived yet supportive while standing two-steps behind your lying, cheating tramp of a wife--possibly even holding her hand--in front of God and 10,000 drooling reporters all thinking that you must be the most pitiful creature on the planet. Riiiight. That's gonna happen a lot.”
Silda Spitzer is "the latest in a line of political women," said John Kass in the Chicago Tribune, who have been "humiliated by cowardly political men who don't have the guts to stand alone when it's time."