Feature

How Jenny Sanford handled Mark Sanford's cheating

Do wronged political wives have a new role model?

"Finally, a new model for the wronged political spouse," said Ruth Marcus in The Washington Post. Jenny Sanford—wife of confessed cheater Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina—is "neither enabler nor victim." The wives of Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, and others have stood by their men—"looking stricken"—as the cameras whirred. But Mrs. Sanford let him face the cameras as he deserved to—alone. 

Skipping the press conference is just the first step, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. But Jenny Sanford—any political wife, really—must follow several pieces of simple advice to survive her husband's sex scandal. When the cad says, as Mark Sanford has, "that he has found his soul mate" after straying many times, "but he’s going to try to fall back in love with you, change the locks. (At your second home, too.)" And don't get "dragged into his drama"—Hillary Clinton "refused to let that happen," and she bounced back rather nicely from Bill Clinton's cheating.

Jenny Sanford doesn't need advice from a "Clinton enabler" like Maureen Dowd, said Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. Mrs. Sanford "already wrote the guide" on how to preserve your dignity despite a wandering spouse. "Hillary Clinton could have used the advice, which boils down to don’t be a doormat." Elizabeth Edwards could have, too. But Jenny Sanford demonstrated her enduring self-respect by tossing Mark Sanford out.

And Jenny Sanford will be holding some pretty powerful cards if she takes the next step and files for divorce, said Meredith Simons in Slate. Mark Sanford's admitted infidelity is, technically, illegal in South Carolina, and it's grounds for a fast-tracked "fault" divorce. It could also help Mrs. Sanford get a larger-than-normal share of the couple's assets.

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