Rules of the Wronged
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: June 30, 2009
With Mark Sanford's serial weepy confession still playing out, Maureen Dowd is offering up advice to the overlooked victim in these scandals, the political wife. Here is an illustrated guide to some of the more salient points.
Stay away from the press conference.
Stoicism at the skunk’s side is overrated and, as Larry Craig’s wife learned, sunglasses don’t help.
The press is not your friend.
If you can’t maintain a dignified Silda Spitzer silence; ... go to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or even Deepak Chopra before crying to The A.P. A news wire is not a spiritual adviser.
Keep the kids at home.
Don’t bring the children into it. They suffer enough being the kids of politicians. Don’t trot out the family on “Oprah,” as Elizabeth Edwards did.
Really, keep the kids out of it.
Even if you’re a clever, competent woman, you risk sounding like a stereotypical harridan if you use the kids as a bludgeon and tell the press, as Jenny did: “You would think that a father who didn’t have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit.”
Stay above the fray.
Don’t trash a mistress, as Hillary and Elizabeth did, as a wacky stalker. No one — except the wife — blames the girlfriend as much as they blame the husband.
Bonus advice to the Other Woman: Keep the cameras in the drawer.
And just when you thought John Edwards could not sink any lower, there is news of a sex tape, in which Rielle Hunter shows off her skills not only in videography but pornography.(See this post for some of her more tasteful filmic efforts.)
Make lemonade out of lemons.
Cut your losses and keep going. Don’t let yourself get dragged into his drama or your reputation may follow his down the well. Hillary refused to let that happen. She salvaged her long investment in Bill Clinton and turned a profit when she became a senator.
There you have them, Maureen Dowd's advice to the wronged. Because two wrongs don't make a right, but do make a delightfully catty op-ed column.