But can we at least end this barbaric practice of dragging your wife before the cameras while you confess your shameful guilt? If she wasn't there in the hotel room when you did your crime, don't ask her to do your time.
The practice began relatively innocently as something an accused man might do when he denied the allegations . A man's wife at his side showed that she, at least, believed the guy when he said he did not do it.
It was former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, I believe, who began the modern practice (Can we ban it along with waterboarding?) of parading the little wife before the cameras to hold your hand as you confess your guilt. The goal is to get the shell-shocked wife to demonstrate to the public that the offense is forgiveable. If his wife forgives him, how mad can you be?
But the practice requires a man to turn the best instinct of his wife -- to unite behind the family in crisis -- into an instrument of her own public humiliation.
And another thing: Can we end the public practice of trying to shame these wives into divorcing their husbands?
There's a reason we feel impelled to do this these days. Adultery has been redefined as a "private matter," as Spitzer put it in his vain, Clintonian attempt to redirect attention from his crimes to his sin. Because we no longer have any public punishments for adultery, we have turned wives into instruments of the public morality: If she doesn't punish him by divorcing him, he will go unpunished, which is intolerable. (Without some punishment, won't all husbands stray?)
I'm tired of this transference of the sins of the husband onto the wife. Leave the wives alone. Let's forget about standing by the man, but can't we at least agree to stand by the woman?
Look, I'm not a moron. I understand that men will use prostitutes for their own purposes without caring what happens to them, but can't we expect a little higher standard of behavior from an outrageously guilty husband toward the wife he has just embarrassed and betrayed?
Eliot, you are famously one big, tough dude from the Bronx. An "f-ing steamroller." Can't you go out in front of the cameras and face it like a man?
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Maggie Gallagher's column about Elliot Spitzer's exploiting his wife ran in yesterday's New York Post: