Opinion: Carrie Underwood Time

By Ed O'Keefe

Mar 17, 2008 9:33am

Opinion by Matthew Dowd, ABC News Political Contributor

Ok, so there has been a ton of discussion on delegates and race and surrogates in the Democratic race, I want to move on to a different topic though it is political since it concerns the now former governor of New York caught in a sex scandal.

When is one of these wives of a high profile politician going to finally no longer be Tammy Wynette and start being Carrie Underwood?

Meaning when are we going to see a political wife take "a Louisville slugger to both headlights" (for those who are unaware of Underwood’s "Before He Cheats" song) instead of doing the "Stand By Your Man" routine.

I am speaking only slightly as a metaphor. 

I have an unbelievable amount of compassion for Silda Wall Spitzer. I can only imagine what she is going through and how this has devastated her life and her sense of self. It’s absolutely awful what these celebrity or political men (and it is by large men doing this) do to their wives. I don’t know the dynamics of her or others relationships, but I do know the kind of hurt this causes, and the profound heart and soul affects this must have. 

And if you look back over the last 25 years, nearly every political wife has done the Tammy Wynette routine. From a President in the 1990s, to governors on both coasts, to U.S. senators; highly successful, beautiful, caring, seemingly independent professional women who have dedicated their lives to their husbands careers, have taken this abuse and then stood by their side in a public setting or press conference. 

And many of these women publicly subscribe to the mantra that "well behaved women rarely make history", but can’t seem to give up the society role they somehow have bought into. 

Just one time, I would like one of these or future political wives, to gather their spouse’s crap up, throw it on the front lawn, change the locks on the doors as well as their last name, and then hold a press conference of their own and tell the spouse to ‘Go **** themselves’. 

Not knowing the dynamics of her family life and being accepting of decisions people make, I would think we would want our daughters to grow up with knowing if someone abuses them (and don’t doubt it for a minute this kind of behavior by husbands is a form of abuse), they have the right to not stand by but to stand up. 

A psychologist could probably answer why these political women seem to consistently do the "Stand By Your Man" schtick, but my guess it has a lot to do with marriages to egomaniacs whose view of life is that all others exist to serve their needs and dreams, and in the process the wife vests her own sense of self in their husband.  And when the scandal hits, the wife doesn’t have a repository of her own self esteem to tap into. My own lay analysis as I watch this unfold yet tragically time after time.

I don’t judge these women at all and I send all my love and prayers to Silda Wall Spitzer. We should give these women and all other women facing this kind of thing our support and encouragement.

And let them know we have reached a point in society that its time for more Carries and less Tammys. 

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