Standing "By" Your Man

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Joyce Purnick, long-time New York Times political writer, talks about the wife's role in political sex scandal press conferences.


Joyce Purnick

Comments [50]

Jonathan from nyc

How about our LEADERS being leaders for a change?

Mar. 11 2008 01:10 PM
eva from spiritually? Newark

mm (#48) asks:
"What is more important, a six figure income and status or self-respect?"

Isn't the correct answer to that: "I'm thinking, I'm thinking...." I forgot whether that's Jack Benny or Milton Berle. Or neither.

But let's face it, we live in a world of limited good, and more money could buy you the acoutrements of respectability, e.g. a college education, dental care, etc.

Mar. 11 2008 12:39 PM
mm from New York City

His poor wife. She needs help. She should put her daughters first. That is to say she should kick him out of the house and say, "Honey, you're on your own now." She needs to consider the message she is giving her daughters and all young girls. What is more important, a six figure income and status or self-respect?

Mar. 11 2008 11:56 AM
er from NYC

He should resign ASAP.

There are moral Democrats and moral Republicans and immoral Dems and immoral Reps. This isn't about a political party. It's about the law, which politicians of all political stripes, unfortunately, sometimes break.

This is not a personal failing. His choice to transport a woman from one state to another is against laws on the books NOW. So regardless of whether you think it should or should not be a law, PROSTITUTION IS ILLEGAL. Americans, whether president of the U.S. or governor of NY, MUST play by the existing rules. Ignorance of the law -- and opinions of it -- do not excuse criminal activity. The governor paid a woman for sex and trafficked her across state lines; this is not just an affair.

What goes on his family is private. But in bringing out his wife during his brief press conference, and nodding to her and his failings as a family man, he opened up his family to some public scrutiny. Worse, his decision to have her stand with him suggests that the arrogant lawyer, hoping to cling to his high-ranking position, effectively pimped her out. Gross.

His breaking of the law as a lawyer, former attorney general, and the state's top politician is a public matter. He broke the law and with it the public's trust. Wake up, Democrats! He needs to step down.

Mar. 11 2008 11:11 AM
Bruce from Long Island City

I think that prostitution should be legalized and regulated, but at this time, the damage to Spitzer in terms of his credibility is too great to overcome and would prevent him from being the reformist Governor that we all hoped for.
Therefor, I think he should resign, and let David Patterson try to makes the changes in our state government.
I was sure that you would close the segment with the song "Stand By Your Man", maybe The Blues Brothers version. Too obvious?

Mar. 11 2008 11:09 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

This reminds me of a story of my great grandmother. In Brazil, where I come from, men have always been expected to have mistresses. My great grandmother only had the one stipulation that my great grandfather not do it in public. Of course though... he did. And she saw him.

When he came home that night, he walked into the dark house and a load of buckshot went right into the door. She missed and he ran off... he came around after that to see the family, but she never spoke to him again.

Mar. 11 2008 11:07 AM
barry from manhattan

So right hjs.
You do know American History!

We are indeed a nation of crazies.
We toss puppies from bridges.
Drop the biggest bombs.
Kill the most people.
We are Psycho.
Beware the American.

Mar. 11 2008 11:07 AM
Nancy from Brooklyn

Mrs. Spitzer cannot be blamed for her husband's adultery. There are men who ask their wives for kinky sex and others who prefer getting it from the legit whores b/c that's their fantasy/fetish/whatever.

And why should prostitution be a crime while adultery is no longer one? Definitely legalize prostitution.

Mar. 11 2008 11:05 AM
hjs from 11211

it's an american thing when all the crazies who could not get long with other left europe they came here, calvinist bibles in their hands.

Mar. 11 2008 11:03 AM
barry from manhattan

What about Brian's use of the phrase
"Using a Prostitute"
It just sounds odd.
Carl Castle saying "High Priced Prostitute"
I guess i'll hear it all day long

Mar. 11 2008 11:03 AM


he made the point that they are painting her as a victim by saying she was dragged out there against her will

again, it's speculation. We don't know what her thought process was

Mar. 11 2008 11:01 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, if she's a smart lawyer, then she should stand out there looking like a smart lawyer. But she didn't.

Mar. 11 2008 11:01 AM
barry from manhattan

What she said was couples should work this out, not have one spouse looking outside the marriage for satisfaction.
Unless of course that is how they work it out.

Mar. 11 2008 11:01 AM
hjs from 11211

Purnick - another American who knows nothing about the bigger world

Mar. 11 2008 11:01 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, I'm a man... so I can't really say what I'd do as a wife with regards to divorcing him. But I can tell you this... you could not DRAG me out in front of those cameras while he admitted this.

And I agree... these political wives need to stop standing there like scenery while their husbands publicly humiliate the both of them.

Mar. 11 2008 10:59 AM


Of COURSE it's an American thing. During the whole Clinton/Lewinsky debacle Europeans were laughing at us. Puh-leeease!

Mar. 11 2008 10:59 AM
Munira from Manhattan

Brian, it is outrageous to hear what your caller just said about this whole thing being his wife's fault!!! I don't know why you didn't challenge her like you always do.

Mar. 11 2008 10:59 AM
barry from manhattan

Yea! What about the Prostitutes! Protect the Prostitutes!

Mar. 11 2008 10:58 AM
Anita from NYC

I don't know why it's so hard to understand why Mrs. Spitzer is standing by her man. She loves him, they have 21 years and three children together, and even if she knew before that he strayed, she is probably still in shock at the specifics and the magnitude of the public disgrace, let alone the magnitude of what she has invested. It is too easy, and unfair, to judge when you are in the audience and it's not your own husband. She will need time to sort this out with herself and her family. Whatever her decision, she should not be judged by outsiders who don't know what she is dealing with.

On the subject of resignation, no one has raised the issue of whether Spitzer, given all the problems since he took office, now has any credibility or effectiveness left even if he makes a "proper" apology. He would probably be an ineffective and one-term governor, damaging both to the state and to his party.

Mar. 11 2008 10:57 AM
hjs from 11211

how does the loyalty of a wife make HER a victim

Mar. 11 2008 10:57 AM


I totally agree

Mar. 11 2008 10:57 AM
Josie from Manhattan

An extraordinary tragedy? This may be a terrible blow and humiliation for Mrs. Spitzer (if she didn't know about it already--or maybe even be okay with it), but let's reserve wording like "extraordinary tragedy" for starvation and war.

Also, your previous guest hinted at it, but is noone thinking this is political pay-back from some of the governors enemies in Albany? To see Joseph Bruno stand in front of the cameras yesterday speechifying about morality in government was simply hilarious.

Mar. 11 2008 10:56 AM
Gail from NYC

What about the money? If he wasn't rich, this would be a major issue in their marriage. Who else could afford this?

Mar. 11 2008 10:56 AM
barry from manhattan

joyce is correct I think. He cant govern.

Mar. 11 2008 10:55 AM
rick from brooklyn

why did she stand by her man? very disappointing.

Mar. 11 2008 10:55 AM
david from brooklyn

why is this a tragedy? i think you demean mrs. spitzer by assuming that he DRAGGED her out on to the stage. She's obviously a smart lawyer and woman who can make her own decisions about where to go when. YOU victimize her by casting her as someone who is unable to choose herself.

Mar. 11 2008 10:55 AM
Maya from Brooklyn

How many men would stand by their women!? I don't many times have we seen a press conference for a female official being caught in flagrante? Seriously? How many? Anyone?

Mar. 11 2008 10:55 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Talk about old fashioned ideas! Men seek sex outside of marriage for many reasons -- not just "my wife won't do weird things."

Mar. 11 2008 10:55 AM
barry from manhattan

This guy is blaming the republicans for what Spitzers f-up?

Mar. 11 2008 10:54 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

Morbid co-dependency is the only explanation for standing by a slime like Spitzer. Presumably Silda is in shock, just like any other battered wife. Let's hope she gets out of there soon.

Mar. 11 2008 10:53 AM
Maya from Brooklyn

"Don't resign in haste" means "hold onto your salary as long as possible because you'll need it when I take your a-- to the cleaners, Elliot!!"

Mar. 11 2008 10:53 AM


"lowering the country's morality?"
Are you serious?

Yeah...I think killing people in a soverign country that didn't attack us "lowers our morality" far greater than someone having an affair. Good grief!

Mar. 11 2008 10:53 AM
barry from manhattan

Chris Rock said it as well.
Hilary was ignoring Bill and the intern slipped in...
Why is that so shocking.

Mar. 11 2008 10:52 AM

This seems like juvenile speculation to me,Brian.

The majority of people are probably going to say they wouldn't stand by him and would divorce him. But NOONE knows for sure what they would do unless they were in the situation. We don't know the specifics of their relationship.

Isn't this kind of salacious hypothetical speculation the stuff of the mainstream corporate media? Aren't we always told during pledge time that NPR is different than that? Why are we engaging in this juvenile speculation?

Very very easy to say you would leave him immediately if you were the wife....but in reality you don't know for sure what you would do and if you would immediately throw away the life you built and several years of marriage.

This is a dumb segment.

Mar. 11 2008 10:52 AM
Sue from North Salem, NY

The Cringe Factor was off the chart yesterday. Like I posted in another BL segment, I wish he would have LOOKED at her, addressed her directly in a genuine, humble manner and said simply "I let you down, I do not deserve to have you here right now".

Mar. 11 2008 10:52 AM
a woman from New Jersey

just wanted to throw this out - Jackie Kennedy - why do Americans idealize JFK even though he cheated on Jackie regularly and get down on people like Bill clinton & Spitzer? Is it because this type of behavior used to be more acceptable?

Mar. 11 2008 10:51 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Look at the time wasted on all this speculating and scenario creating. There are so many other issues that need to be addressed. But how dull they are compared with this! Catnip all the time!

Mar. 11 2008 10:50 AM
Yiorgos from Astoria

The countries morality is lowered by corrupt wealthy greedy vengeful Republicans like Bruno!

Bruno did this to Spitzer.

Banks aren't usually curious about people's money issues unless asked to be.

Mar. 11 2008 10:50 AM
LM from Yonkers

I think the only way he can politically weather this is if he becomes completely humble, tail between legs, and goes back to his political allies and opponents as a sinner, as one of them, and agrees to work with them, instead of against them.

Mar. 11 2008 10:48 AM
Jess from N Y

If you are going to be a public elected official you must realize you are going to be held to a higher standard of behavior and people are going to expect you to hold to a certain standard of decent behavior...

And if you are going to be the spouse of an elected official you must realize that your life and your actions and your comments, as well as those of your elected spouse, are going to be under scrutiny.

For these reasons, I have no desire to run for office or be the spouse of someone running for office. It's hard enough to stand by and support each other through whatever troubles you have in the private sector. I couldn't do it in a hail of flashbulbs....

Mar. 11 2008 10:48 AM
chestine from nyc

This is silly.

Mar. 11 2008 10:48 AM
barry from manhattan

I think he is gone, hope no one commits suicide.

Mar. 11 2008 10:48 AM
hjs from 11211

stand by your man!

political marriages are always fake to some degree.

Mar. 11 2008 10:48 AM
Chris from manhattan

The reason these women 'stand by their (corrupt) men' is simple: These women are as power-hungry and arrogant as the men they're attracted to and ultimately have to defend them in order to maintain the position they cherish -beyond all else, including the innocent children.

Mar. 11 2008 10:47 AM
Candice from nyc

Yes let's get Bill and Hillary back in teh white house they deserve another round at lowering the country's morality.

Mar. 11 2008 10:45 AM
Susan from ny

So far your guest has said, "I don't know her" and "I don't know anything about it" but I could only imagine....... This is an expert guest?

Mar. 11 2008 10:44 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

Nothing demonstrates Spitzer’s moral depravity more clearly than dragging his wife to appear at his side before the media, using his wounded victim as a living shield. And for no purpose, since nothing can save his political career.

But what can you expect from a man who apparently insisted on having unprotected sex with prostitutes? Shame may be the least of the horrors that Spitzer has brought home to Silda.

Mar. 11 2008 10:44 AM
Allison from UWS Manhattan

The moment when Clinton (Bill and Hillary) lost their credibility was during the Lewisnky sex scandal when they did not just tell the truth and move on. With Monica, it wasn't even a crime. That lie and cover up is at the root of why many people do not trust Hillary today.

If there is one thing some Republicans learned do right it is this: if you've made an irrefutable mistake, admit it, apologize and move on. Spitzer needs to tell the truth and resign.

Mar. 11 2008 10:43 AM
Jonathan from NYC

When listening to Dershowitz's specious arguments one cannot help but approach wonderment at his ignoring the big white elephant sitting in the middle of the room: Eliot Spitzer is a man who made his career out of prosecuting individuals on ethics issues and did so by employing the force of intimidation and government clout. All arguments about the crime are irrelevant faced with the enormous dereliction of public duty as a governor of a major state, who moved money around allegedly, in order to cover up what the majority of people think is a meaningless act. It is not a meaningless act to lose the public trust. If you want to end today's show with a de-moralization of the issue of prostitution, then all I can say is good luck as you head into the last days of Rome.

Mar. 11 2008 10:42 AM
sara from Manhattan

He should NOT resign. He has the opportunity to publically take full responsibility, genuinely make amends and demonstrate to the whole country that a real man who is truely regretful of his actions can be a humbled human being AND still be a strong leader.


Mar. 11 2008 10:39 AM

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