Political Wives with Stupid Husbands: What Huma Abedin Could Do for All of Us

7 years ago
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I live in California, where in the month or so since Arnold Schwarzenegger perp-walked out of office, we've been inundated with photos of an entirely too-thin and haggard looking Maria Shriver, suffering the humiliation as she hikes with her kids or picks at her lunch. But I cry foul on that, always have: she's always chosen to defend him against the (constant and many) accusations of his horn-dog behavior. She knew. She always knew. Staying in a marriage, with or without kids to consider, is always a private decision. Giving speech after speech, including many to audiences of women, to help him gain and hold onto the power that he has soundly abused? Is an entirely different game. 

Then here comes Anthony Weiner, grabbing himself in the House gym, and the announcement that his wife is pregnant. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Whatever Huma Abedin chooses to do here -- she's notably not said or done anything yet -- will make A Statement. Now, if anyone deserves a bit of privacy, it's Ms. Abedin. Selfishness at the moment is completely understandable, preferable even. But eventually she will have to Do Something, and because of the nature of her own job and her husband's, it will Be Public. 

She has two choices. If she leaves him, we'll acknowledge the difficulty of that and wish her well. But.

If she stays with him, then I have a real opinion here: I care and I want her to push him to resign. I want her to tweet, text, shout it from the rooftops: Mr. Weiner is retiring to the country. We've decided he'll stay home with the kids. My husband is having a wonderful time writing a book/working on his watercolors/grooming cats.

Because, see, she's part of a team, and what she says and does communicates a message about the performance of that team. That's a choice anyone who chooses to marry a public person makes, especially a political one. Every political spouse gets it: you're cleaved, you're public, you wave and smile and stump: it matters. Maria Shriver gets it. Hillary Clinton gets it (finally). Paul Pelosi gets it. Kate Middleton's only been married a month and she gets it.  

It's one thing to forgive within the entirely private  boundaries of a marriage. It's entirely another to publicly support a man's right to abuse the power of his publicly elected position and effectively say, yes, I agree, this is how power should be used. No worries here.

Of all the unknowns Ms. Abedin is facing right now one thing she can be sure of is this: two weeks in a treatment center ain't gonna cure this guy of his essential problem, that he's got sex and power all mixed up. And if she decides to stay on Team Weiner, personally and politically?  

Then she's saying the exact same thing.