Dina McGreevey on Eliot Spitzer's Fall

My heart aches for Silda Wall Spitzer. Not only do she and her children have to weather the storm brought on by her misguided husband, she also has to endure the judgments of the commentariat, many of whom have asked, with some frequency, why on earth she would stand by her man during his public ”” and anemic ”” mea culpa.

As someone who has stood by her politician husband during his public ”” and anemic ”” mea culpa, all I can say is: It’s a personal decision. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Who knows why powerful men conduct themselves this way? Maybe it’s the thrill, the rush of trying to get away with something. Maybe it’s just arrogance. The only thing that’s clear is that they’re blithely unaware of the lives their actions will destroy.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Theology

21 comments on “Dina McGreevey on Eliot Spitzer's Fall

  1. Timothy Fountain says:

    I respect the fact that the writer speaks from experience and seeks to comfort a woman suffering the same indignities.
    But I would note that deficiencies of love are not confined to “powerful men.” The sentence that Kendall highlighted could be applied to the present Presiding Bishop, bureaucrats of almost any sort in any place, unjust or incompetent judges at all levels, pornographers – basically, anybody with any influence who uses it for selfish or factional interest without regard to the destructive impact on others.
    This is the problem Paul is addressing in I Corinthians 13 – he writes of love as the antidote to the selfish and factional escapades of the Corinthians. They extolled their perceived spiritual superiority to the humiliation and fragmentation of the body of Christ.

  2. robroy says:

    As a physician, I see this behavior much to commonly. Men can be total bone heads and can’t see the good that is right beside them. Here is a little Wikipedia about Mrs. Spitzer;
    [blockquote] Silda Wall Spitzer grew up in Concord, North Carolina.[2] Her father, Bob, was a hospital administrator and her mother, Trilby, was a homemaker. She was raised as a Methodist/Southern Baptist. Wall graduated in 1980 with a B.A., summa cum laude, from Meredith College. She received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1984. She is the founder and chair of the board of Children for Children, a not-for-profit organization that fosters community involvement and social responsibility in young people. They have three daughters, ages 13 to 18. [/blockquote]
    What an idiot to throw that away, to harm his family irreparably, to endanger his wife with AIDS or hepatitis.

  3. Katherine says:

    I have been amazed to see these women literally stand by their men on these very public occasions. I have no problem if Mrs. Spitzer is choosing to try to work towards saving her marriage, but I can’t understand why she needed to be up there in public next to him when he confessed to his transgressions. SHE didn’t do it, HE did. The public humiliation should have been his, not hers as well.
    It seems to me that if the husband is truly repentant he would try to shield his wife from public view at this time, rather than hauling her out there for the cameras.

  4. Larry Morse says:

    To your last paragraph, Amen. T hat he did have her there tells us more than we want to know about him. He was offering her to the public as a shock-absorbing buffer between himself and reality. Nice guy. But we knew that. LM

  5. Albany* says:

    Yes, yes, yes, of course. But the deeper question is why there is an endless parade of women who seek out these power men as their first and sometimes only desired choice. Read the personals in New York magazine. It says it all.

  6. phil swain says:

    Of course, I know little about the individuals in this story and, so, don’t impute any motives, but don’t you think the wives attached to these powerful men sometimes enjoy the thrill of the ride to such a degree that they are in denial about some of the more unseemly character traits of their spouses? Could it be as a helpmate that they were more interested in his career success then in helping him stay grounded?

  7. Dan Crawford says:

    I’m not sure the personals in New York magazine say anything insightful about this tragedy. People fall in love for many reasons, and people love for many reasons, and I am not convinced that Mrs. Spitzer or the former wife of an Episcopal gay-priest wannabe sought these men out because they were overwhelmed by the perfume of power. They might actually have loved them for aspects of their personality which appeared lovable. And it is quite possible that the men sought them out because they may have recognized something in the integrity and virtue of their wives that they found useful to them.

    I continue to be amazed by those who dump on the wives, and treat the politicians as something more than the functional sociopaths they are.

  8. phil swain says:

    Dan, your comment about falling in love with “some aspects of their personality” reminded me of the Peter DeVries line, ” spouses marry one another for their personality, but have to live with one another’s character.”

  9. Eutychus says:

    It’s a good thing for Silda to stand by her man, to be faithful to him even when he was not.

    But what we really need is a all woman to stand up for the husbands and their sons and speak out against the raunch culture that is gripping our nation.

    Right now the prostitute is being paraded around like a celebrity. What kind of message is that sending.

    Every were and in every way males are bombarded with messages that shows woman as mere sex objects. Even if you are watching a decent show on TV you have do deal the inappropriate commercials. Radio, highway billboards, unsolicited emails, computer billboards/advertisements, half-time shows, magazine check-outs at any store, larger than life posters in the mall, etc. There is absolutely no place for guy to hid from negative images/references to woman.

    I can’t even find decent (modest/wholesome) clothes at the store for my tween ager daughter.

    Woman, your faithful husbands need you to stand for them. Your good sons need you to stand for them. For we are all influenced by this constant diet of smut we are all subjected to.

  10. Irenaeus says:

    A fine and timely statement by Mrs. Spitzer.

  11. Marty the Baptist says:

    Maggie Gallagher has some great comments:

    [blockquote]…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…[/blockquote]

  12. azusa says:

    Remember when Hillary Clinton told CBS she “wasn’t some little woman ‘standing by my man’ like Tammy Wynette”? But she did, when she had it in her power to end his presidency. Now she is being rewarded (sort of).

  13. Chris says:

    I’m afraid this sort of thing is far more common than I’d like to think it is. While this article by a former call girl booking agent:
    might be an exaggeration, I think it’s unlikely she’s making it all up either. And what does that say about our culture? I shudder….

  14. Albany* says:

    #7 Dan, I’m afraid it does say something insightful about this situation. There is a culture around these events. There are values that significantly up risks to spouses.

    It does not help to allow women of these men an easy pass for their attractions. Aristotle said it well, “Aristocrats are always men of the appetites.” In my experience, so are their wives. This is not about “blaming the victim.” It is about accepting the consequences of playing with matches for the thrill of the good life.

  15. Hope says:

    “I continue to be amazed by those who dump on the wives, and treat the politicians as something more than the functional sociopaths they are.”
    It fascinates me how often, whatever the context, it just seems to automatically slide back to “The woman made me do it.” Not even a very original sin any more!

  16. Albany* says:

    #15 Hope, no, it’s about how values in both parties converge to make a problem.

    “The woman made me do it” is, of course, no excuse. But the woman herself did do it. Like the Fall, both of them had some reflecting to do.

  17. Sidney says:

    Albany*, thanks for your insights.

  18. Larry Morse says:

    The good thing is this: That we have called this man to account and he will be severely punished. In another country – France, one thinks of – Spitzer would have his picture taken with both this tart and his wife together. Other cultures might be annoyed but shrug their shoulders because men’s and prostitutes are inevitable roommates. His abuse of state money is more venal than resorting to prostitutes. But, say what you will about America’s decadence, we find the Spitzers of the world intolerable and worthy of condemnation, and I’m not sure how many other countries would be so forthright. LM

  19. TACit says:

    You’re right about that, #18. America is special in that regard, attempting to make men accountable in this way.
    As no one else has pointed out yet, Silda Wall was married previously, for about one month – see Wikipedia. Perhaps that experience somehow shaped her subsequent choice of marriage partner too. Also, I think it could be argued that she and Eliot come from different cultures, and that in itself could have prevented the deeper mutual understanding they appear to lack. It would of course also make the situation even more painful for her.

  20. John Wilkins says:

    “He will be severely punished”

    Larry, Spitzer is probably being taken to task more because he has no friends who are willing to defend him. He was the one busy sending prostitution rings to jail and forcing banks to check up on people. Ironically, he got caught.

    Well, for what? We have our scapegoat, and business goes on as usual.

    Lots of people in Wall Street are happy.

    Our piety merely masks our hypocrisy. Romans 2:1.

  21. Larry Morse says:

    The hypocrisy is present. We all know that. And yet, for all that, Spitzer has been nailed and he will not walk. We should fear our decadence -not our hypocrisy, for hypocrisy is Mankind’s middle name – if we learned of his deceit and treachery and merely yawned him into court, saying in a sophisticated voice, “What is one to do after all? He merely got caught, that’s all. Men will be men.”

    Incidentally, speaking of getting caught and vice, see the letter in the most recent New Yorker, from the brother and sister of that dreadful woman who tattled on her father, ++Moore. Interesting letter. What do you make of it? Kendall, do you think this is worth publishing? They SAY they had known of their father’s double life for a long time and were bothered only because he would not speak up and admit it. Well. Larry