As a general rule, I would say that candidates wives are largely off limits, but once a candidate tries to claim a superiority of character and morality by invoking the "family values" mantle, their personal morals and conduct become campaign issues. (As they always say on the legal procedurals on TV, by his own statements, the defendant opened the door to this line of questioning.)
So, over the last two days, we have two spouse articles.First
, and more simply, the WaPo looks at Jeri Thompson
. Her years before her marriage to Thompson (described vaguely on page 2
) sound pretty wild, and her mother describes the marriage, hoping the 59 year old Thompson will be a "calming influence" on her 35 year old daughter.
It sounds like there's alot more story here, and if Thompson does become competitive as the "family values candidate," we may hear alot more lurid details (especially as she seems to be rubbing people the wrong way, inserting herself so deeply into the campaign.)Second
, we have yesterday's NYTimes story on Judith Giuliani
. This is the first time that either of the Giuliani's have tried to describe their meeting and early relationship.
I'm sorry, but they're going to have to spin much harder than this to convince me that Giuliani cheating on his wife in the Mayor's mansion is a storybook love affair. This is going to come back again and again if candidate Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee.
(And, let me say that I'm far more troubled by Giuliani's estrangement with his kids than the relationship with Judith Giuliani.)Last
, of course we have to mention Hillary Clinton's extremely well explored exposure in this area. I'm sure it will be played up in whispers and allegations, and we'll have to go through all that again. Of course, at this point, how many new revelations are left unknown?
All of this is not a huge issue to me, but it does contain a certain"ick factor," and I'm certain that will play a role in defining any of these candidates if they do win their primaries. These will be stories that help shape perceptions of these candidates, and that will affect the election.
For instance, Republicans might be want to look past Giuliani's pro-life stance for his "leadership," but I would think that something like the Judith Nathan affair would be another brick in the wall making that harder.