Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hollywood values and the shadowy trophy wife

By Libby

Regular readers will remember the brouhaha this throwaway post caused around here a few weeks ago. I was roundly mocked and vilified by the wingers for even asking the question. However, it seems I was simply ahead of the curve. I'm not the only one who is wondering "[i]s America ready for a president with a trophy wife?

The NYT asks it today and also validates my definition of the term.
THE term “trophy wife” was coined by Fortune magazine in 1989 and immediately entered the language. Although it often has a pejorative spin, the term originally meant the second (or third) wife of a corporate titan, who was younger, beautiful and — equally important — accomplished in her own right, which describes Mrs. Thompson.

Capt Ed scoffs, saying the meaning morphed immediately and the question is crass, sexist and ridiculous. I'll spare you the laundry list of ridiculous, crass, sexist and racist commentary that arises regularly from his side of the fence. I'm sure our readers don't need help remembering.

Meanwhile Hugh Hewitt claims nobody is talking about it and nobody cares. All I can say to that is my original posts, both here and at my own blog, have been generating significiant and ongoing google traffic since the day they went up. In fact I see, in retreiving the links, they were still generating comments and snide posts in reply, long after I moved on to other concerns. There's no denying however appropriate or inappropriate one finds the question, people are interested in the answer.

I continue to maintain it's a legitimate question and remains a potential factor in the race. The NYT would bolster that argument as well.
Political analysts said there is very little evidence to suggest that candidates’ spouses affect their electoral outcomes. But one political scientist, Karen O’Connor, the director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, said Mr. Thompson may lose with one key group whose support he needs: Republican women.

“I think women have an innate ‘ick’ reaction when they see a wife so much younger and vital than her husband,” Professor O’Connor said.

I don't know about the vital part. Rumor has it Fred has plenty of vitality left in the old bones, and therein lies the potential problem. I've done some thinking on the subject since the original post and it's not just the age difference. The Thompsons are not just a May-December couple, they're a Hollywood couple, whom rumor has it were both legendarily promiscious prior to the marriage.

For myself, I don't judge their lifestyle. I'm a live and let live kind of person, but then again, I'm not a potential Thompson voter and that's based solely on his politics by the way. However, as I said before, our campaigns don't rise and fall on facts. Elections are won and lost on just such ridiculous and trivial issues as haircuts and trophy wives. And I have to wonder how the wingers are going to sell Thompson's "Hollywood values" when they've been regularly using the concept as a weapon to use against the Democrats. They may well find that two can play that game.

Further, one has to think that Thompson at least is worried about how this will play in Peoria since he's consigned his lovely and accomplished wife to the shadows; which seems to me to be the political equivalent of "keeping 'em at home, barefoot and pregnant."

Jeri is a lawyer and an accomplished GOP operative who played a major role in the backstabbing of the 04 election. You would think the red meat crowd would love that sort of thing but the campaign won't even release her CV much less allow her to appear on Fred's behalf in public. So you have to ask, if the Thompsons have nothing to be ashamed of, why is Jeri hiding?

No comments: