Nov 142011
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

Growin’ up as a southern belle in a house beside the mighty Mississippi, Granmamma always told me, “Sugah, if there’s one thing I can tell you about men, it’s, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater.’”

And I’d say, “Oh, Granmamma, well I reckon’! How in heavens do you know so much about the fellas?”

She would laugh, lean back in her old, wooden rocking chair, wavin’ herself with her lacy fan and say, “Well, sugah, it’s cause I’ve been around the track a few times. And, I once dated a politician.”

Then we’d sip our lemonade and watch the rich, pink sunset from our porch, all the while chatting about boys and the perfect biscuit recipe.

Alright, okay, so absolutely none of that is true.

I really just wanted to show how much I secretly wish I’d grown in the South with a “granmamma” who gave me tough love, one-liner advice about men.

And I think, amid the recent sexual-harrassment allegations against Herman Cain and the public support his wife is showing for him, one thing is clear: Most famous politicians’ wives didn’t grow up with my fake Granmamma’s advice either.

Of course, not every man who enters the political arena is a depraved cheater, but ever since President Clinton “did not have, sexual relations, with that woman,” he’s been the poster boy for what seems to be the monthly recurrence of male-politician sex scandals.

When Bill Clinton did finally admit to his numerous trysts with the beret-wearing, 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky, Hillary was the first of many politician’s wives to not only stay with her husband, but to also show public defense of him.

It’s obvious Hillary is an intelligent, competent woman, so you can’t help but wonder: What was she thinking?

In an interview following the Clinton/Lewinsky shimmy-sham scandal, Hillary was quoted as saying, “I say you have to be true to yourself. No one story is the same as any other story. I don’t know your reality. I can’t possibly substitute my judgment for yours. You have to do what is right for you, and that may not be what anybody else believes.”

While it’s true no political sex scandal is exactly like the other (because some of the guys preferred to “get down” in the Oval Office, and some preferred a bathroom stall), the image of the demure, powerless wife standing beside her apologetic husband is uncannily the same every time.

No matter what the reason these women give for standing beside their husband, the message of their display is still the same: A husband can cheat on his wife in the political arena and get away with it because the wives care more about public image than their personal respect.

In the same interview, Hillary said, “I never doubted Bill’s love for me ever, and I never doubted my faith and my commitment to our daughter and our extended family.”

As my fake Granmamma would say, “Hillary, sugah, you betta’ be doubtin’ Bill’s love for you after he disrespected you and messed around with that hussy!”

Granmmama speaks the truth.

And the thing is, I could try to argue the personal, moral reasons for leaving an adulterous husband, but I would never convince everyone –– because really, many couples do have valid reasons for staying together after an affair: not wanting to break up the children, financial reasons and maybe, they do actually love each other enough to work through it.

But the seemingly blind support wives like Gloria Cain show for their senator husbands seem to go beyond the personal, love-related reasons –– they seem to be puppets of their husbands’ PR teams, and perhaps even their husbands themselves.

If these women were truly supporting their husbands out of love, they wouldn’t stand next to him faithfully the day after finding out he groped some intern or sent nude pictures of himself.

No, because if it were truly out of love, the wives would first be, as Granmamma would say, “spittin’ mad’ before they could even think about forgiving their husband.”

While Gloria Cain may say she’s “200 percent” behind her husband, I have a feeling she’s compensating a bit for her true anger toward him.

So if by some twist of fate, you do find yourself married to a high-up politician and he cheats on you, keep this in mind: there’s nothing wrong with, as my actual grandma would say, reacting as a non-politician’s wife would by “kicking him in the family jewels.”

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. She can be reached at

 Posted by at 5:02 pm

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