Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wendy Vitter Revisited

Temporarily surfacing from Harry Potter-dom, I wanted to point you all to this article that appeared in today's New Orleans Times-Picayune as its front page cover story. It's a positive piece on Wendy Vitter. For all I know, she is exactly the way the article presents her. Here's a section of it:

In their choreographed pas de deux, David Vitter was sober and contrite as he expressed regret for violating the public's trust. Wendy Vitter was defiant as she assumed the role of her husband's chief apologist and defender -- a performance that was all the more striking for the stunned and sad look that inhabited her face as her husband spoke of confession and marriage counseling.

"Last week," she said, "some people very sympathetically said to me, 'I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now.' I stand before you to tell you very proudly, I am proud to be Wendy Vitter."

This newly famous political spouse oscillated Monday between the two roles that have defined her adult life: the stern prosecutor who fearlessly faced down the cameras and the traditional wife who swallowed her pride, stood by a tomcatting husband and spoke "as a mother" in asking the news media to move off her lawn and leave her children alone.

That dual persona -- intrepid woman, steadfast wife -- was on display down to the way she dressed. Wendy Vitter appeared not in a modest suit, but in a flattering wrap dress that some saw as having a leopard print. She stood taller than her husband in a pair of low heels. She also wore a "journey of life" pendant, with a column of diamonds each larger than the next, symbolizing how the bonds of love grow and deepen over time.

Although Wendy Vitter predicted years ago that she would act more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary Clinton if her husband strayed -- "If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me," she said in 2000 -- observers who watched her statement last week said she never ceded an inch of her dignity in standing by the senator, whom she called her "best friend."
I still can't help translating her behavior in defending and promoting the career of her husband as a bit of a betrayal of her family, especially her children. It strikes me that there's some Hillary Clinton-esque ambition in Wendy Vitter's persona that would account for her willingness to risk her children's emotional well-being knowing what she did about her husband's indiscretions, the hypocrisy of this when stacked up against his vocal "family-values" agenda, and the unforgiving relentlessness of the media in today's environment in uncovering and exposing such hypocrisy.

She seems to be a good person; and I do feel sorry for her and for her children. She let her ambitions perhaps get the better of her in this instance and made a mistake that, perhaps, she now regrets.

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