When it comes to sexism, a politician has no choice but to convince the public that if his loyal wife believes him, we should, too.
Yesterday we presented Herman Cain with a 10-step path to redemption after a sexual harassment scandal, but we seem to have forgotten one important step: The "stand by your man" routine. “You will meet my wife publicly, in an exclusive interview that we are currently planning and anticipating,” Cain advertised on Fox News yesterday. Not only is Gloria Cain, Herman's wife of 43 years, going to stand by her man, but she's going to speak for him, too.
By this time, it's a well-worn cliché: No matter how successful or media-shy, the good wife makes an appearance at the press conference to validate her man's claims of innocence (or contrition). There are some exceptions, of course—Huma Abedin was conspicuously absent from the podium during Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. But when claims of sexism are involved, a hard-line conservative like Cain has no choice but to convince the public that if a woman—his loyal wife, no less!—believes him, we should, too.
Most wives are simply required to stand there silent and sullen while their husbands address the public, but Cain is going above and beyond. Despite the fact that Gloria Cain has made nary an appearance on the campaign trail thus far—it's "not her style," her husband says—she will now give an interview on behalf of her husband in the wake of the media frenzy. One guess whose idea that was. Herman Cain is free to defend himself all he wants, and trotting out a passive wife is par for the course. But there's no excuse for coaxing his wife into speaking for him—especially when she's made it clear that it's "not her style."