The 2008 election season has been a bit short on dramatics so far. We've had lots of mostly dull debates, not a single candidate has been caught making out on a yacht with his mistress, and hordes of third rate candidates with no chance to ever get elected, are refusing to get off the stage -- until they've checked every couch in their campaign headquarters for enough change to keep them going for another week or two.
However, there has been one new weapon-of-choice and/or moving target (depending on the party) added to the overly long battle royale that is the 2008 campaign: the wives.
It’s not that the better halves of the presidential candidates haven't played a significant role in campaigns before. For example, who could forget Hillary Clinton helping to save her husband's campaign by saying, "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by her man," as she was confronted about the latest in a string of humiliating affairs that Bill had engaged in back in 1992?
However, this time around, the mainstream media has unleashed pre-emptive strikes at the two Republican front-runners’ wives even though neither of those two women has played a significant public role in her husband's campaign.
Judith Giuliani, who, to be fair, isn't the most sympathetic character, has been publicly cut to ribbons, most notably in Vanity Fair, with the sort of hatchet job that would lead to scathing editorials in newspapers across the country if it was aimed at Elizabeth Edwards or Michelle Obama.
Then there's Jeri Thompson, an accomplished professional woman, who has been portrayed in the press as an empty-headed trophy wife that Fred Thompson married because she's stacked and younger than he is. Would you ever see these sort of crude insinuations about the wife of any of the top tier Democratic candidates in the mainstream media?
Of course not and the Democratic candidates are exploiting the protected status of their wives to the max this time around. You see, as political campaigns have become more and more competitive, the candidates have become accustomed to using any and every tactic that may give them an edge. That's where the wives come in. It's generally considered to be bad manners to attack the family of a candidate. So, if you send your wife out to savage your opponents, you can then turn right around and complain that they're "attacking my family," if they try to respond. What better spokesman could any candidate have than one that it's considered bad manners to fire back at?