Paul Jacob

Yeah, "manifestation of support" and all, but did Professor Gutin not get the memo? About Judy having a son in high school? About her being a real doctor and having patients to see?

"The other candidates will come around with their wives and say ?here we are,?" warns Lewis Gould, historian emeritus at the University of Texas and an expert on First Ladies, "and then there will be these questions?.So, where are you?"

Some "tough" questions are easy to answer. Judy Dean will be back in Vermont seeing patients and parenting, thank you very much. Not doing television interviews and not advising her husband. Sorry, but her number is probably (wisely) unlisted.

Judy Dean says, "I?m very happy doing what I do. He?s happy doing what he does. I think that he?s doing a great job and I think he thinks what I do is a great job." Only in America would we spend $1.5 billion promoting healthy marriages and then fail to notice the real McCoy right in front of us.

True, maybe I?m sympathetic because years ago a friend suggested, within earshot of my wife, that I should run for public office. Unarmed, my wife simply replied, "He?d make a good candidate, but who would his wife be?"

My wife--like Judy Dean and unlike far too many in this Jerry Springer culture--has no desire to ever see herself on television. Or to see me?on television, that is.

Oh, sure, I was a little hurt later when I thought about it, that she wouldn?t throw herself mindlessly into my dream, had that been my dream. And even with all my debonair charm? Apparently, I married someone with more on the ball than to be waiting for me to give her the world.

If Dr. Phil asks, it definitely works for us. I would not trade my wife for a better First Lady.

Would you? Would you want a president who would?

Dean defended his wife against the serious charge of non-campaigning to Diane Sawyer and a national audience on ABC. Sawyer actually compared the interview to Bill and Hillary Clinton?s "60 Minutes" interview in 1992 after his alleged infidelity with Gennifer Flowers hit the press.

Is Sawyer, like other pundits, blinded by fantasies of Kennedy?s Camelot? (A reality that more resembled Caligua?s Rome.) How could she fail to distinguish between Howard Dean?s campaign problems, which certainly haven?t spilled over into his and Judy?s marriage, and the Clintons? marriage-related problems that indeed did spill over into their 1992 campaign. Apparently, speaking too boisterously or having one?s spouse refuse to forsake home and career for political power can topple a campaign. But adultery can wreck something more important: a marriage.

Dean explained to the seemingly baffled Sawyer, that, "My marriage and my family is the most important thing to me. It?s more important than being president."

I can think of lots of reasons not to vote for Howard Dean for president, which I?ve inerrantly espoused to readers of my free Common Sense e-letter. My cup runneth over with reasons --none having to do with the media obsession over his fired-up rant to campaign volunteers in Iowa.

But, his choice of Judy Dean for his wife and his treatment of his wife and family show remarkably good judgment, marking the best reason yet to vote for Howard Dean.

If I was a Democrat. And if Judy still won?t run.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.