Wronged Wife Chic

Chatterbox’s favorite political columnist, Mary McGrory of the Washington Post, raised in her June 6 column what she called “the central riddle” of Hillary Clinton’s appeal as a Senate candidate. To wit:

She can travel the globe, lecture the Chinese and the Brazilians, rally Africans; she can challenge the people of Oneonta, Queens and Westchester County. But, polls suggest, she must not leave Bill. It is permissible to exploit his name and job by running for the Senate in New York. She must swallow the shame and humiliation of Monica and all the others, but she must preserve the marriage. For a nation with a 50 percent divorce rate, this is bizarre, to say the least.

Is Hillary Clinton’s political future really dependent on her staying married to her philandering husband? McGrory’s evidence is what happened to Mrs. Clinton’s approval rating when a rumor was floated in March that she might leave the Big Creep (click here to read Fox News’ account). According to McGrory, it dropped, and bounced back up only after the rumor had dissipated. This raises some interesting questions. Will the first lady encourage her husband to embark on another extramarital affair if Giuliani starts gaining on her in the polls? Will she dump Bill after Election Day, figuring she won’t face voters for another six years and by then she’ll have a record to run on? Is there some danger that a sincere reconciliation between the two, after what one must assume is still a fairly tense period in their marriage, will send Hillary’s approval rating back down if voters come to believe that Clinton’s philandering days are over?