Posted by Adam @ 2:13 pm on July 30th 2007

Tom Bevan, fearless defender of the fairer sex

Tom Bevan feels that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are getting a fairer shake than Judy Giuliani and Jeri Thompson:

One of the most remarkable, yet least remarked upon aspects of this year’s presidential race is the disparity in the media coverage of the candidate’s spouses. On one hand, Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are all sweetness and light, and on the other hand Judy Giuliani and Jeri Thompson are treated as power hungry nuts and you-know-whats.

I am not sure about this. Laura Bush, it seems to me, got more pleasant media coverage than Theresa Heinz-Kerry in 2004, because Laura Bush is easier to like. I confess that I haven’t seen much coverage of Michelle Obama or Jeri Thompson (although Laura put her finger on a potential ‘ick’ issue regarding the Thompson husband-wife team), but how can any sane person be surprised that Elizabeth Edwards does better out of media coverage than Judy Giuliani? I mean, really? Edwards is a pleasant asset to her husband’s campaign even before her sympathetic appeal increased when the inoperability of her cancer became public knowledge. Judy Giuliani and the circumstances of her relationship with Rudy Giuliani, well, that’s a different kettle of fish.

Brad, of course, has long been ahead of the curve on the subject of Judy Giuliani.


  1. Well, the obvious point that you dance around and Bevan refuses to accept the possibility of is just that Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama are far more likable people than Judy Giuliani or Jeri Thompson. It can be that simple. Really.

    And, as you say, if one had to pick various marriage dynamics and how that would play to most people, The Edwards’ and the Obama’s are far closer to an American ideal of marriage than the Giuliani’s or Thompsons’. In fact, it has been, in part, the Republican party who, for the last quarter century, have bemoaned the state of American marriages, sex relations, and just general sex culture. Even by THEIR standard one would be hard pressed to find something particularly laudable about the Thompsons’ or Giuliani’s, and would have to work particularly hard to represent negatively the Obama’s or Edwards’ (and, incidentally, Bevan himself has not been shy about taking semi-frequent shots about both the Obama and Edwards marriages).

    This is part of a predominantly Republican sensibility that started showing up in the mid-90s that has led to the “Fair and Balanced” mindset in news media. Any two sides of any issue should be portrayed in equally positive lights. No, there is no sane reason why the Giuliani or Thompson marriages should be seen in an equally positive light as the Obama or Edwards marriages, and any journalist would have to be off their tit to bend over backwards to do so, as seems to be Bevan’s implicit suggestion.

    Give it a rest, Tom.

    Comment by Brad — 7/30/2007 @ 4:31 pm

  2. I’ve yet to encounter any particularly compelling indictment of the Thompsons’ marriage.

    Comment by Rojas — 7/30/2007 @ 5:46 pm

  3. Laura’s point was just that the electorate might find the age difference a bit icky.

    I haven’t seen any serious attacks actually aimed at their marriage or Thompson’s wife, though, in any case (which isn’t to say that there have been none).

    Comment by Adam — 7/30/2007 @ 8:02 pm

  4. The age thing, the fact that Thompson has YOUNG kids who are younger than his grandkids…none of that is particularly indicting, but I think that when the pictures start getting taken of the families, it’s just going to look kind of strange to a lot of people that his wife is younger than some of his kids. No matter how socially liberal we get, it seems like there are still some things that make us go “ewww.” At the least, I suspect some eyebrows will be raised. Whereas, the Obama and Edwards marriages fit roughly into our collective models of “normal”; partners of the same generation, at least.

    Comment by Laura — 7/31/2007 @ 8:29 am

  5. I personally have nothing against bald ugly men having wives much better-looking than they are, let me tell you.

    Comment by Adam — 7/31/2007 @ 8:37 am

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