The scenario has become so common it's now predictable: The disgraced politician stands at the podium, wife at his side, making his statement either admitting wrongdoing to some degree or denying anything ever happened.
For 99% of the viewing public, this is most likely the first time they have ever seen the politician's wife or even heard her name, and it occurs at what may be one of the worst moments in the woman's life. The photos and TV footage taken will endure forever, reprinted and replayed the next time a similar political scandal occurs, as it always does.
Such is likely the case for the latest scandal, with Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-NY) and his wife, Silda. The couple's photo has been on the front page of almost every major publication across the country since Spitzer first admitted he erred in personal judgment last Tuesday. His wife was also by his side when he resigned from office the following day.
Please, disgraced politicians, stop doing this to your wives. They were not present when you did whatever it is that you did (or didn't do). Why must you ask them to be present when you own up to it (or not)? Yes, as the PR analysts note, the presence of the wife shows that the politician has the support of his family in some way.
But the tactic has now reached its saturation point - more guileless members of the public, through the increased presence of articles on the tactic, have joined the cynics in realizing that the wife's presence is really just a calculated ploy.
Communications experts may argue that a tool can retain its efficacy even after it becomes a transparent ploy. But one Google search on "wife scandal" can prove, without question, that the cynics' opinions speak louder than any resolute spouse.