Monday, June 25, 2007

What is wrong with having a younger wife?

The Tribune is reporting about an e-mail from a BYU employee about Fred Thompson and his wife:

Subject: "Fred Thompson's trophy wife."
"From the attachment, you can see that Fred Thompson and his wife Jeri (25 years his junior) may not wear well on many conservatives. When making their final decision before entering the voting booth, I think many conservatives will in their minds compare this attached picture with a mental picture of Mitt Romney with his lovely wife of 38 years, their five handsome sons, five beautiful [daughters]-in-law, and darling grandchildren. I hope so."

So what if his wife is younger? His ex-wife is going to campaign for him.


Voice of Utah said...

The support of his ex-wife may blunt its impact, but there are a number of people who frown on the concept of trophy spouses (trophy wives 99% of the time). It can conjure up images of mid-life crises and irresponsible husbands, memories of friends or family members who were dumped for younger women, etc. I'm not saying that it's right, I'm simply saying that it could be a factor for some.

Reach Upward said...

I believe that most Americans want their chief executive to have some semblance of family life that aspires toward what they hold in their minds to be the ideal. It doesn't have to be perfect; it just has to seem somewhat normal. Even the Clinton's relationship seems somewhat normal.

Like it or not, when it comes to voting for President (at least as things currently stand), people also consider the potential First Spouse. John Kerry's wife was part of the reason he lost. Many people couldn't accept Mrs. Heinz-Kerry as the First Lady.

By the standard of normalcy noted above, the Thompsons only partially fit. We may think that it shouldn't matter, but the fact that Mrs. Thompson is young enough to be the former Senator's daughter will simply not sit well with many voters. They may not consciously quantify this issue in their minds, but they will just not feel good about voting for him. It's a psychological issue.

For a parallel reason, Rudy Giuliani will have difficulties. It may not be marked in the polls today, but watch for things to change as it gets closer to Super-Duper-Tuesday next February.

Right now many of Fred Thompson's supporters don't know anything about Mrs. Thompson. Nor are they aware of potentially negative issues, such as the fact that Thompson voted for and still strongly supports McCain-Feingold, and the fact that he has spent two decades as a well-paid Washington lobbyist. After Thompson announces, these factors will be brought out into the open, and we will see some tempering in his support.