Yup, that’s right. Thompson, who has been accused of marrying his wife Jeri for trophy wife duties, apparently thinks that the idea is hilarious. Or true. It’s kind of hard to tell.
His response has been called “tongue-in-cheek.” I’d call it “head-up-ass.”
The fact of the matter is, it’s sometimes appropriate to make light of one’s public image. For example, John Edwards making a joke about the stupid fucking $400 haircut. That’s funny, subverting his image and pointing out how silly the discussion is. But John Edwards making a joke about how he’s using his wife’s cancer to gain sympathy votes? That would be not cool. There are two reasons for this: one is that sometimes, there’s nothing funny to be found in an allegation, only offensiveness. The second is that making a joke at your own expense is one thing; making a joke at the expense of your spouse is something else entirely.
Whether or not you think that Jeri is a “trophy wife” (and I couldn’t care less either way) isn’t really the question here. The question is whether or not Fred Thompson has any basic respect for his wife. If Jeri is not a “trophy wife,” you’d think that he’d be hugely offended at the mere suggestion. If she is, you’d hope that he’d at least have enough respect for her to not publicly laugh about it. You’d also think that when asked a question about one’s most prized possession, any decent man would not immediately think “possession . . . my wife!” Oh yeah, that’s just fucking hilarious. Sorry folks, but the “jokes” that one makes about his or her spouse say a lot. And so does whether or not “possession” and “wife” show up next to each other in his word association game.
Though it’s not anything that I would base a vote upon, and though I do ultimately believe that the positive or negative traits of one’s spouse should not generally be used to judge a candidate, I also believe that relationships can tell you a lot about a person. Specifically, the way that a man treats his wife tells you a lot about him. It’s one of many things that I like and respect about Edwards: his wife is independent, intelligent, outspoken and often gets him into political trouble. He also has enough respect for her to not try to censor what she says. The same goes for Obama. And other than his not being Bush, it was one of my favorite things about John Kerry (I’m sorry, there just wasn’t a lot to like about the guy).
And whether or not we think they should, spouses do have a fairly big role in presidential elections. And quite frankly, the Laura Bush’s of the world piss me off. I honestly cannot remember a time when I have heard the woman voice an opinion about anything. I’ve seen her hang out with kids a couple of time, but “look at me, I like kids” isn’t really an opinion. The same goes for all of the Republican candidate’s wives. I also know that the only time that one of them has treated his wife like an equal, when Giuliani made the mere suggestion that his wife might have some kind of role in his administration, he was torn to shreds by conservative voters. It’s not a huge surprise, seeing as how what is valued most among these same voters is how much a man wants to take away women’s right to make decisions over their own bodies. Putting your wife in a decision-making position is a pretty obvious no-no. And Rudy seems to have learned the lesson well.
Clearly, there was never any question that Thompson’s policies would be bad for women. It’s similarly clear from those policies that he lacks basic respect for women and their rights as human beings. It’s also telling that he doesn’t try to sugar-coat these views, as most do, with pandering about how very much he loves and respects his wife (for raising his kids and making him pie). Nope, he’s just saying “hey guys, look at my wife. Wouldn’t you want to fuck her?” And though he may call his suggestion that his wife is the best “purchase” he’s ever made a “joke,” I’m sure as hell not buying it. Anyone disrespectful enough to make that kind of “joke” about a woman he supposedly loves does have to at least partially believe it.