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Let’s Cut Politicians Some Slack When They Talk About Their Spouses

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Last night I caught wind of two faux-controversies relating to the way politicians talk about their spouses. Of all the things to get upset about in today’s world, pardon me if I can’t get upset about some jokes regarding someone’s marital estate. The first came from President Obama. He was trying to make some larger political point about compromise when he said:

“I basically let Michelle have 90% of what she wants, but at a certain point I have to draw the line and say: give me my little 10%.”

Now, sometimes I think President Obama uses his wife as a punchline a bit too much. I’m partial to spouses speaking very favorably of each other in public at all times. If you want to nitpick, you certainly could nitpick this statement, either from the angle of “letting” Michelle have what she wants or of making her seem like a domineering wife. Or you could look at it like the playful banter between loving spouses that I’m sure it is. The full context for his comment included a statement about how Michelle is “right” 90% of the time.

(Which reminds me of the story an older friend told me about how he and his wife decided to handle things by having her make all the small decisions while he’d handle the big ones. “In 45 years of marriage,” he added, “We’ve yet to have a big decision.” Ba-dum-dum.)

OK, the second comment came from Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He took off his jacket during a Q&A session on Sunday and explained his appearance:

“This shirt has a few wrinkles in it; it’s not my wife’s fault,” he said.

And some folks are freaking out about sexism. I’m sorry. I just can’t get worked up about it. So what if Rick Perry is pretending for political gain that his wife irons his shirts. (As if.) Maybe she even did in the early days of their marriage. I don’t care!

Now, I do care that the economy is in the toilet and tons of my friends and family members are out of work. I can get pretty upset about economic issues. But jokes about domineering and/or ironing spouses? Sorry. Spouse banter doesn’t even rank.