Producer: Jenny Edwards, Jeanna Polley, Neal Weisman
Director: Graham Theakston
THE POLITICIAN'S WIFE/Episode 1/Intro by Russell Baker
The public didn't used to care much about politicians' sex lives, possibly because the press didn't write about them. That's all changed now. Politicians' philanderings are now so fully reported that even long-dead presidents have their sex lives exhumed for public examination.
The sociology of all this is fascinating. The French, for instance, are endlessly amused that the Anglo-Saxons should make such a fuss about sex. Yet the Anglo-Saxons are sometimes just as blasť as the French.
King Edward the Seventh, as Prince of Wales and King too, was famous for his adulteries, and the British seemed to take it for granted that royalty was entitled to misbehave.
Americans elected Grover Cleveland to the White House despite the fact he'd fathered an illegitimate child. Voters who didn't know about it were reminded by a campaign chant that went, "Ma, Ma where's my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha." They elected him anyhow.
That was a hundred years ago. Today, news that a politician has broken the marriage vow can destroy a presidential campaign. It happened to Gary Hart in 1988 and almost happened to Bill Clinton in 1992.
What about the wife betrayed by her famous husband? She takes a double hit. There's the devastation of her self-esteem. And if she is a very private person, there's the terrifying obligation to play a role -- as famous politician's betrayed wife -- to the satisfaction of a million strangers.
Our story, presented in two installments, is about one such woman who picks up the phone one day and learns her world is coming apart.
Episode one, The Politician's Wife.
Episode number: 1 2 3
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