A number of women in positions of power have become famous for making themselves infamous - or at least infamously ridiculous. That's pretty disheartening for a young woman like me, who believes that the strength, compassion, and intelligence many women possess could be of infinite value to our less-than-healthy political system.
What's encouraging, however, is that there is at least one woman on the Hill who is on the opposite side of the spectrum from historical flubs, dramatically emotional interviews, and post-scandal antics. Huma Abedin, the wife of Congressman Anthony Weiner, has managed to stand stoically and strongly throughout this overly-publicized "Weinergate" ordeal - from revelation to denial to apology to aftermath. But what's most notable is where she's standing strong: and it's not behind her husband.
Is this detachment what traditional politicos would consider domestic disloyalty, or is she a glowing example of sheer, unadulterated class?
A couple of factors to consider:
She's continued working - Despite being the pregnant wife of a pervy political Twitpic-er, Abedin has kept her head down, if not her feet on the ground. Soon after the news of her husband's indiscretions broke, she was on a plane to North Africa with Hillary Clinton. She's kept her game face on, reliably reporting to work and doing her job like nothing's amiss. Maybe that routine is the only thing keeping her together, but you'd never know it to look at her, and that's both rare and wonderful.
She's not being a press whore - I don't know about you, but my mother always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all. She also warned me not to share my private business with others. Apparently Abedin's mother (and possibly Hillary Clinton) gave her the same advice, as, in its coverage of the scandal, The Daily blog points out that "She hasn't issued any statements supporting him, [n]or been seen with him since the sexting scandal broke last week."
The extraordinary thing they don't mention is that she also hasn't bashed him in the media. She's also not partying hearty, going on a "revenge diet" or putting across any other thoroughly absurd ploy to get her share of attention out of this icky mess. She's simply absent, going about her own life, and she has every right to be.
My verdict here is that the woman who is consistently described as "glamorous," "cosmopolitan," and fantastically intelligent is taking a high road that, thanks to the antics of so many other publicly-embarrassed wives, many of us may have forgotten existed. "She is timeless," Hillary Clinton told Vogue in 2007. "Her combination of poise, kindness and intelligence are matchless." And though I wouldn't wish the burden of an unfaithful spouse on anyone, I think maybe we could all stand to take a lesson in class from Huma Abedin.