Was Michele Bachmann worried that Sarah Palin was stealing the GOP convention side-show? Bachmann wandered way off the reservation when she improbably accused Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of trying to infiltrate the American government on behalf of the
Sen. John McCain and – oh, about half the country – have now leapt to Abedin’s defense.
But a tiny sliver of this publicity is Abedin’s own doing. ln a much-anticipated article that hits newsstands Friday, Abedin and her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, invited People Magazine into their home to do a profile of their family life.
You remember Rep. Weiner. He’s the guy who sent money shots of himself in his tightie-whities to a selection of ladies who were not his wife, prematurely ending his congressional career last summer.
The article isn’t out yet but from the many leaked tidbits I’ve read so far, the one that really has me shaking my head is Abedin’s assertion that “We’re just a normal family.”
Huma, with all due respect, I beg to differ. You and your husband are many things but I’m afraid that “normal” ain’t one of them.
But that’s OK. Because one of the virtues of the Huma/Anthony story is that it reminds us that none of the politicians we elect are “normal.” Nor are we. That was certainly the message my colleague Bonnie Goldstein was trying to get across when she asked Jesse Jackson Jr. to step down from his own congressional office last week to deal with his mood disorder. As Bonnie pointed out in a subsequent post, we’re all
deeply flawed individuals who struggle daily with our personal demons.
So it’s refreshing when stories like the Abedin-Weiner one remind us that there’s no such thing as a “normal” marriage. (Personally, I think we threw the book on ‘normal’ marriage out the window the day that Al and Tipper Gore announced their separation.)
But maybe there’s another way in which Huma wants to be normal. In a world where we are actively debating the meaning of “having it all” and the new CEO of Yahoo! gets hired while pregnant – Huma has the enviable position of holding a high-powered job while her hubby stays home to care for their baby.
That’s not normal, as we know from Anne Marie Slaughter’s newly-minted-holy-grail on the subject.
But maybe we need more women like Abedin out in public with their husbands holding onto their babies to remind us of what’s possible in the workforce.
I myself go back to work full-time this coming Monday. I’ve just printed out a list of the summer camps for my husband, replete with addresses and pick-up times, as he’ll be holding down the fort this summer with our children. And I’ve got to say, handing over the keys has never felt so great.
So thanks, Huma. Here’s to the new normal.