In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve angered God by eating an apple. In an attempt to absolve himself of all blame, Adam simply pointed a finger at his partner and told God, “She made me do it.”
Thus a dangerous precedent was born, one which many politicians today are apt to abuse when they are caught red-handed. California congressman Duncan Hunter is no different.
The Republican representative and his wife have been indicted by the Department of Justice for illegally spending a quarter million dollars on personal expenses including groceries, school tuition, medical bills, and vacations to Vegas and Hawaii. But Hunter is not scared to tell the truth behind his misdeeds. According to an interview on Fox News, his wife, Margaret, is solely to blame.
“Whatever she did, that will be looked at too, I’m sure,” he said, being sure to add that she also served as his campaign manager. “But I didn’t do it. I didn’t spend any money illegally.”
This act highlights a disturbing trend in politics where male politicians can ostracize a woman to rid themselves of blame. For example, the Telegraph covered an adultery case in which the offending British politician blamed his mistress for his affair.
Women even receive the blame when a politician decides whether or not to run for office. Former presidential hopeful Herman Cain once told reporters that his candidacy would only continue if his wife allowed it. The announcement came on the heels of a 13-year extramarital affair surfacing a year prior to the 2012 election.
So why exactly do politicians feel it right to blame the women in their lives? According to Slate, it’s something akin to “the swaggering guy who threatens to take a swing at another guy in a bar, but manages to avoid the fight by bellowing ‘Hold me back!’”
This allows these men to distance themselves from the issue by placing someone else in the crosshairs.
The women in question are by no means innocent, either. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told Politico that his wife, Lola, often complicated travel with her last-minute requests. This led to unnecessary spending and accommodations which, “has frustrated department staffers by saddling them with extra work.”
However, shared culpability is often replaced by a need to save face for potential reelection. Earlier this year, Ben Carson passed the buck to his wife when asked about a $31,000 dining room set ordered for his office.
Regardless, Representative Hunter’s insistence he had no hand in the manner strikes a nerve with many. The so-called “war fighter’s congressman” takes pride in his military career and no-nonsense demeanor. In addition, the politician brags about his calls for a more Christian nation. Unfortunately for Hunter, the Bible does not seem to have any advice on what to do when you are charged with 60 criminal counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and filing false campaign-finance reports. Maybe he’ll blame his wife for those, too.
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