Maureen Dowd has a new piece out on Callista Gingrich this week, and while it devolves into unnecessary nastiness at the end, this part about the contrast between Newt’s and Mitt’s wives is worth noting:
Ann Romney often introduces her husband, chatting warmly about his uxorious virtues, and then disappears offstage or to the back of the stage while he talks. But the 45-year-old Callista has created an entirely new model for a spouse, standing mute in her primary color suits and triple-strand pearls looking at the 68-year-old Newt for the whole event, her platinum carapace inclined deferentially toward his shaggy gray mane. …
That may be why she has a largely nonspeaking role in the campaign, as silent as the slender heroine of “The Artist,” even though Newt relays that she has described herself as a hybrid of Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Jackie Kennedy. The campaign does not want to remind voters that the relationship, portrayed as so redemptive, was born in sin and hypocrisy.
It wasn’t until after reading this that I realized I couldn’t even remember actually hearing Callista speak. A Google search for Callista Gingrich interviews – which brought up this 2009 clip of her sounding like a museum guide robot – only managed to amplify the Stepford Wife resemblance. This isn’t a person talking, it’s rote memorization. Which raises the question: is Gingrich uncomfortable with his wife speaking off-the-cuff?
This wouldn’t be an issue worth mentioning if Newt didn’t already have a serious problem with women voters, one some pundits say may have cost him Florida. While Gingrich’s advisers may think keeping Callista quiet will draw less attention to Newt’s infidelity, in fact, the exact opposite is probably true. Women see Callista trailing her husband around the country like a silent mannequin and find it instinctively off-putting: Why is he so uncomfortable with his wife taking a normal role in the campaign? What’s wrong with him? If Newt wants to understand his problem with women voters, he has to realize Callista’s odd silence plays a part in it.