Cindy McCain penned an essay for the latest issue of Newsweek on what it's like to be a political wife and how her role has evolved since saying "I do" to John back in 1980. Of criticism these days, she writes:
Everything you do is scrutinized, which is a hard thing for me to swallow. And the difference between 2000 and 2008 was the level of scrutiny: blogging was not around in 2000. I did read some of it for a very brief period, and then I stopped. When I met Laura Bush after John got the nomination, her advice was don't read your own stuff. I was surprised. I assumed she read everything. She said, "I never read any of it--it's just too awful!"
You would think there would be more understanding of the candidates and their spouses. What I found was that because it was such a fast pace, they understood me even less. I've seen things written about me that said "she's cold," or "she is a Stepford wife." Really, I'm just very shy. No one bothered to ask that. I'm not sour-graping it here. I'm just trying to explain.
Cindy has been defending herself from "Stepford wife" name-callers for some time now. During her husband's presidential campaign, she told Good Housekeeping, "I saw written someplace that people thought that I was kind of like a Stepford wife, and that couldn't be further from the truth. I think my husband would say that, too. I'm anything but that. I have very distinct things that I like. I have very distinct opinions. Just because I choose to be a little less overt out on the campaign [trail] doesn't mean I'm anything less than very opinionated and very intelligent."
In July 2008, Jill Lawrence of USA Today noted, "More than 13,000 references pop up if you Google the words Cindy McCain and the phrase 'Stepford wife' -- the book and movie about men who replace their wives with robots." There's now about 75,000 (150,000 if Stepford wife isn't in quotes). Stepfordwives.org has even embraced Cindy, but as a non-Stepford wife Stepford wife icon, if that makes sense.
However, we hereby swear never, ever to refer to Mrs. McCain as the S-word. After all, would a Stepford wife take down Glenn Beck like this?