The Huma craze

In part, Huma worship represents an understandable siding with the wronged wife. In the required press conference that is the climax of our National Adultery Ritual, misbehaving politicians have always had to play to women. They know that their female constituents see them as archetypal bounder-villains and that they identify with the victimized spouse. To reassure women that they are suitably repentant and worthy of another chance, they make sure their wives are at their side when they take the podium. (Jenny Sanford is an interesting exception here.) They know that if we can be convinced she forgives him, we have permission to do the same. Hence, all eyes and affections are with the wife.

But Huma’s appeal to media bigwigs like Brown goes far beyond compassion. Even before she became Mrs. Carlos Danger, she was a star. CNN’s Dana Bash said “she is almost like Madonna or Cher here in Washington.” Bash doesn’t have her simile quite right; Huma is Kennedy glamour resurrected. She brings exotic beauty and a hint of Oxbridge intelligence — and of course cosmopolitan liberalism — to a town full of heartland men in ill-fitting brown suits and southern women in fire-engine-red blazers. Even during this Hell Week, Huma has managed to project such an unusual combination of elegance, composure, and vulnerability à la Jackie that it was tempting to take her laughable plea for privacy at face value.

And so many influential fans found reasons to applaud what they would have scorned in a woman with different politics and hair.