In 2007, I was finishing a book about my husband's race for the U.S. Senate in Ohio when my editor called with some changes.
In the book, I had rattled off quite a list of all the wrongs, perceived and otherwise, visited on us during the campaign. Unfair headlines. Misleading polls. Dirty tactics. I wanted to document every last ounce of ugliness.
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My editor had other plans.
"You don't need that," she said. "Or this. Or that, either."
With every suggested cut, I responded with the apoplexy of a middle schooler.
"But they did these things," I said. "I want people to know about it."
"I know about it, honey," she said. "That's good enough."
Then she delivered what has since become the motto for my life: "No whining on the yacht."
My husband, Sherrod Brown, had won. I was about to come out with my second book. Despite a few male journalists' gleeful predictions that my career was kaput, I also was returning to my newspaper column.
No whining indeed. I did, however, leave in the part about how someone tried to steal our trash. My editor and I agreed that was funny. Sort of.
The title of my book, "…and His Lovely Wife," should give you a pretty good idea of what I think of traditional campaign coverage. The media love to depict so-called political wives as props or problems. We're either "humanizing" the menfolk with our womanly ways, or we're the dowagers of doom for their careers. Not much middle ground there, unless you count Ohio Gov. John Kasich's recent attempt to cast political wives as chambermaids.
"It's not easy to be a spouse of an elected official," he said last month at a rally for Mitt Romney. "You know, they're at home, doing the laundry and doing so many things while we're up here on the stage getting a little bit of applause, right?"
Just so you know, I threw in a load of whites before I started this essay. Love those new Tide Pods. Don't eat them, though.
The campaign life can be pretty rough on spouses, particularly those auditioning for First Lady, unless you enjoy having reporters assume you no longer think for yourself. The hardest part, in my view, would be never leaving the house wearing comfortable clothing. There you are, in your 12th hour of Spanx, and if you're no longer smiling, 14 bloggers will accuse you of sabotaging your husband's campaign.
Which brings me to the first rule of campaign wifery: Never complain.
Second rule: Really, never complain. It's an immediate fail.
"Stop it," she said in an interview last month with Radio Iowa. "This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring."