Sunday, December 12, 2004

Politics: Kerik's Undocumented Troubles

As you know, Bernard Kerik withdrew his name from consideration for the Director of Homeland Security post due to some potential issues with undocumented household help, as well as, it now turns out, an ongoing civil case regarding an affair with a subordinate.

As I read this story, I had two thoughts:

1) Republicans are currently the most hypocritical group of people on the planet.

Bill Clinton's administration was roundly dismissed as an ineffective, useless and incompetent bunch of chumps when his nominee Zoe Baird encountered the same issue of undocumented household help TEN YEARS AGO. Republican members of Congress could not contain their glee, and ran to any TV camera in sight to say what a blight such a terrible, terrible oversight was on the President and his clearly-struggling White House. Isn't it funny, ten years later when this issue is clearly something you should have handled before you announce a nominee to great fanfare, that this administration is managing to dodge the exact same charges they would have leveled at Clinton by blaming Kerik? Where is the media on this? Can we replay some of the gleefully aghast comments of these senators when it happened to Clinton and ask them why they do not similarly judge the Bush administration?

2) Rich people should know better.

Okay, so I'm currently in my "populist" place, remembering my more humble origins, where the notion of having a nanny was no more realistic than Mary Poppins herself. Where the only person cleaning your house was you. Where you felt bad for kids with nannies (not that I knew any) because it meant, in your mind, that their mom didn't love them enough to make them breakfast herself. I mean, why would you have children and then pay someone to live in your house and watch them? Daycare is one thing, but actually having Alice the Housekeeper in your house doing your laundry?! Man! That only happens on TV! And how would your mom know if you weren't feeling well or weren't eating properly if she wasn't there? Would she just ask the lady she paid to raise you? Who would you cry to and cuddle up with when your tummy hurt? The whole idea was ludicrous in my mind.

So, forgive me for saying that this was my second thought upon hearing the Kerik news. But here's where I was going with that: If you are lucky enough to have the means to have someone cleaning your house for you, don't you think you ought to ensure that they are legal? That they have papers? That you are not inviting some random person into your home near your family and kids?! It's not like you're working three shifts at the supermarket and don't have the time and means to do the research! Is anything more important than making sure you can vouch for the honesty and legality of the person you bring into your home?

Or are you willing to take shortcuts to save a few bucks? Hmm...maybe that qualifies Kerik for the Homeland Security position after all. Although on the other hand, how are you qualified to keep illegal immigrants out of the country if you can't even keep them out of your own home?

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