How Team Whitman blew the housekeeper story

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The folks at Calbuzz are asking the same questions that have been bothering me for a while now: How could Team Whitman, with its legions of high-paid political consultants, have bungled the Nicky Diaz story so badly?

If her campaign team knew about the problem a year ago (and she swears she told her consultants), why didn't they go public themselves, control the damage and eliminate the story as an October Surprise?

Calbuzz:

According to Political Consulting 101, this is standard operating procedure: control the bad news, put it out yourself, do it early to inoculate against a late hit. It borders on campaign consultant malpractice to have handled it as it was handled.

Of course, campaign consultants can't be sued for malpractice; there's no regulatory body, no disciplinary association. But it's astounding that so many professionals who are earning so much money did such a bad job here.

More important, it borders on criminal arrogance (alas, that's not a crime) that Whitman didn't give Diaz some sort of decent severance:

Why not spend $20,000 or so (or more, if need be) to hire her the best immigration attorney she could find to help her see what could be done to stay in the country or ease her return or whatever?

Why not offer her a year’s severance (about $18,000) or help her with re-settlement costs in Mexico? She was, in eMeg’s words, “a member of our extended family” (or as Meg said in one press conference, Freud never sleeping, “an extended member of our family”).

Okay, so Whitman and Harsh had to fire Diaz once they knew she was here illegally, if you buy their story. But they didn’t have to kick her to the curb.

I was pretty sure Whitman was on track to lose even before this happened, but I think the Diaz fiasco has sealed the deal. And it's not so much the fact that she hired an undocumented worker (LOTS of Californians do that every day) but the fact that she was such an asshole to her employee.

And the $120 million campaign to create a carefully crafted image couldn't deal with that basic problem.

Comments

For Meg Whitman to say she didn’t know her Latina housekeeper who spoke broken English was here illegally is naïve.

Yet, if an Arizona police officer who, after pulling over a van for a traffic violation, finds it filled with Latino men speaking only Spanish and assumes they might be here illegally, it's considered racist.

Posted by Save Boeddeker Park on Oct. 07, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

Meg wasn't naive- she was shown a CA driver's license and a social security card and provided with a statement that the maid was legally in the US and eligible to work. How was she supposed to divine that they were borrowed and forged? And even the notice from the IRS bolsters her account- the document specifically states that SS#s can be mismatched for many reasons, that the document isn't proof of immigration status, and that it can't be used as a basis for termination. Given that they'd already seen the forged/false documents, and that Harsh wrote a comment asking Nicky to check into the issue, I believe they didn't even question her legal status, but assumed- as the document suggested- that there was simply an error, in data entry or filling out a form.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 07, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

Nicky provided a false driver's license and social security card, and checked the box that she was not a citizen but here legally and able to work. Just how were the Whitmans to divine that these documents were forged?

Yes- the maid spoke broken English- but English is only required for citizenship, not resident alien status.

Yes, the IRS sent a form indicating a mismatched ss#, but the form letter itself states that it is not proof of legal status, that numbers can be mismatched for all kinds of reasons, and that the document cannot be used to fire an employee. And again, they had already seen her DL and SS card- so why wouldn't they assume it was an error of transposition or data entry.

Yes- they fired her once they Nicky told them she was illegal. But how would it have looked if Meg tried to buy citizenship for her maid? That would have been exploited by the media as special treatment.

The Whitmans did everything right according to the law - except they didn't call INS to report Nicky precisely because she was like family.

Allred has thrown Nicky under the bus with the express intention of influencing the outcome of the election. One can only hope that when all is said and done, charges will be brought against Allred and she'll spend some time in the clinker paying for her misdeeds.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 07, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

Identity ID theft is not uncommon and can happen to anyone. Had an Asian female who had her ID stole and used by someone with a male with a Latino last name. We found out because the state of Co. was sending us garnishment letters for child support.

And yes it is ironic that Whitman was supposed to assume she was an illegal alien, already didn't vote for her so don't care either way really about this.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 07, 2010 @ 6:27 pm
Posted by Guest Bárbara Chelsai on Oct. 08, 2010 @ 1:27 am