Saturday, October 02, 2010

Jerry Brown-Meg Whitman debate: The real tragedy here is Nicky

If Meg Whitman hadn’t taken such unpleasantly anti-illegal-immigrant positions, one might almost feel sorry for her. And the question she asked Jerry Brown in today’s Univision debate, “What would you have had me do?”, is actually pretty unanswerable; if she’d just kept repeating it he’d have been in an uncomfortable position. Many people find Whitman’s summary firing of Diaz after 9 years cruel and heartless to someone she claims to have considered as part of her family, but is Brown, California’s highest law-enforcement official, suggesting Whitman should have overlooked a violation of the law? Or instead that she should have checked Diaz’s documents more carefully and then reported her to the INS? Either answer would alienate a large swathe of voters. Instead, Brown responded with something about how Whitman should take responsibility and not blame everybody else, but that’s about the politics of it. What should she have done about Diaz herself?

Fortunately for him, Whitman’s politics are solidly anti-immigrant, opposing a path to legalization and telling an illegal immigrant Fresno State student at the debate that she shouldn’t have been given a university space that could have gone to a citizen, so Whitman couldn’t ask Brown how you act humanely in the light of inhumane laws, and she did in fact maintain the I’m-the-real-victim-here stance. She suggested that Diaz had been brainwashed by Brown’s henchmen: “The Nicky I saw at the press conference three days ago was not the Nicky that I knew for nine years. And you know what my first clue was? She kept referring to me as Ms. Whitman. For the nine years she worked for me she called me Meg and I called her Nicky.” Hmm, I wonder what could have changed that? Follow the clues, Meg.

By contrast, Whitman repeatedly referred to her summarily dismissed employee as Nicky.

Whitman suggested that the person who really exploited Nicky Diaz is Jerry Brown: “You put her out there. You should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions.” Oh, so very self-aware. “The real tragedy here is Nicky. After Nov. 2, no one’s going to be watching out for Nicky Diaz.” What’s stopping you from hiring her the best immigration lawyer in the state, Meg?

Whitman said, “I cannot win the governor’s race without the Latino vote,” so, um, good luck with that.

Asked to list three of their opponent’s positive traits, Whitman could only come up with two for Brown (he cares about California and has had a long career in public service) before resorting to, “And I really like his choice of wife.”

I don’t believe she answered the question about when she would take the polygraph she offered a few days to take. Steve Lopez of the LAT has already lined up a guy to do it.

(My post on the previous debate here.)

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