Just how desperate is Meg Whitman?
Well behind in the polls in her California gubernatorial race against Jerry Brown, desperate enough to pull what my friend Joe Gandelman, a Californian, called a "Hail Meg."
Apparently trying to stir up votes on the racist, nativist right, she sunk into the gutter and called for her former housekeeper, revealed during the campaign to be an illegal immigrant, to be deported.
Here's Joe's take, and I have to agree:
In what can only be seen now as a last minute high-stakes gamble, Meg Whitman has now... suddenly... after not calling for it before... called for her former housekeeper to be deported. Note that even The Politico reporter seems a bit aghast at the transparent political motive of this days-before-the-election gambit:
California GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman says her former housekeeper should be deported.
Whitman — down 10 percentage points in the latest Field Poll after spending over $140 million of her own money on the campaign — said Nicky Diaz should be forced to leave the country for lying about her illegal status.
The following passage also gives you a perfect example of crocodile tears — or, perhaps more accurately, crock tears:
"It breaks my heart, but she should be deported because she forged documents, and she lied about her immigration status," Whitman told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday night.
"And it breaks my heart," she added. "Gloria Allred pulled off a political stunt. And you know what? On November 3rd, no one's going to care about Nicky Diaz. But the law is the law, and we live in the rule of law. It's important."
Whitman has previously declined to say whether she thinks Diaz should remain in the country after Diaz publicly accused the former eBay CEO earlier this month of knowingly employing her despite her illegal status.
But now — just coincidentally, mind you... the timing of the election a few days has nothing to do with it... the fact that she was booed at a forum when she refused to go along with Jerry Brown in agreeing to Matt Lauer's call for the two rivals to pull negative ads had nothing to do with it... the fact that the big buck ads she spent have not really advanced her cause and her numbers have been going down have nothing to do with it — she has called for her housekeeper to be kicked out of the country.
It'll be interesting to see if this will improve her polls. But even the most conservative voters in California may be turned off by a move as seemingly transparently, cravenly political as this one.
Who knows? Maybe conservatives will like this. They're not big on Mexicans, after all.
I would just note that this isn't just a "transparently, cravenly political" move, it's what Republicans do. When the going gets tough, they scapegoat, lashing out at the Other. Remember Bush I's Willie Horton ad in 1988? Or how about what Sharron Angle is doing in Nevada this year, targeting Mexicans as a bunch of murderers and rapists intent on invading white America?
What Whitman is doing -- to someone who was close to her for years -- may be less ugly but is certainly no less despicable, given how personal it is. She's actually trying to destroy this person's life, putting her political ambition above all else, pandering to the far right (the mainstream of the GOP) to try to claw back at all cost into a race she's losing.
How very desperate. And how very Republican of her.