By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Buenos días, Mitt!

The Boston Globe’s hit on Mitt Romney today for continuing to use a landscaping company that hires illegal immigrants is both unfair and fair.

It’s unfair because the story suggests that Romney should be held to a ridiculous standard. If you hire a private contractor to work at your home, you don’t take steps to make sure the contractor’s employees have legal status. Romney says he made it clear to the contractor a year ago that he’d have to clean up his act. And, frankly, that’s as far as any homeowner should have to go.

But it’s also fair, because Romney has been so flagrantly hypocritical on this issue, taking an interest only after his presidential campaign had begun. There is virtually no evidence out there that, prior to last year, Romney’s thought process on illegal immigration ever went much deeper than greeting the folks who mowed his lawn with a cheery “buenos días.”

“Not since Gary Hart told reporters to ‘follow me around’ has a presidential candidate displayed such an amazing degree of arrogance, indifference and abject stupidity,” writes the Outraged Liberal today.

Well, I’m not sure I’d go that far, but Mr. O.L.’s entire outraged post is worth reading.

There’s no doubt that Romney is going to take a pounding in the days and weeks ahead. It’s unfair. But given his nasty rhetoric about illegal immigrants — rhetoric that I’m not even sure he believes — he deserves what’s coming to him.

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A stupid idea withdrawn


Backward reels the mind


  1. Peter Porcupine

    Just curious.The same people didn’t go to the houe every week. Did the Globe question curly-haired redheads in an effort to discover if they were illegal Irish or Bulgarian workers?Or – heaven forefend! – did the BOSTON GLOBE engage in racial profiling?This reminds me of the newspaper stories about Mitt’s great-grandparents. At the time, I blogged about the missing great-grandparents of the OTHER 19 candidates.Tell me – has John McCain verified the immigration status of the maintenance and janitorial staff of that condo complex he’s so smug about living in?

  2. gary

    It’s news to me that “fair” or “unfair” is the criteria for a National newspaper in deciding Headline news. Live and learn. I’ll defer to you as the more expert on journalism standards.

  3. Anonymous

    John McCain isn’t running around telling anyone who’ll listen that we should crucify any brown-skinned person who sets foot on the northern shore of the Rio Grande. Romney is, and this is the price you pay for that sort of naked pandering.

  4. mike_b1

    Forget all the illegal immigrants Mitt employed. What about his nine wives? What did the Globe witness on that?:-)

  5. Anonymous

    The Globe isn’t holding him to any standard that he (Romney) isn’t holding everyone else to.Or at least whatever Romney’s stance is at the moment. It’s hard to tell. He may well have changed it again in the time it takes to get the paper printed.

  6. Harry

    Struggling US newspapers have a business interest in maintaining a supply of cheap, exploitable immigrant labor. US newspapers (the Boston Globe included) exploit the labor of hundreds of illegal immigrants who daily distribute their product to residential subscribers. The business arrangements are such that technically these workers act as independent contractors to an outsourced distribution operation. Thus their labor can be used without the need to inquire about their immigration status. Hundreds of immigrants are used to distribute the Globe daily.This vested interest in immigrant labor has never been acknowledged when the Globe’s opines in editorials about immigration policy. Nor have I seen their teams of investigative journalists cover the large scale exploitation of immigrant labor in their own distribution process…cheap labor which is vital to the Globe’s cost structure.Romney’s lawn care crew is a higher priority, which is why I voted against the Globe’s journalistic crusading by stopping my subscription.

  7. Anonymous

    Peter Porcupine once again jumps to the defense of her Mitt without disclosing either her relationship to his campaign or her involvement with the state GOP.Just as an example of the idiocy of her logic, I’m wondering where her breathless defenses of the other 19 candidates is.Her sleazy insinuations about the Globe and racial profiling aren’t worth responding to.

  8. Anonymous

    John McCain understands political viability in a southern border state. Funniest thing is that a married couple of Globies live down the street from me. THEY have their landscaping done by illegal Brazilians, (as do I). Thought about calling the Herald but my yard never looked better. Who exactly did you say was “pandering”?

  9. mike_b1

    Bravo, harry. Maybe those hundreds of immigrants can now find new jobs following and reporting on all of mitt’s wives.

  10. Anonymous

    I think Romney should be held to a higher standard. He should have fired that company when the reports first came out, not give them a second chance. What kind of judgement is that? How can he say we should go after those who employ illegals, and then turn around and continue giving money to the same company that has hired them? Romney will not be elected President.

  11. Peter Porcupine

    Anonymous 1:32 – Click on my name (it’s BLUE, see the difference?) and it takes you through to my blog, where my support of Mitt and my work with MA GOP are far from secret.And who exactly are you again, anonymous 1:32?

  12. Larz

    Would it surprise anybody if I were to say there are many sides to the illegal immigration story?What is your greatest concern about illegal immigration? For me, it’s the possibility of a terrorist(s) slipping through and initiating another 9/11. And that is what had driven it to be a front-burner issue.But where is the “net” cast to catch these people? The pols, at least, are casting in in the cheap labor pools, where the “fishing” is easy.How many of the 9/11 hijackers were working as landscapers? None! Of course not! They had debit-card transfers to support their mission.I’m no fan of Mitt, but what does it mean if his landscaper employs a few illegal immigrants? This “brilliant” revelation does nothing to help me decide if he’d be a good president.I’m shocked that he doesn’t rake his own leaves. (Not really) But I’d rather have a president who knows how to run the country in a sane, sound manner than one who focuses on trivial issues while missing the big picture.zzzzzzz

  13. Mike now from Duxbury

    Dan, try to get your house painted or your leaves raked in MA right now without questioning the status of the people doing the work. Impossible.We had our house painted 3 years ago by a great guy w/ his own business over from Ireland (legit). He had a decent crew at that time. This spring, we contacted him to have some stuff done to our house to get it ready for market. He was now on his own, because the Brazilians had pretty much undercut everyone in the business and for the most part it made no sense to match the prices that they were charging. Hence, John is now on his own.Strikes me of the Zoie Baird nanny stuff of ’93 here, although there is a huge difference in scope here. Contracting some firm to rake the leaves and cut the grass is a shade different than hiring someone to be the surrogate mommy for your children. My take, Globe is having fun at Romney’s expense, but as one previous poster said, it wouldn’t take much to nail the accusers.

  14. lou

    Romney’s dilemma is the same for a lot of Americans and it’s one that a lot of Americans are pretty hypocritical about. If you hire a contractor to mow your lawn, or paint your house, or clean your business, or go to a cheap nail salon, but don’t ask about their hiring policies and then bleat about illegal immigrants, well, you’re a hypocrite. you’re adding to the problem.

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