BROOKE GLADSTONE: One nominee, Linda Chavez, who was up for the job of secretary of labor, withdrew this week. She was accused of hiring an illegal alien to work for her in her home, an accusation that had sunk Zoe Baird's chance at a cabinet post in the Clinton administration in 1993. Chavez denied it, but before she left the stage, she took a parting shot at the media. Garfield shoots back.
LINDA CHAVEZ: Because of the way in which the stories have played over the last few days, the fact that all of you have made, I think, a great deal more of this story than need be and have, in my view, not told the story of some of the people around me, I have decided that I am becoming a distraction and therefore I have asked President Bush to withdraw my name for secretary of labor.
BOB GARFIELD:Dear Linda, Be quiet! Forgetting for a moment whether the Democrats might rightly regard you as a fox in the henhouse or the Department of Labor, did you not know that they would still be vengeful over the Republican-scuttled Zoe Baird nomination 8 years ago? Did you forget how Washington works? Did you think that once your political enemies unearthed your skeleton from its preposterously shallow grave, the media would just ignore it?
Blaming the press for your lost cabinet post, Linda, is like blaming St. Matthew for the Crucifixion. Committing the act is one thing; spreading the news to modern man is quite another.
But of course, you knew that. You were in no way shocked -- shocked! -- by what transpired. What is pretty shock -- shocking is that you, upon being asked to serve by the Bush administration didn't immediately disclose your potentially dirty laundry! I guess that's because Marta Mercado, strictly as a favor to you, of course, had just washed it.
Anyway, Linda. I'm just puzzled that you, a member of the media, chose to so loudly attack the media in the media! It wouldn't be that you just knew it would play with the media-loathing public, would it? That you were cushioning your fallback position in the media by coming out slugging.
Your own syndicate says the controversy will improve your newspaper column distribution eight-fold. That's a nice bump. No wonder you're biting the hand that feeds you. But really, now it's time to shut up. It's not polite to talk with your mouth full.