Mercifully, Marta and Vicente Fox have departed Crawford. The stench lingers, however.
Which is more infuriating: Fox's unmitigated gall or President Bush's rolling over on command?
As reported, Bush has agreed to eliminate fingerprinting and photograph requirements for most Mexicans traveling north for so-called "short-term" stays under the US-VISIT program.
More than seven million Mexicans enter the US with border crossing cards. Now, Mexican residents may not have to submit to basic security measures. The danger in waiving fingerprinting and photographs is that border-crossing cards are often stolen or offered for sale on the black market.
(My friend and VDARE.COM colleague Juan Mann comments:
"The key thing to remember here is identity. The person presenting a "laser visa" card that says "Juan" may not be Juan at all. It might really be Joaquin who was sent back to Mexico by the Border Patrol three times in 2002, and removed by an EOIR Immigration Judge last October. Without linking any fingerprints to the "Juan" border-crossing card, no one will ever really know who this guy is! Deported aliens could re-apply for a "laser visa" under a new identity, or just use someone else's card to cross. And once an illegal alien crosses the border—regardless of what the entry document says—they're home free! )
As usual, Fox wants more. In Fox's mind, Mexicans should be able to come and go into the US as freely as Canadians.
Conspicuously missing from Fox's latest demand is an analysis of the differences between Canada and Mexico.
According to a 2000 INS study, the United States has 4.8 million illegal aliens from Mexico while only 47,500 Canadians live here illegally.
Canadians have little incentive to risk coming to the US illegally. The per capita gross domestic product in Canada is slightly under $30,000 annually, ninth in the world. Mexico has a per capita gross domestic product of slightly less than $9,000 annually, 82nd in the world.
Then there is health care. Canada offers comprehensive medical care for its citizens; Mexico does not—unless you count as a health care program Fox urging Mexicans to sneak into the U.S. and check into American hospitals.
Therein lies the difference between Mexico and Canada. One government (Canada) is responsible; the other (Mexico), disdainful.
The good news is that Fox is on the way out. Only a year and a half remains of Fox's six-year term. And under Mexico's Constitution, he can only have one term.
The bad news is that Fox—as in Mexico's First Lady, Marta Sahagun de Fox, might replace Fox.
Sahagun refuses to deny reports that she may run for president in 2006. On the contrary, she has fueled the rumor with comments like,
"You will have a Marta around for a long time. I think Mexico is ready to have a presidenta." Mexican first lady's political ambition creates furor
"I don't have a macho any more, but a companion. I have a companion who shares the project of my life, who shares my decisions and illusions." Fox, compañero, no un macho: Sahagún , Todito.com, Feb 11, 2004
(Another friend and VDARE colleague Allan Wall weighs in from Mexico: "These public insults by Sahagun must be tough for Fox to swallow. Remember he called his 2000 opponent Francisco Labastida a mandilon…a man who lets his wife call the shots.")
Sahagun is Mexico's Hillary Clinton. Last year's best selling book, "La Jefa" ("The Boss") by Olga Wornat portrayed Sahagun as a ruthlessly obsessive shrew who is determined to become Mexico's president.
Sahagun has long dabbled in politics. In 1994, after six years of rank and file service to PAN, Sahagun ran for the mayorship of Celaya in Guanahuato.
Despite strong financial backing, Sahagun lost. But she remained loyal to PAN and soon joined Fox's second electoral campaign for governor.
Things between Fox and Sahagun heated up when she joined his inner circle. Fox gave her the title of Director of Communications. And the two did a lot of communicating—not all of it about when to issue press releases. Their affair was common knowledge throughout Mexico.
Insiders report that Sahagun picked out Fox's wardrobe and selected his menu. Author Wornat claimed that macho man Fox is hen-pecked by the domineering Sahagun.
In 2000, after Fox was elected Mexico's president but several months before they married, Sahagun became his official spokesman.
Observers believe that Sahagun's future lies in politics. Patricia Mercado, former president of the now defunct Viable Mexico Party, said, "I don't see her on the ranch. I do not see her as a housewife. That woman is going to have a political career, definitely."
Others urge Fox to use whatever influence he may have to dissuade Sahagun. One former president of Mexico, Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, said that as Sahagun "continues to move towards becoming a candidate, which is something that, to me, seems totally embarrassing, because that would be equivalent to a re-election." [Mexico's 'Hillary' on political fast track, By Roberto Cienfuegos, UPI, January 30, 2004]
During the last month, the controversy swirling around Sahagun deepened. She has been accused of influence peddling to raise money for her personal pet cause, "Vamos Mexico."
According to charges made by the Financial Times of London, [Mexican presidency faces financial inquiry, Feb 12, 3004] no more than 30% of the $14 million raised by "Vamos Mexico" during the last fifteen months was distributed to worthwhile charities. The remaining 70% went to administrative expenses and reserves.
Sahagun's detractors interpret this to mean that the money will be laundered into her presidential campaign.
Mexico's Congress has ordered an "exhaustive audit" of Vamos Mexico. Fox said his administration "has nothing to hide and nothing to fear." And he defended his wife's foundation against any ill intent to sow mistrust in the public's mind insisting that "Vamos Mexico" was getting "no money or other backing" from his government.
Imagine! Corruption at the highest level of Mexican government!
So nothing changes. Fox bloviates while a pliant Bush bows and scrapes.
One small thing that would be refreshing: if just once Fox could say "Thank you, American taxpayers for providing for my citizens."
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.