NANNY WOES….This whole Bernie Kerik affair is actually kind of funny. On Friday he withdrew his nomination to be secretary of homeland security, saying he had “discovered” that a former nanny might have been an illegal alien and that he might have, um, inadvertantly failed to pay all the required taxes during her employment. Thus Kerik joins a distinguished line of “nanny problem” politicians stretching from Michael Huffington to Zoe Baird to Linda Chavez.

But wait ? that’s not the funny part. Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball reports today that Kerik actually had more serious problems:

Kerik, who recently made millions in the private sector, once filed for personal bankruptcy as a New York cop. And just five years ago he was in financial trouble over a condominium he owned in New Jersey. More serious trouble than anyone realized: Newsweek has discovered that a New Jersey judge in 1998 had issued an arrest warrant as part of a convoluted series of lawsuits relating to unpaid bills on his condo.

Still not laughing? Here’s what’s amusing: apparently nanny problems are now so common and well accepted that they’ve become a standard excuse to cover up more serious offenses. Heck, it almost makes you a martyr, since the chattering classes unanimously agree that nanny issues are trivial ? it’s just so hard to find good help these days ? and are used mostly as political payback anyway.

Remember that the next time you think the cops are closing in on you for selling secrets to the Russians or something. Just confess to a nanny problem! Everyone will believe you, the cops will suddenly understand why you’ve been acting shifty, and you might even get some sympathy in the bargain. It’s perfect!

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