All eyes are on Arizona tonight and its special election to replace Gabrielle Giffords. Which got us wondering: What else has been going on Arizona lately? The answer: really crazy stuff! Some recent highlights:
• Birthers in high places. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett spent a lot of time nagging Hawaiian government officials about the President’s eligibility to be on Arizona’s ballot, and, by extension, president at all. Bennett said he’s not a birther, and was simply responding requests by birthers for the state to look into Obama’s place of birth. In a twist, after a bit of stonewalling, Hawaii officials asked him to prove his own eligibility to investigate the President in the first place.
• Gun imagery in political ads. Ron Gould, a conservative Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona’s 4th district, made his point last week about his stance on Obama’s health care reform law by loading his gun and shooting it in a campaign ad. “Because Washington needs a straight-shooter,” he tells the camera.
• More gun imagery in political ads. Though Jesse Kelly has been on his best behavior this cycle in the race for Giffords’ seat, in the last election he was inviting supporters to “Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.” This time around, the Move America Forward Freedom PAC is doing the dirty work for him, sending around an email to supporters with a picture of Kelly holding an M-16, used in the last election, that says “Send a Warrior to Congress.”
• Anti-Obama gun imagery – from a cop. A police sergeant from Peoria was checked out by the Secret Service this week after he posted on Facebook a picture of seven high school students, four of them holding guns, and one holding T-Shirt with the President’s face pocked with bullet holes. After he was demoted and suspended, Officer Shearer said: “I was an idiot for putting it on Facebook, but to have all the pluses in my career forgotten over this one incident, which harmed no one, I think, is taking things too far.”
• Not-in-a-good-place lawmaker. State Rep. Daniel Patterson stepped down in April, citing a “hostile work environment,” which is evidently his term for accusations that he exhibited various forms of erratic behavior, including angry outbursts, pot-smoking, allegedly offering up his vote in the House in exchange for sex with a lobbyist, and allegations of domestic violence from his girlfriend/campaign manager.
• A sherrif under investigation. Sheriff Paul Babeu, he of reportedly-threatening-to-deport-his-gay-immigrant-ex-lover fame, is being investigated at the local, state, and federal level for possible misconduct related to the affair – including the possibility that he destroyed 6,200 documents in an effort to cover up said misconduct.
• Another sheriff –the sheriff – under investigation. How could we leave out Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who not long ago rounded up a super-sleuth team called the “Cold Case Posse” to investigate Obama’s true place of birth. Now he’s the subject of a Department of Justice civil rights investigation himself, over allegations that he systematically racially profiled and discriminated against Latinos, and punished jail inmates who spoke Spanish.