Stop me if you heard this one before: A rising Republican star cultivates a reputation as a hardline immigration opponent, and sets his sights on jumping from Pinal County Sheriff to the US House of Representatives. He's saying all the right things to attract voters in the state that also elected Jan Brewer and Russell Pearce and up until this week, looked likely to win. He's even ingratiated himself into the national Republican establishment by becoming the Arizona chair for the Mitt Romney campaign. But it turns out that this Republican star, Paul Babeu, had a very dark secret:
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu — who became the face of Arizona border security nationally after he started stridently opposing illegal immigration — threatened his Mexican ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise never to disclose their years-long relationship, the former boyfriend and his lawyer tell New Times. [..]
Informed of the situation, Nancy-Jo Merritt, a longtime Phoenix immigration attorney, says such a threat would be indicative of an "atmosphere that's been created politically in this state, so that if you get angry at someone who is Hispanic, you immediately jump down to the level of threatening to deport him.
"If what [Babeu's attorney] says is correct [about Jose's being illegal], either the sheriff had a long relationship with someone he knew was undocumented, while all the time being Mr. Bluster about the border and using it for political gain," or he threatened to deport someone he just broke up with, Merritt says.
"That's just the worst kind of hypocrisy."
For his part, Babeu admits that he is gay, quit the Romney campaign, but denied that he threatened his boyfriend (whose immigration status is under question) with deportation if he outed him. Howie Klein:
Meanwhile, Babeu, a former boarding school headmaster who claims he was repeatedly molested as a child by a Catholic priest, is still deluding himself that he can continue running for Congress against GOP incumbent Paul Gosar. That should be over by Monday. Babeu's press conference a couple hours ago is stunning. He admitted he's gay and tried painting himself as a victim, although he did acknowledge the relationship between himself and Jose.
Arizona senator John McCain--whose impeccable ability to judge character includes asking Sarah Palin to be his running mate and the architect of our current financial woes Phil Gramm as his economic advisor--was quick to defend his "friend":
“Well of course Sheriff Babeu is a friend of mine. I do not know the details except what has been published in the media and I am sure there will be a through and complete investigation if there is any allegations of wrongdoing,” said McCain, R-Ariz.,. “All I can say is that he also deserves the benefit, as every citizen does, of innocence until proven guilty.”
Well, that's all fine and good, but will Sen. McCain actually say something if the allegations are proven true?