Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Sheriff Arpaio throws his credibility out the birther window

Post by Brian O'Neill on July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am with 28 Comments »
July 19, 2012 9:24 am

First there was the pink underwear worn by jail inmates. Next came the tent cities, erected at a fraction of the cost of traditional brick and mortar jails. Finally, there were the chain gangs, a throwback to the days when the lives of inmates included hard labor, rather than weight lifting and television privileges.

Through it all there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who defended his regressive measures by proclaiming (correctly) that our troops in Iraq were facing similar conditions while under the threat of a war zone. In other words, stop whining.

It was all an interesting take on the incarceration model, and I admit I wondered whether Joe Arpaio might be a pretty smart fellow. Now I know – Joe Arpaio is a birther.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Obama's birth certificate/ AP Photo

Never one to shirk his imagined duties, Sheriff Joe has established himself as the chief investigator, judge and jury of the President’s documented birth in the State of Hawaii. According to a story in the Trib (7/19), the sheriff’s “investigation” has concluded that President Obama’s birth certificate is not legitimate.

Even the most ardent of Obama haters – and yes, the “H” word does apply to far too many of his detractors – have abandoned the birther viewpoint.  This leaves Sheriff Joe in a very small group of individuals whose intellectual capacity is as suspect as their allegations.

Thus begins the death spiral so common in celebrity circles. Sheriff Joe, like other well known figures (remember Gary Busey before he went insane?), will have a descent as rapid as his rise as a public figure.

Forget the long-dead debate about a piece of paper. For those of us who thought Joe Arpaio might have some further contribution to our nation’s struggle with incarceration costs and effectiveness, only one question needs an answer: Why did you do it, Sheriff Joe? Why?

My guess is that Joe Arpaio (pause for a shock) does not take criticism well. Among his constant critics are the nagging members of President Obama’s Department of Justice, who have been loud in their condemnation of Sheriff Joe’s treatment of minorities in his jurisdiction. Not coincidentally, a civil discrimination suit against Arpaio is set to begin today. Whether these allegations are true or not, Sheriff Joe has responded loudly in his own defense.

This latest “investigation” (those quotes aren’t going anywhere) is likely the second phase of a response which could easily be dubbed Operation Arpaio’s Ire. Unfortunately, this absurd and self-obsessed effort will likely be the final act of a man heading down the path of self-destruction.

That is really too bad. This country thrives on visionaries, and Arpaio’s self-sustaining jails had all the appearance of a retro vision for future prisons: where living in tents and raising crops help relieve the enormous financial burden; where hard work provides inmates with self worth. Instead of expanding on this vision, Sheriff Joe has chosen to toss his diminishing credibility into the sinkhole of gotcha politics.

What a waste.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. rivitman says:

    Gee whiz Brian, Lots of harsh criticism for Sheriff Arpaio. So what if he’s a loudmouth.

    Is he effective at serving the citizen’s of Maricopa county? Arguably yes. To the voters like him? Absolutely.

    And probably his biggest asset is that the feds hate him and the very ground on which he stands. That’s the sign of a winner in my book.

    His investigators are experienced, sworn law enforcement officers yet you have no comments about the evidence?

  2. MrCarleone says:

    Am guessing that Brian believes in Hugging-Your-Thugs ?

  3. I guess I need to draw a distinction between what Sheriff Arpaio said, and what Brian (and the majority of the press) THINKS he said.

    Sheriff Arpaio SAID that the long form birth certificate presented online, as well as Obama’s selective service card, were forgeries.

    What Brian THINKS he said: Obama wasn’t born in the US.

    What the Sheriff REALLY meant: The documents are forged. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a real birth certificate in Hawaii. That doesn’t mean that the Sheriff thinks Obama was born in Kenya. It means that someone made a fake long form birth certificate and is passing it off as real.

    I don’t really care. It’s too late to be arguing this garbage to begin with. It doesn’t matter either. Sheriff Arpaio is wildly popular with the people that elected (and re-elected) him. The ones that oppose him won’t change their minds – they compare him to Hitler (is there anyone on the left that doesn’t use the Hitler comparison for anyone right of center?) and call him racist.

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    Sheriff Joe for US Att. Gen…..One of the many differences between Libs, and us Right Wingers is that a Lib has never been mugged.(Yes, I know, not a real good sound bite, but, you know what I mean)

  5. Brian O'Neill says:

    I have written more than one column extolling the accomplishments of Sheriff Joe (which I continued to cite in this column). Unfortunately, I found his exhumation of the birther issue (regardless of the semantics of forgery vs. birthplace) and the timing of the news conference (just before his civil trial) to be nothing more than political expedience.

    I have arrested “thugs” but never hugged one, McCarleone; you’re just shooting the messenger.

  6. Please someone help me understand! I watched the entire press conference by Sheriff Joe and Investigator Mike. I was stunned as I thought America would be. The investigator seemed more than credible, honest, and legitimate. He stated, among other things, that there is no way the certificate released by the White House could be real. But what bent my mind was the reporters mocking questions after and the fact that I’m barely hearing a blip about this anywhere, and if I do it’s spinned into something else entirely. Since watching it I feel I am in a movie where almost everyone is under some kind of spell. Please explain, what am I missing? I understand if people don’t care he was born elsewhere, but wouldn’t people be concerned about the cover-up?

  7. Sroldguy says:

    I just read that Obama’s grandmother did volunteer work in the county offices where the births are recorded. I hadn’t heard that before.

    The year or so Obama spent in one college and professors and classmates don’t remember him during that time. Obama will not release transcripts for that period of time?
    The Obama social security card.

  8. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    I have not seen or heard anybody prove Arpaio wrong yet. Are there any other agencies in the U.S. that have conducted a more thorough investigation?

    Heck I would be almost willing to bet I have been through more thorough background checks than obama.

  9. SafewayOrangeSoda says:

    rl-
    This is how Democrats respond to criminals in their midst- they take the accuser and mock, insult, denigrate and destroy them, while completely ignoring the actual evidence. Notice that nowhere in this entire snyde article was there anything that actually refuted the Sheriff’s claim. It was nothing but a smear piece, designed to make fun of those darn people who want to know what the truth is.
    The thing is- this has been happening for over half a century. Perjury, corruption, even murder… so long as one is a Democrat, the media will do all that it can to mock its way to what it considers a “win”.

  10. Brian O'Neill says:

    I suppose I should not find many of these comments amusing, but somehow I do. Is there some type of syndrome that distorts a person’s view, thus seeing partisanship in any comment, however benign? Is it the inevitable result of our polarized political dialogue, where wingnuts from the right and left spew rhetoric from so-called news channels as if it were the final word of a deity?

    I won’t bother refuting the comments of safeway, npc or any others, because these bore no relevance to the topic. To review, that topic was the following: A law enforcement official whom I respected has chosen to digress into a matter that – having no bearing on his position as an elected Sheriff – has all the appearances of a suspiciously timed political vendetta. I apologize for recapping the column, but these comments suggested that not everyone understood what I thought to be a plain message.

  11. PositiveNews says:

    THANK YOU, BRIAN!

  12. leehallfae says:

    Thanks, Mr. O’Neill. I used to admire (sort of) Sheriff Joe, bu no longer.

  13. tacomajoe says:

    Sheriff Joe is deranged and unpatriotic, and has more in common with the Taliban and Al-Qaida than with mainstream America. Giving him credit for ANYTHING that happens in his jurisdiction is akin to applauding Mussolini for making the trains run on time.

    All this sorry affair shows is what a double-talking hypocrite he is – he thinks nothing of sending a “posse” to another jurisdiction but squeals like a pig when the feds look into his practices.

  14. BlaineCGarver says:

    He, TJ, sometimes voters are criminally stupid….look at our president.

  15. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    Well I do have to give Arpaio credit, he is doing something whether it is politically correct or not. Too bad we can not expect anything from the Department of Justice.

    Here we are commenting with little to go on (even Brian here). Yet if something is at question such as obamas birth certificate, people will be like big deal. Are we the people or sheeple of the united states?

    Brian, did tnt put you up to writing this article? I would like to know what you mean by him being a “Birther” as you describe below?

    “Through it all there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who defended his regressive measures by proclaiming (correctly) that our troops in Iraq were facing similar conditions while under the threat of a war zone. In other words, stop whining.

    It was all an interesting take on the incarceration model, and I admit I wondered whether Joe Arpaio might be a pretty smart fellow. Now I know – Joe Arpaio is a birther.”

    Sorry I missed the part making him a “birther” in there. Or is there another definition of birther, we are not familiar with?

    You also stated above:

    “Sheriff Joe has chosen to toss his diminishing credibility into the sinkhole of gotcha politics.”

    If this is the case, are you trying to jump into the arena also?

    Have a Nice Day!!!

  16. Trueblue22 says:

    I am surprised that the intelligence in this forum is missing the connection that Sheriff J is trying to make. His unfounded assertion about BHO’S birth is as insane as is the U.S. policy towards immigration (which has directly impacted his state and county unlike that of no other in the country). Until the latter is addressed, the former will continue to attract media attention.

  17. NotPoliticallyCorrect says:

    Trueblue, there is a reason why this forum is under the opinion section. These are opinions whether it is tnt, Brian, yours, mine and anybody else in here. If it was anything else, it might be a headline for a day.

  18. FreshBasil says:

    Good on you for calling out the sheriff on this issue, yet still recognizing the good decisions he’s made. Nice to see opinions that are not the “all or nothing” kind of thinking that is so prevalent in political commentary these days.

  19. SandHills says:

    Be honest Brian, Arpaio never had any credibility with those leaning left of center – those more concerned about how convicted criminals than victims.

    So he is wrong about Obama’s birth – this is merely the cherry on top for his detractors.

    Most with commonsence would say – Sheriff Joe, you are wrong on this….but keep doing what you do best, the type pf law enforcement that irritates to no end those who have long held that criminals should be given Four Season suites and 5 course meals at the expense of hard working taxpaying victims of their crimes.

  20. Brian O'Neill says:

    Sheriff Joe’s methods are always a magnet for debate. Most of the time that’s a good thing, but in this case I also wish he had stuck to what he does best. Nobody runs a tighter jail than him.

  21. SafewayOrangeSoda says:

    You know what’s absolutely, positively hilarious?

    Good ole’ Brian here is so insecure about his position that he has to pop in, toss out “I won’t bother refuting the comments of safeway, npc or any others”, and run away!

    Hey, guess what, Brian- you know why you don’t “refute” the comments of myself and NPC? Because you CAN’T! All you can do is throw out derogatory remarks and insults, claiming that there is “no relevance”.

    Well, guess what, Brian, good ole’ Brian, I gotta tell ya this- our posts have everything to do with the topic at hand! You made an entire article denigrating a real Sheriff without coming up with one single, tiny, itty bitty piece of actual fact that could even in the very slightest put anything behind your article.

    You don’t have the fact to back yourself up with, so you resort to the sad, sorry realm of the factless- the insult.

    It works well in politics, I will give you that much. Tossing out bombs and throwing mud when you don’t have anything to actually support yourself gets your voter base all fired up, sure.

    But it’s the realm of the factless that Limbaugh, Olbermann, Coulter and Maddow reside. It’s a vast, yawning maw, an echo chamber where things “just are so”- not because they are true, but because someone desperately, fervently just wants them to be true.

    This is the realm you have lowered yourself into. You provide no facts, you give no basis- you are, in fact guilty of the very thing that you accuse the Sheriff of! You smear without giving the least bit of credibility to your smear.

    Again.

    You had your hat handed to you the last time, too.

  22. BrickTamland says:

    Pretty sure the former elected DA in Maricopa County also bought into what Arapaio was selling. Those of you that are doing the same in this thread should Google “Andrew Thomas” and see how well that worked out.

  23. Chippert says:

    From someone who usually “leans left of center” (but not as far from center as most of the posters are right from center), I LIKED most of Sheriff Joe’s ideas on penal institutions and think they should be a model for the rest of the country. What I do NOT like is Sheriff Joe’s venture into right-wing mud-slinging especially as it appears to be an attempt to obscure or discredit his own legal troubles. And I do not like the obvious racially-tinged comments that Sheriff Joe is famous for. So in short, I like his professional solution to the problems of penal institutions but I generally dislike the man.

    That said, I very much this birther resurrection. Of course, the whole thing is way, way outside of Sheriff Joe’s legal jurisdiction. None of this happened, or applies to, Maricopa County. So, who paid for the investigation? Who is paying Sheriff Joe to be looking into this, to authorize an investigator, or to spend his time on this “issue”? If it is the taxpayers of Maricopa County) as it appears to be, it would seem that there should be yet another investigation authorized – that of Sherrif Joe’s illegal use of public money.

  24. Hey! I told you the police were human and worry about receding
    hairlines and the energy efficiency of their water
    heater. Does this sheriff think that he can know with absolute
    certainty any human fact on the face of the sun? I hope not.

  25. AnotherThought says:

    Brian:

    It is rather pointless to argue with the true conspiracy believers. Facts never get in the way — they simply “prove” how deep the conspiracy goes. It doesn’t matter whether it is “Bush knew about 9/11 in advance” or “Obama was born in Kenya” or “we never landed on the moon”….

  26. SafewayOrangeSoda says:

    “It is rather pointless to argue with the true conspiracy believers.”

    Especially when you don’t have anything to rebut against those “conspiracy believers” except throwing out insults.

    Note that Brian and his little friends have tossed out not even a single nugget in this entire thread to disprove what the Sheriff stated.

    Right out of Alinsky’s book, yep.

  27. Brian O'Neill says:

    Safeway- Again, this column had nothing to do with the veracity of the birther issue, the facts of Arpaio’s “investigation” or anything of that sort. I have heaped praise on the man in previous columns, but like many others feel resigned that he is losing sight of his true purpose.

    Your denigrating comments are undercutting your viewpoint. I would recommend that you attempt to debate the issue with something other than poisonous rhetoric. And if you still choose to discuss presidential politics, I would refer you to a different opinion columnist.

  28. SafewayOrangeSoda says:

    Brian- Again, this column had absolutely everything to do with the veracity of the birther issue, the facts of Arpaio’s “investigation” or anything of that sort. You have been nothing but leftist in all your previous columns, and like many others feel resigned that you long ago lost sight of your true purpose.

    Your denigrating comments are undercutting your viewpoint. I would recommend that you attempt to debate the issue with something other than poisonous rhetoric. And if you still choose to discuss presidential politics, I would refer you to a different newspaper. The Seattle Weekly loves rabid batty leftists. You would fit right in.

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