Babeu demonstrated that he knew he was treading on professionally dangerous ground when he, in text messages, rebuffed requests for risque photos, telling the man on the other end of the conversation that he couldn't send the pictures because of his position in law enforcement.

Then he sent them anyway.

That accountability Babeu once called for must these days apply only to subordinates.

Babeu with U.S. Senator John McCain.
Babeu with U.S. Senator John McCain.
Babeu as an altar boy in Massachusetts.
Babeu as an altar boy in Massachusetts.

As much as his shiny bald head and his anti-immigration bluster, castigating President Obama is a trademark of the faded Republican luminary.

Babeu makes misleading claims about cutbacks on border security, when budget figures show that overall spending on guarding the border has increased under Obama. He claims the feds give illegal immigrants a pass, even though the number of immigrants deported under Obama has far exceed those arrested and deported under President George W. Bush.

"It's clear that Babeu is just looking for a quick way to claim Obama is soft on immigration — a claim that the evidence refutes," reports Media Matters Action Network, an online research center devoted to correcting conservatives' misinformation. "But we shouldn't be surprised: Exaggerations and false claims are standard for Babeu."

In reality, the Obama administration has increased U.S. Customs and Border Protection's budget to $11.2 billion in fiscal year 2011, up from $7.7 billion in 2007.

Obama also has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004.

Although a self-described "unabashed patriot," Babeu had no qualms about bashing the president while on active National Guard duty in June 2010.

At that time, Babeu appeared on Fox News' O'Reilly Factor and delivered his rote criticism of the president for failing to secure the border — calling Obama's alleged border inaction "shameful."

Three months later, Babeu retired from military service.

During one of the numerous interviews he gave at CPAC, the February political conference in Washington, Babeu said federal officials "have not helped us" in the fight against cartels smuggling drugs into Arizona.

Babeu said his office "had a historic drug bust three months ago . . . against the Sinaloa cartel," and he touted that 76 individuals were arrested and 108 high-powered weapons were confiscated because of his leadership. There was no mention of the multitude of federal law enforcement agencies involved in the bust.

A stop in 2010 by a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy had led to the capture of a cartel member who divulged information about the organization to investigators, sparking the massive law enforcement operation across Arizona.

Much of the cost of the investigation, which is ongoing, has been funded by federal anti-drug initiatives.

Though Babeu fails to credit these federal agencies, also involved were the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office.

He also never credits several state and local police agencies for the success of the 17-month investigation dubbed "Operation Pipeline Express."

Lost in Babeu's rhetoric, too, is that the Obama administration deported 1.06 million people as of September 2011 — less than three years into his first term — compared to 1.57 million in Bush's two full presidential terms.

Moderates and liberals criticize the Obama administration for spending too much time and money on enforcement, when it refuses to seek amnesty for peaceful, longtime undocumented U.S. residents or champion the DREAM Act, which would allow promising undocumented college students or military enlistees to gain citizenship.

But Babeu harps that Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano hasn't done enough. She "doesn't know a damn thing about securing this border," he insists.

In Babeu's world, facts seldom add up to the nativist declarations that the dragged-out-of-the-closet gay politician has blathered since he's come to Arizona.

A free-flowing stream of cash that, early on, poured into Babeu's congressional campaign coffers dried up.

Overwhelming support from likely voters in the Fourth Congressional District sharply dropped, and invitations to appear on national conservative media outlets stopped coming.

Which is why — despite what he claimed in TV interviews the other day — he dropped out of the congressional race and decided to run for re-election.

Once his gay ex-lover's allegations came out, prospective voters in his congressional district abandoned him in droves.

In January, one of the first polls conducted in the western Arizona district, which stretches from Yuma to the state's northern border, showed Babeu with a strong lead among likely voters.

Conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, the poll reported that of those surveyed, 31 percent favored Babeu. Congressman Paul Gosar trailed at 23 percent, and state Senator Ron Gould received 19 percent.

"Babeu is well positioned to win this race," Glen Bolger, founding partner of Public Opinion Strategies, said at the time, adding that the sheriff had solid leads among "very conservative voters, Tea Party supporters, strong NRA supporters, and base Republicans."

At 23 percent, he called Gosar's support "underwhelming."

But just a month later — after Babeu was forced to announce his homosexuality following New Times' article about his Mexican ex-lover's abuse-of-power claims — the tide turned, and it was Babeu who was "underwhelming" likely voters.

This is when he started blaming the scandal involving his former lover on enemies and gay-bashers, and when he began to peel away politically from core principles of the Republican Party — which include protecting the institution of marriage between men and women and opposing gay rights.

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