Homophobic, religious medical doctor and Republican presidential longshot Dr. Ben Carson was in Arizona recently, getting schooled in illegal immigration by none other than Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu during a tour of Pinal and Cochise counties.
Carson's choice of Babeu for giving him study session on border issues was ironic on multiple levels, beginning with the fact that Pinal County is not on the border. Details, details.
Babeu took Carson on a helicopter ride to show him reputed drug-trafficker hideouts, and Carson, who seems dangerously clueless for a neurosurgeon, suggested that U.S. military drone strikes be authorized on some of these spots in Pinal County.
Granted, in some circles, that might be regarded as, um, homicide. But Carson has never let such piddling political correctness get in the way of his predilection for inserting foot into mouth.
In the past, this has involved Carson's mouthing off about gays, such as the time he likened gay marriage to bestiality and the North American Man-Boy Love Association.
Or the time Carson asserted that being gay is a choice. His proof?
"Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they're gay," he once told CNN.
Not to mention, Carson's belief that forcing bakers to create wedding cakes for gay couples could be dangerous, as homophobic cooks "might put poison in the cakes.”
Does Carson know that Babeu is openly gay and supports gay marriage? This is unclear. Nor did any of the reporters on the ground with Carson and Babeu ask them about the issue.
Instead, the issue du jour was illegal immigration. And Babeu can boast an unusually intimate knowledge of illegal aliens, because of a 2012 scandal, which New Times first reported, regarding Babeu's threatening his ex-boyfriend, a Mexican national apparently in the U.S. on an expired visa, with deportation.
Yes, as Babeu mulls a run for U.S. Congress in Arizona's First Congressional District, it seems some GOPers have chosen to forget the salacious details of Babeu's love life with Jose Orozco, who provided New Times with selfies Babeu had texted to him when their affair was in full swing, including Babeu nude with an erect penis, and one of a smiling Babeu in his underwear in front of his bathroom mirror.
Orozco also gave former New Times reporter Monica Alonzo, who broke the story, a loving photo of Babeu and Orozco together, with Babeu's hand on Orozco's exposed chest.
Additionally, Orozco shared explicit text messages between the pair, which often described sex acts in graphic detail.
The piece de resistance was Orozco's pointing New Times to a profile Babeu posted on the gay pickup site Adam4Adam.com.
There, under the handle "studboi1," framed by banner advertisements for gay porn, Babeu described himself as a "good guy" with a "buzzed body" looking for "1-on-1 sex" and a relationship.
A shirtless selfie accompanied the profile, which also indicated that Babeu was a "versatile/top" and had a penis that was "7" Cut."
Babeu's indiscretion was similar to that of other politicians, like former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, and Babeu did pay a price, having to withdraw his candidacy for Arizona's über-conservative Fourth Congressional District seat.
Though he copped to being gay (one of the worst-kept secrets in Arizona politics) and admitted to the affair with Orozco, Babeu denied any wrongdoing, particularly the allegation that he and his attorney had threatened Orozco with deportation if Orozco did not sign a non-disclosure agreement.
An investigation by the Arizona Attorney General's Office under Tom Horne, a political ally of Babeu's and himself a magnet for scandal, declared that Babeu had committed no crimes.
His congressional dreams on hold, Babeu stood for re-election in Pinal County and won.
Recently, Babeu has been floating trial balloons for a run in CD1, which Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick is leaving to run for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent John McCain.
Babeu's political consultant, Mike Noble, released a poll in July showing Babeu's leading the GOP field in CD1 with nearly 38 percent support.
Also, the sheriff has been asking Republicans to answer an online survey, wondering, "Should Sheriff Paul Run for Congress?"
And he's continued to beat the anti-immigration drum, mainly as its the only shtick he has left.
Last year, this meant demonizing a group of children from Central America who were supposed to be arriving at a facility in the town of Oracle.
Babeu showed up on the day the children were rumored to arrive, as did a horde of screaming nativists. But busloads of kids did not materialize, and Babeu was a national laughingstock, yet again.
Fox News still gives the sheriff airtime as a commentator, and there are a lot of far-right conservatives who don't care about his ethical lapses as long as he bashes Mexicans and the Obama administration.
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Could Babeu mount a credible congressional campaign?
Perhaps, right up till the point that a rival Republican does an attack mailer featuring some of the photos you see here.
Still, considering how much fun it would be to see Babeu's hypocrisy exposed once more in such a fashion, it's tempting to say: "Run, Paul, run!"