Reverend Al Sharpton Reveals on National Television that the Emperor of Pinal County, Paul Babeu, Has No Clothes
We all know the Danish tale about the emperor whose men and subjects stroke him in admiration over his new clothes. Of course, as the story goes, the emperor actually is naked.
Instead of questioning the obvious, everyone basks in a collective ignorance. Until a little boy in the crowd shouts that the emperor has no clothes.
On Friday evening, the Reverend Al Sharpton was that little boy -- exposing as false Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's vacant rhetoric about President Barack Obama acting like a "king" and "dictator." Sharpton also revealed the nonsense of Babeu's pledge to defy what the sheriff describes as Obama's unconstitutional executive orders regarding gun control.
On Friday, Emperor Babeu paraded through the "town" making several television and radio appearances espousing the same talking points. His fawning hosts weren't interested in facts, and simply showered the emperor with praise.
Before appearing on Sharpton's show, Babeu made an early-morning stop at KFYI's Sharpe in the Morning.
On that talk show, Babeu claimed that "President Obama ... has been infringing and trampling upon our Constitution" and that his executive orders are an "infringement on our Constitutional rights."
He later parroted the same talking points on KTAR, citing that the "executive orders and these "laws" that the President thinks he's gonna be able to implement .... takes away your Constitutional rights, liberties that are guaranteed--guaranteed by our Founding Fathers for you to protect and defend your life, the life of your family, and your property. Now you're gonna be less able to do that."
It was the same story on FOX 10's Arizona Morning Show with hosts who nodded in blind agreement.
Nobody asked Babeu which of the executive orders infringed on Americans' Constitutional rights. Politics aside, what about identifying the substance of Babeu's argument?
Sharpton, on his left-leaning MSNBC show, PoliticsNation, got right to drilling down on Babeu's claims, questioning the content of a letter Babeu sent to Obama on January 16 -- and had spent all morning promoting.
In that letter, Babeu called out Obama for his "attempt to circumvent the Constitution of the United States," and reminded Obama that, as president, he is "not a dictator or a king who can act unilaterally and ignore our legislative process." Babeu said he is "gravely alarmed" by Obama's "actions and quest for unconstitutional power" because it " threatens the future of our sacred Republic and the Liberty we all hold so dear."
Sweet sounds, no doubt, to Tea Party-types cheering on Emperor Babeu and his new clothes. However, the flustered emperor eventually concedes on national television that Obama is not doing any of the things he cites in his letter.
Babeu admits to Sharpton that Obama has not actually issued any unconstitutional executive orders. And, that Obama is not actually acting like a dictator since he is proposing laws on gun-control that would have to be approved by federal lawmakers.
Watch the video below, which is followed by the low-lights if you're short on time.
Perhaps the most captivating moments are when Babeu -- who has been blasting Obama for pushing gun-control legislation -- said that Obama's proposal of laws for gun control "is the right approach to take." And, he followed that with an NRA-shuddering moment by stating that "most Americans would agree that, yes, we should have background checks ..."
(The lobbying arm of the NRA posted on their website: NRA does NOT support universal background checks and is not working ... to implement this type of legislation. NRA opposes, and will continue to oppose, universal background checks and registration schemes.)
And later, Babeu said that he was "encouraging" the President to present legislation to Congress -- even though he acknowledges that Obama is already doing it.
Babeu declared, however, that when "the President believes that he can just infringe on those rights and liberties, that is unconstitutional!"
Sharpton fired back: "You just admitted that he's proposing legislation, which is the antithesis to him being a king or a dictator. And you also admitted that he did not issue an executive order that you can specifically point to as being unconstitutional. So I can only assume you did this to raise an issue to get some attention because when we drill down you don't find anything unconstitutional."
A cornered sheriff tried to deflect the questions by bringing up Fast and Furious, the feds botched gun-tracking operation, and later, immigration reform. Sharpton did not give Babeu a pass.
He repeatedly asked Babeu which of executive orders Obama sets out infringe on American's constitutional rights.
"He doesn't in those 23," Babeu said, in a reference to the executive orders Obama signed.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.