Fortunately, I've not had to get too close to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne lately, as the stench of desperation coming off the guy is practically visible, like the cloud of dirt that followed around Charlie Brown's pal Pig Pen in the old Peanuts comic strip.
Horne clearly hopes a lurch to the loony right will save his sorry fanny from an embarrassing defeat by GOP rival Mark Brnovich, who rightly called Horne a "chameleon" in their recent debate on Channel 8's Horizon.
Over the years, Horne has morphed from liberal Democrat to moderate Republican to hard-right Republican, and now seems to be shape-shifting into far-right, anti-gub'mint extremist, a role that, sadly, appeals to more than a few in the Arizona GOP.
Take, for example, Horne's planned appearance at a Libertarian beer-drinkin' event "Liberty on Tap," this Wednesday evening at Scottsdale's Papago Brewing Company.
No knock on Libertarians, by the way. Rather, the knock is on the event's guests.
See, Horne will be there with former Graham County, Arizona sheriff and all-around wingnut Richard Mack, and Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, the "welfare cowboy" infamous for not wanting to pay his bills and for his ignorant remarks on race (e.g., "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro.")
A spokesperson for Horne's campaign confirmed via e-mail that Horne will be at the event, and that the campaign is aware of the other participants.
Mack and Ammon Bundy are familiar with each other, because, as you may recall, Mack was hanging out up at Bunkerville, Nevada earlier this year, lending support to the Bundy family in its standoff with federal authorities over old man Cliven's unpaid grazing fees.
In fact, during an interview with Fox News at the time, Mack said that he and other Bundy partisans were thinking about using the females among them as human shields.
"We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front," Mack said. "If they're going to start shooting, it's going to be women that are televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers."
Classy, huh? But there's more.
Mack once collaborated on a book with white supremacist Randy Weaver, survivor of the 1992 Ruby Ridge shootout with the feds.
Currently, Mack heads up something called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which Mack describes on its website as "the army to set our nation free."
The ex-sheriff's anti-gub'mint rhetoric inspires wackjobs far and wide, and of course Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a dear friend. Arpaio spoke at CSPOA's convention in Las Vegas in 2012.
Interestingly, in the wake of a June shooting spree in Las Vegas by deranged right-wing extremists Jerad and Amanda Miller that killed two police officers and one civilian, the Southern Poverty Law Center pegged the couple as members of the Patriot movement, with links to the Bundy episode.
(Note: The Millers died during the spree. Jerad was shot by police, and Amanda committed suicide, according to press reports.)
The SPLC states that Jerad had been present at the Bundy standoff, and at an earlier event, he had met Mack, posting a shot of them together on his Facebook page.
"Oh, no," Mack said when contacted about the Millers by the SPLC blog Hatewatch. "I was afraid that he might have been at the Bundy ranch. As soon as I heard about it, I was afraid of that."
Can I get a "whoops"?
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To be honest, I'm not sure who the bottom of the barrel is here, Horne or Bundy and Mack. As I've said before, Horne, who is thoroughly corrupt and belongs in prison, has nowhere else to go politically but as far right as possible, into the loving arms of wackjobs, who are willing to forgive his corruption as long as he espouses their nutty beliefs.
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