There goes the neighborhood.
Self-proclaimed “America's Toughest Sheriff” and aging crackpot Joe Arpaio will be bringing his special brand of media whoring from Phoenix, Arizona, to Beverly Hills on Friday. Arpaio's endorsing Phil Liberatore, a mustachioed conservative facing off in the Republican congressional primary next month.
Liberatore is running in the newly created 8th congressional district — which stretches from the edges of San Bernadino all the way into the northern reaches of Death Valley, including the tiny town of Mono. In other words: nowhere near Beverly Hills. But as any Arizonan could tell you, Arpaio's preferred placement has more to do with TV cameras than actual voters. He's obsessed with his own press clippings.
These days, Arpaio is hardly the draw he used to be. For one thing, the Justice Department is coming down, hard, on him for racial profiling — his “immigration sweeps” are such blatant violations of civil-rights law that even Arpaio has freely admitted he's been rounding up brown-skinned Arizona residents just to spite his critics. He lost his one-time closest ally — Maricopa County's former top prosecutor — to disbarment last month. He was forced to fire his longtime top deputy, who had apparently run an illegal campaign finance scheme practically out of Arpaio's own office.
And the 79-year-old sheriff's endorsement doesn't mean what it used to, either. In recent years, Arpaio has endorsed such candidates as Mitt Romney (the 2008 iteration — he lost), Rick Perry (the 2012 iteration — ditto), J.D. Hayworth (whupped by incumbent Senator John McCain in the 2010 Republican primary), Vernon Parker (whupped by Ben Quayle in the GOP congressional primary the same year), and Andrew Thomas (who lost the Republican primary for Arizona Attorney General in, again, 2010). And that's all before Arpaio made himself a national laughingstock for buying into a conspiracy theory on President Obama's birth certificate that had already been debunked by no less than the National Review. On the endorsement issue, we can't help but side with the Atlantic, which inquired in November 2011, “Why Would Anyone Want Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Endorsement?”
Still, Liberatore's people seem excited about the presser, to be held at 11 a.m. at Beverly Hills City Hall. “We believe since they have similar conservative stances, this will be great press in general,” an event organizer tells us.
Sorry to say we can't help with that one, gentlemen. But perhaps the Beverly Hills Courier will be more facilitating? If not, well, there's always Saturday: Arpaio will be traveling to Apple Valley on Saturday to hold a similar event with Liberatore — only this one will actually be in the district.