A week or so back, Politico reported that Rick Perry had reached out to Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio, one of America's fiercest illegal-immigration foes and a constant innovator in the competitive field of Being a Total Dick.
It seemed like a weird play at first, courting a guy under federal investigation for civil rights violations and known for leaving inmates to die in his desert tent prison. But then I saw those Simi Valley GOPers applaud Perry's inmate-killing record, and was forced to remind myself: This ain't Canada, you sneaker-wearing, water-drinking pussy. This is America, and not the part that has Seattle in it.
It was unclear from Politico's report whether Arpaio held our governor in equal esteem, especially considering Perry's occasional fits of moderation on immigration. Where Perry has favored in-state tuition discounts for undocumented immigrants, Arpaio wants to deport anyone who's ever successfully spelled chalupa.
But alas, there Arpaio was yesterday, yapping away to the Texas Tribune about how swell this Perry feller is.
"I kind of like the guy," Arpaio said. "I think we need someone that will speak out and be tough, tell it like it is and be kind of a regular guy."
He also said that Perry's embrace of in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants and past support for a Mexican guest-worker proposal would not keep him from bestowing his blessing on the Texas governor.
"You've got to look at the big picture," he said.
Well then, let's. Because when it comes to Arpaio, the Tribune didn't quite get there. They described the sheriff as a "famous immigration hardliner," which he certainly is. But they also called him a "law-and-order sheriff," which he certainly isn't.
Yeah, he makes his inmates wear pink underwear. Cute, ain't it? But his mistreatment of prisoners, many of whom haven't even been convicted when they meet the wrath of Arpaio's thugs, runs far, far deeper. He routinely ignores their civil rights, denying them basic health care and even killing them.
It's the sort of work product that invites the occasional skeptic. But Arpaio hates skeptics about as much as he does Mexicans. So he also has targeted his political opponents and arrested the journalists who investigate him.
What's that? Killing prisoners and arresting journalists doesn't do it for you? Well, I know this will: He's also killed dogs. You hear that? DOGS. It's just like killing prisoners, only worse, because prisoners rarely let you scratch their bellies.
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So, yes, "You've got to look at the big picture." And the big picture, in this case, tells you three things:
1. Seeking the endorsement of Joe Arpaio should be a political death wish.
2. It isn't.
3. Chalupa isn't that hard to spell.