Star Member pampango (11,038 posts) Profile Journal Send DU Mail Ignore
Arizona teabaggers support gay sheriff (anti-illegal immigration star)
A few days ago, the Yavapai Tea Party gathered at a church in rural Arizona to discuss the all-too-familiar topic of illegal immigration. Among the conservative, mostly over-55 crowd, it is a subject seen in black and white. Build a fence, add agents, reject amnesty — period.
And so it was all the more striking when, off to the side in a room with “Jesus Loves Us!!” written on a chalkboard, the conversation turned to the subject on everyone’s mind, if not the agenda: The conservative Arizona sheriff and Republican candidate for Congress who less than a week earlier had admitted to reporters, his constituents — indeed to the world — that he is gay.
Consider the comments of Bill Halpin, a 64-year-old ex-Air Force pilot who serves on the local tea party board: “I care less. I just care less. Don’t preach it on me. Don’t push it on me and, by golly, I respect your rights.”
And this from Mona Patton, the 60-year-old real estate agent who is the group’s president: “I’m a Christian, but who am I to make a judgment about somebody else? I don’t have that right, and I look beyond that. ... I still believe in him. I still back him. I still like him. That doesn’t affect that.”
Before all of this, the 43-year-old was considered a rising star in Republican politics. A retired major in the Army National Guard and an ex-police officer, Babeu was the first Republican elected sheriff in Pinal County, nestled between Phoenix and Tucson in a culturally diverse part of Arizona. Having previously commanded a National Guard unit in the border town of Yuma, Babeu quickly became known for his tough stance on illegal immigration. He appeared alongside Sen. John McCain in a 2010 ad in which McCain advocated completion of a border fence, and last year was chosen as America’s “Sheriff of the Year” by his colleagues in the National Sheriffs’ Association.
(Phoenix political consultant Chuck) Coughlin and others noted that Babeu has a few things working in his favor: He’s charismatic. Arizonans like his stance on illegal immigration and other conservative issues, but they also genuinely like him. Several voters also said that the sheriff’s sexual orientation was one of the worst-kept secrets in Arizona political circles and that while they wish it hadn’t come out the way it did, the fact itself was hardly surprising.
I love the comments from teabaggers about Babeu: "I care less. I just care less (about him being gay)." and "I’m a Christian, but who am I to make a judgment about somebody else?". Ahh, the mental gymnastics required to support a closed mind. If they could only really hear themselves, they might learn something.
If Babeu wasn't such a star of the anti-illegal immigration movement, he would have been in a lot more trouble with his conservative base. Is it a sign of progress that teabaggers will support a gay candidate because he is "one of 'us'", even if he achieved "us" status, by proving that he is as contemptuous of "them" (illegal immigrants) as the rest of the teabaggers?