Commentary: Birther Babble Reaches Peak

The Arizona sheriff who reawakened Obama's birth certificate beast needs a time out. 

Posted: 03/02/2012 01:38 PM EST

Just when you thought the fervor over the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate had died down, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican, is breathing new life into what many considered a fait accompli.


I feel an inescapable sense of annoyance that this issue is again resurfacing, especially since Hawaii officials have confirmed time and time again that the president is in fact a citizen of the United States.


But what’s most puzzling is that the sheriff — who claims that his preliminary probe has determined the president’s birth certificate and selective service card are forged — is in the middle of what can only be described as a firestorm of controversy. 


A federal grand jury is currently looking into allegations that he has abused his power and a Justice Department probe is investigating accusations that his office racially profiled Latinos and punished Spanish-speaking inmates for…wait for it…speaking Spanish.  


And then there’s the scuttlebutt over charges that his department failed to properly investigate hundreds of sex crime cases under his watch.


These circumstances would cause many to duck and hide, but that’s not the case for good ol’ Sheriff Arpaio. He’s basking in the glare of the national spotlight. Somehow, in the midst of a hotbed of legal woes, Arpaio managed to assemble a posse of volunteer experts to add more fuel to the birth certificate fire.


My question: Where was this crew of lawyers, retired law enforcement professionals and volunteers while all those sex crime cases sat on the shelf? And if a few so-called concerned citizens is all that it takes to get a full-scale investigation launched, I’ve got a long list of issues that could warrant some attention from the sheriff’s posse.


I believe that the hindsight of history will reveal that all the hysteria over Obama’s birth certificate is a true red herring meant to distract attention from the myriad of scandals on the sheriff's plate. So to say that there’s an elephant in the room is an understatement. In the case of Sheriff Arpaio, there’s an elephant in the entire house.


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(Photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters)

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