I've been reading for too long now about how Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the madman with a badge and a gun down in Maricopa County, Ariz., has hooked his star to the Teabaggers' incessant campaign to prove that President Obama is not fit for office because he was born somewhere else.
Before I go any further, in the name of full disclosure, I should say that I know all about Sheriff Joe. He's a self-promoting, bigoted crook and sadist who could only be elected in Arizona, the state that gave us Barry Goldwater.
My late, lamented Dad used to live in Arizona, and would regale me with tales about Sheriff Joe and his antics.
One such was a description of the sheriff chasing down hookers on horseback in the mean streets of Phoenix, with a drunken posse of his good ol' buddies riding at his heels.
Arpaio is under investigation for misusing funds, abusing his authority and possible embezzlement of the proceeds from sales of his signature pink boxer shorts emblazoned with the sheriff's logo on them. These were popular a while back after he forced inmates of his "tent city" prison to wear pink underwear as a form of humiliation and disrespect.
At that same tent city, where temperatures reached 125-degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime, he would starve the inmates, put them to work on chain gangs and force them to partake of other examples of fun in the desert.
And this is the guy the Teabaggers have picked as one of their champions?
I'm not terribly surprised, actually, though I have to wonder what the county's taxpayers think of their sheriff babbling on about national topics that have nothing to do with his job.
Sheriff Joe is nothing if not a publicity-grabbing opportunist, who undoubtedly sees in the Tea Party a ready-made constituency of fools, braggarts, bigots and blowhards - just like him.
The most recent outrage to fuel the insanity of this lot is a plot uncovered by "investigators commissioned by Sheriff Joe" working on behalf of "birthers" everywhere.
It seems that they were searching for proof that Obama was born in Kenya and then smuggled into the U.S. at some point, when they uncovered - GASP! - evidence that "Immigration and Naturalization Service travel records for foreign flights into Hawaii in 1961 ... were missing."
Holy conspiracy theory, Joe! I think you've got it. How else to explain why records might go missing for that particular week more than half a century ago? What could it be other than a vast, Muslim/communist plot to take over the United States and make us all wear veils and bloomers?
This news flash comes from none other than the Washington Times, the right-wing propaganda organ founded by Sun Myung Moon, that paragon of religious humbuggery and self-aggrandizing profiteering in the name of spiritual growth who also gave us the Unification Church.
According to reports, Moon has spent more than $2 billion in church funds (which means, basically, his own money) to keep the paper afloat from its founding in 1982 until the recent economic meltdown put the paper's future in doubt.
These days, the paper's online mission seems to be to parrot everything the teabaggers can dream up to cast Obama in an evil light. The WashingtonTimes 24/7 regularly features headlines about the president's socialistic, anti-American ways and his devotion to the idea of turning the U.S. into a Muslim state.
And, of course, it prints every utterance that Sheriff Joe makes in the "birther" cause, including some noises that are better left unmentioned.
All of this would be merely hilarious were it not for the fact that it has been accepted by an alarmingly large, mean-spirited and ugly subset of the American population.
This is a problem, of course, because too many of the rest of us have given up, frustrated by the sheer complexity of our society and our economy, convinced the crooks are firmly in control and there's nothing we can do.
And that's how the whack-jobs and nut-balls, bound tightly together by their madness and their "faith," can make it seem like they hold the moral and political high ground in America.