By Vladimir Gladkov
It seems that American hardcore conservatives are still not ready to give up the idea of turning Barack Obama’s election campaign into a living nightmare. The claim of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio – who describes himself as the “toughest sheriff in America”, once again raises the controversy surrounding the place of birth of the American president. The Arizona sheriff assures the public that he found “probable cause” that the birth certificate of Obama had been made by “forgery and fraud”.
Speculation and conspiracy theories about Obama’s birthplace have circulated among conservatives for years. The so called “birthers” were claiming that Obama had no right to even take part in the presidential race of 2008, since he had been born in Kenya, his father’s homeland. More oil was poured onto a fire of the scandal by the fact that the certificate of birth presented by the White House officials lacked doctors’ signatures. This fact allowed conspiracy theorists to insist that the real document had been hidden by the President and his office. However Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate last April, leaving his accusers no chances to continue their game.
However, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio decided to reanimate the corpse of the scandal, making a controversial statement that his investigators had obtained irrefutable evidence proving that Obama’s certificate was fake. The 79-year-old Republican sheriff scheduled a news conference Thursday to present the preliminary result of his sensational investigation.
While still refusing to offer any clues as to what the investigation has found, Arpaio promises to present the shocking results soon.
“Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated, I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” says the Arizona sheriff, “My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in a paper format as claimed by the White House.”
“I’m not going after Obama,” said Arpaio, denying any political motivation of his investigation, “I’m just doing my job.” The sheriff also outlines the fact that he avoided using tax-payers money and the whole investigation was conducted by retired police officers who were volunteers in a posse that examined old cases.
It’s not a secret that Arpaio – a hardcore conservative himself, is supported by the local Republican community. According to Arpaio he decided to start the investigation after 250 people connected to an Arizona Tea Party group requested one last summer.
“It doesn’t matter what President Obama does, they’ll never support him,” says Democratic state Sen. Steve Gallardo. “It’s those folks who will continue to write checks to Sheriff Joe because of this stuff.”
Arpaio was also praised by the Republican presidential candidates for his radical Anti-Immigrant position. During last week’s Republican presidential debates in Arizona, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said the government should give local police the chance to enforce immigration law as Arpaio had.
However, numerous critics believe that the actual reason behind Arpaio’s investigation is an attempt to switch the public attention from his own legal troubles, caused by his Anti-Immigration efforts. Arpaio is accused by the Justice Department of racial discrimination and alleged abuse of power. According to the documents, Arpaio is accused of racially discriminations against Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and even punishing Hispanic inmates for speaking Spanish. While Arpaio is preparing for news conferences he shouldn’t forget about the numerous calls for his resignation for more than 400 sex-crimes cases over a three-year period that were either inadequately investigated or weren’t investigated at all by the sheriff’s office.
While the claim of the Arizona Sheriff may sound promising for the opponents of Barack Obama, the whole story still looks like an awkward attempt of a negligent police official to avoid punishment for his own wrongdoings.