If there’s one thing I hate doing, it’s hunting for a news organization to say one thing (JUST ONE!) about this upcoming 2012 election. I mean, come on, the election is in 8 1/2 months, don’t you think you guys started talking about “who’s it gonna be?” Just kidding. I know you know that we’re saturated with it.
Well. In the most stunning scandal to emerge this week about the election, Rick Santorum said something disparaging about President Obama. Kidding again. I know you know that highly suspicious remarks on the president’s character happen on a Swiss train schedule.
No, digging deeper, the REAL biggest scandal this week was the outing of Sheriff Paul Babeu.
We will now play the game of “Spot the Scandal.” I’ll give you a full rundown of the whole story (and it’s a doozy!), and you tell me which bit of information is going to get the most play. In essence, see if you can sift the “true scandal,” the truly abhorrent and shame-worthy, from the “merely intriguing.” I will put your choices in bold.
Are you ready, gumshoes? Here’s the story…
Sheriff Paul Babeu became the national face of Arizona border control thanks to his outspoken opposition to illegal immigration, Fox News and John McCain’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Here is a video from back then where Babeu and McCain talk about the desperate need for
sweeping immigration reform building a danged fence:
Mr. Babeu was mounting a campaign to run for office on just this platform, but this all came toppling down when the story broke that he had been in a relationship with a man, an illegal immigrant named “Jose.”
Jose went to work with Babeu throughout their relationship, but he began suspecting Paul was sleeping around him. Jose found Paul’s profile on Adam4Adam (a mildly sleazy gay “dating site”), pretended to be someone else, arranged a meeting time, and that’s when Jose surprised Paul that it was him all along.
When they were together, there was some good times. Matt Heinz, an openly gay Democratic state representative from Arizona, announced he was going to be running for the Congressional seat vacated by the beloved and near-assassinated Gabrielle Giffords. Gays cheered! However, Heinz was one of two Dems to break from party rank and vote for a $5 million grant to Babeu to combat border violence. It was eventually lobbied down to $1.7 million. Later that week, Babeu texted Jose that he wouldn’t be coming home because he was having dinner with Matt Heinz and his boyfriend, they were going over to Matt’s place and he [Babeu] would be staying the night.
But then the dream fell apart, and Jose was left Babeu-less, and Babeu was facing a big Jose-sized hole in his plans. Babeu then figured out what he must do: threaten Jose with deportation if he told anyone about their relationship.
Jose got himself a lawyer, printed off copies of his texts between himself and Paul, and then blew the story open.
Here’s your choices. Is the scandal…
A) Paul Babeu was in a gay relationship
B) Paul Babeu made bedfellows with another man, while making bedfellows in some of the biggest anti-gay names in the business in order to achieve political ambitions
C) Paul Babeu, “Build the Danged Fence” guy, harbored a man he knew to be an illegal immigrant
D) Paul Babeu, “Build the Danged Fence” guy, harbored a man he knew to be an illegal immigrant…in bed
E) Paul Babeu cheated on his illegal immigrant boyfriend
F) Paul Babeu uses Adam4Adam
G) Matt Heinz potentially exchanging sex for a $1.7 million public safety grant
H) Paul Babeu threatened his illegal immigrant boyfriend with deportation
I) Paul Babeu threatened his illegal immigrant boyfriend with deportation only after he was caught cheating
J) Paul Babeu stupidly threatened his illegal immigrant boyfriend with deportation when he could have easily made “Jose” just disappear
K) No scandal here!
Ok, spot that scandal! I’ll give you 60 seconds…
Did you spot the scandal? It was…
TRICK QUESTION! The true scandal was everything but ‘A.’
Bonus question? What is being attributed as the primary cause of his political disgrace and public shaming?
A) Paul Babeu was in a gay relationship.
B) All of the above.
Paul Babeu has had several press conferences since the story broke, and he’s publicly come out but denies all the other allegations. All indications are that the staunchly conservative evangelical base he’s been sowing low these many years are now abandoning him, and even more indications are that it’s because of the gay thing.
Oops! He was also co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign. That, also, is no more.
No word yet on what this means for Matt Heinz, as I’m sure he’ll eventually be swept into this maelstrom. I don’t know if I believe that any sexy business went down between Heinz, his boyfriend and Babeu. We don’t all get up and down to three-ways with staunchly conservative closet cases who depend on our money streams for their departments. Some of us are way too busy staying in with a bottle of wine and trying to catch up on our Hulu queues. But then again, I’m not a sexy sexy money-wielding congressman or a sexy sexy fence-building lawman.
Regardless of whether it’s true or not, people will believe it, and Heinz should have known he was dealing with, at the very least, a very public closet case he just gave a bunch of money to in a very unpopular vote, and that this is all might one day be seen as vaguely unethical.
Yes, Babeu has come out now, but he’s finished. As Dan Savage points out, getting your bread buttered by anti-gays when you’re gay and don’t say anything is… smack-worthy. He drew big applause at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), right-wing Burning Man, and, Babeu, they banned gay conservative group GOProud from attending because they’re all gay. Don’t act innocent now.
CPAC had more gays than just Babeu running around. Here’s a list of gay Craigslist ads for those attending the event. What do you know? They all want discretion, and a lot of them are into humiliation. Could one of those be Babeu? If he is, then he’s in for a treat. All he needs to do is Google his name, and he’ll be in for a sexy night.
Double bonus question? Who’s going to end up looking like a bunch of asshole hookers because of this fiasco?
A) “True” conservatives
B) Fox News golden boys
C) Fence pushers
E) Gay people, even those who wouldn’t be caught dead on Adam4Adam