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The late Senator Joseph McCarthy was known as "tail gunner Joe", and a television movie about him (with that title) was released in 1977.
Even though he died of alcohol-related ailments in 1957, "smokin' Joe" hasn't left and gone away. Peter King and Rep. Chip Cravaack (of Minnesota) have been trying to keep his spirit alive today. This time, the target isn't "Commie sympathizers" but Muslim Americans. The link below provides more information about their attempts to reinvent "McCarthyism":
However, there's another "tail gunner Joe" who looms even larger in the politics of today, and today's Arizona Republican had extensive coverage about him:
Joe Arpaio has been the sheriff of Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix) for 20 years, and has been involved with numerous controversies over the years, all of which are detailed on page A8 of today's paper. His department is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for numerous civil rights violations. In spite of the Federal investigation, the 79 year old sheriff has told The Arizona Republic that he intends to seek a sixth term in 2012.
The members of the organization Citizens for a Better Arizona, and many of the state's elected officials,. have concluded that the sheriff is no longer fit for office, and are actively working to defeat him if he IS dumb enough to run again. Rep. Ed Pastor, the senior member of Arizona's House, has likened the sheriff's enforcement methods to be reminescent of the Deep South in the 1950's.
For years, Arpaio has been a sought-after political endorsement for GOP candidates.
This time around, Governor Rick Perry was the man who secured his backing, which is actually good news for the rest of us.
Even in conservative Arizona, the general pubic has come to the realization that the crazies have been running the asylum for too long, which is why Russell Pearce was recalled earlier this year.. Since virtually all the Republican candidates have views similar to the sheriff, the American public at large may finally conclude that they aren't fit for office either.
For that, we can all say, "Amen".