Could Paul Babeu Be America’s Pim Fortuyn?

In 2009, J.W. Lown, the Republican mayor of San Angelo, TX resigned.   Lown had been engaged in a homosexual affair with an illegal alien. 

As far as we know, Lown did not make the decision after being faced with these allegations by the media or a political opponent.  Rather, he was truly in love, but said he could not reconcile his oath of office with “aiding and assisting” someone who was here illegally. 

Lown did the honorable thing and moved with his lover to Mexico to apply for U.S. legal residence.  [Weighty decision led to mayor`s resignation, by Matt Phinney, San Angelo Standard Times, May 20, 2009]

Paul Babeu, Pinal County Sheriff and Republican primary candidate for Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, apparently did not take this route when placed in a similar situation.   After his alleged illegal alien boyfriend threatened to out him, Babeu allegedly threatened to have him deported. 

The boyfriend, only known as Jose, then went to a lawyer and to the Phoenix New Times with pictures of the two together, a Chris Lee-style shirtless cell phone camera pic, and Babeu’s profile on a gay dating site called “Adam4Adam.”

Babeu has denied the allegations about the deportation threats. But he acknowledges that he is gay and that the two had a relationship.  He has resigned from his position as co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign, but has not dropped out of the race for Congress. 

The Phoenix New Times is a far Left Open Border rag that has often made dishonest accusations against Arizona patriotic immigration reformers.  (Including, repeatedly, VDARE.com). Its article about Babeu is filled with interviews with various immigration lawyers who served up lines about how it was all is indicative of an “atmosphere that`s been created politically in this state, so that if you get angry at someone who is Hispanic, you immediately jump down to the level of threatening to deport him” blah blah.(This is an actual quote from Nancy-Jo Merrittemail her.) [Paul Babeu`s Mexican Ex-Lover Says Sheriff`s Attorney Threatened Him With Deportation, by Monica Alonzo, Phoenix New Times, February 16, 2012]

 Even taking Jose at his word, I think it’s safe to say that his situation is pretty unique.

Still, Babeu’s personal life aside, I have very mixed feelings about him.   I had not heard much about him until he appeared in the god-awful campaign videos for John McCain, telling the leading pro-amnesty Republican in the Senate that he was “one of us” and helping McCain perform the jaw-dropping shape-shifting necessary (along with some $21 million dollars) to defeat a serious primary challenge from former Congressman and immigration patriot J.D. Hayworth.

However, many people in Arizona who I trust and respect insisted that Babeu thought that he was helping move McCain in the right direction, and that he personally was truly solid on immigration. (There was also a rumor that Babeu thought McCain would support him for Arizona’s other Senate seat, from which Jon Kyl is retiring. But in fact McCain has not even endorsed him for Congress).

I have met Babeu on a few occasions since then, and he has always said exactly the right thing about immigration—both legal and illegal.  Unlike most politicians, he seemed to have a real grasp of the issue beyond just saying “I oppose amnesty and want to secure the border.” 

However, I did wonder if he was just slick enough of a politician to say what I wanted to hear.  His support for John McCain fueled those concerns.

But my opinion of Babeu’s sincerity on patriotic immigration reform is not very important to him right now.  Ultimately, the question is how GOP primary voters will feel about his homosexuality. 

Although the 4th Congressional District is extremely conservative, Arizonans do have a libertarian streak.  They repeatedly reelected Congressman Jim Kolbe after he came out of the closet in 1996 until he resigned in 2006.  (Unlike Babeu, Kolbe was a strong supporter of amnesty.)  And, for better or worse, in the last fifteen years Republicans generally have become more willing to accept open homosexuals in their ranks.

However, there is still a big difference between reelecting a congressman after he comes out of the closet, and selecting a recently-outed homosexual in an already contested Republican primary. 

Babeu, who has handled himself about as well as can be expected in the circumstances, denies all the allegations about deportation threats. But it was left unclear whether his lover was in this country illegally, and whether he knew about it.  If that’s true, I think it will be near impossible for Babeu to dig himself out of this hole.  (Breaking news: late on Sunday, Babeu’s campaign denied that Jose was illegal).

Despite my reservations about Babeu even before this scandal, I was hoping he would get the nomination.   I felt that, even if I did not trust him completely on immigration, he would be a cut above of most GOP congressman if he were even half as strong as he sounds. 

Babeu’s main opponent, Congressman Paul Gosar, who is quitting his First District because of redistricting changes, has been somewhat of a disappointment.  When campaigning for Congress in 2010, Gosar promised to get tough on birthright citizenship and other issues, but he has pretty much limited himself to railing against Fast and Furious.  

Babeu’s other opponent, State Sen. Ron Gould, was one of the few elected officials in Arizona courageous enough to endorse J.D. Hayworth over John McCain.  But while Gould has impeccable patriotic immigration reform credentials, it’s not clear he’ll have the resources to take on a sitting Congressman. 

It is hard to make any strong judgments about either Babeu or the 4th Congressional district race until the dust from this scandal settles.  Maybe more will emerge. Or, who knows, maybe Babeu will go on to become America’s Pim Fortuyn—the openly gay Dutch immigration patriot who was assassinated (by an immigration enthusiast, although this fact went down the MSM Memory Hole) on the eve of an historic election victory.

But I will say that, if the scandal had to happen, I wish it had broken while Babeu was campaigning for John McCain. 

“Washington Watcher” [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway