Sheriff Joe Arpaio is everything as advertised and more. It was very generous of him to come out from Phoenix to headline the fundraising event for OC Sheriff candidate Bill Hunt. Here's a flavor of what it was like...
So I'm pulling into the parking lot before the event and sure enough there are lots of protesters and media outside the Phoenix Club. It looked mostly like La Raza types and local spanish media. They were all speaking spanish over the bullhorn. I still will never understand that. We speak English in America guys.
The event itself lasted about two hours. I'm gonna say there were about 300 people there give or take. 250 seat had been presold before the event and there were lots of walk ups. We were first treated to a speech by James Madison look a like Dana Parker who gave us some great insights to the Constitution and the parallels of debates going on today and what was being debated during the Constitutional Convention. The one take away I got from Dana's speech was his telling of how some people(liberals usually) like to say that the Constitution is a living breathing document. He reminded us that if we want to update it, there is an amendment process that the founders gave us for times when a broad consensus can be reached on amending the document.
The next speaker was Sheriff Richard Mack. I had seen him speak a few months prior at a previous Bill Hunt event. Sheriff Mack earned fame by suing the federal government over the Brady Bill and he won. He likes to say that "he was the only one to sue the Clinton Administration over a non-sexual matter and not only won, but live to tell about it". He then read a little of the Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of the Brady Bill. He quoted Justice Scalia a lot. One of the best Scalia quotes from this case...
"The Constitution protects us from our own best intentions"
How true this is, especially when we are talking about this Obama Administration. My pocket Constitution doesn't say anything about socialized healthcare.
Bill Hunt was next to speak, but before he spoke, he was given about a ten minute introduction by Tim Whitacre for all the viewing audience at home online. The event was streamed live on Bill's website thanks to James Sugra. Tim gave everyone who doesn't know Bill the cliff notes version of Bill's life the last six years. So Bill got up and spoke for about fifteen minutes. His best line of the night really hit home....
"It may have cost me my career in the short term, but I'm standing before you tonight and the other guy is heading to jail." Obviously a reference to disgraced and convicted former Sheriff Mike Carona.
Lastly we had Sheriff Joe batting clean up....and boy did he deliver. This is one of the most down to earth people I have ever met. Lynn and I had a chance to meet Joe before the event. He noticed that Lynn has a striking resemblence to Sarah Palin, LOL. I told him it would be our pleasure to have Lynn come out to any event he has in Arizona when he needs a Palin stand in. Done deal. The speech itself was awesome. I didn't get the sense that Sheriff Joe does many of these events, but the guy turns out to be a comedian. He had the crowd rolling with laughter. He are some excepts of the speech(H/T to Matt Coker of the OC Weekly)....
1) "I apologize for the protesters outside. They go wherever I go, If you know a good Mexican restaurant, go and tell them where it is. I know in Phoenix I can't go to a Mexican restaurant. When I walk in, most of the workers run out the back door or spit in my food."
2) "[Hunt] and I come from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are probably the only two Republicans who came from there. We're both out west now. I'm older than he is. When I retire, I'll ride off into the sunset, but I don't ride a horse. I'll use a convertible."
3) "I'm a senior citizen. Sometimes I pick up a lot of votes because of that, especially in Sun City. When I talk in Sun City, I always tell them my age. In Scottsdale, which is snotty, kind of like Orange County, I tell them I'm 45."
4) "When I first ran for sheriff, I made a mistake. I've been married for 53 years. That's not the mistake. I never see my wife. The mistake I made was I said the sheriff should be appointed, not elected. If I had been appointed, I would have been fired 17 years ago. There would be no tents, no underwear, no nothing."
5) [Looking around for Hunt while talking about the candidate] "Where's Bill? Is he trying to get votes outside? I hope he speaks Spanish."
6) "We got Army tents from New Mexico. We made a midnight requisition. We set them up at a waste disposal plant. A half million people have gone through the tents. We only put the convicted people there. The 8,000 innocent people are in jail."
7) "We went to the Supreme Court. I got sued because I took away [inmates'] porno. They sued me, and I won that case. They try to sue me all the time. They can sue my toilet."
8) [After being informed Bill Campbell was the member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors who'd recently visited his tents] "Why isn't he here? I'm here. Your sheriff [Sandra Hutchens] did not come. A captain did. I told the captain, 'Why are you here? Where is the sheriff?' He said, 'I dunno.'"
9) "I'm tough on animal abuse. If you abuse a dog, cat or horse, you are put in pink handcuffs. You go directly to jail. I don't care who it is. We just arrested a 61-year-old lady. She had all these animals. I had a nice jail that was empty and air conditioned because the inmates are in tents. So that's where we put the animals. But I put my foot in my mouth. I said we paid more to feed the dogs than the inmates."
10) "We have 300 dogs. They'll spend 20 years behind bars, then we'll euthanize them. We have a special area for the cats. Someone called it Sheriff Joe's Cathouse."
11) "I'm opposed to house arrest. You get to go have a drink, do porno."
12) "I do get celebrities. My friend [Glen] Campbell did 10 days in jail. I had him do a little concert for me. Mike Tyson had to be isolated a little in the tent. He likes biting ears. Can you imagine the lawsuits if he bit other inmates' ears?"
13) "I spent 25 years in drug enforcement. I'm one of the people who knows what a border is. Most politicians wouldn't know where to find it."
14) "Nine [federal] attorneys came after me, investigated me, because I enforce all of the laws. Sad, very sad. So I kicked them all out. I gave the FBI director pink underwear. They got very quiet."
15) "These guys outside have signs of me with Hitler, Nazis. They brought some of their signs. They hold them in front of my office in Maricopa County. I could pay them to do it every day. I had Al Sharpton come out [to protest]. I raised a lot of money from that. I should have paid for a first-class ticket for him."
16) "I've been sheriff for five terms. . . . I could be governor, but I don't want to be governor. I want to be sheriff. I get more press in one day than the governor does. And, two: I can lock up the governor."
17) "I've stopped human smugglers heading for California. You people should thank me. Why doesn't The Terminator call?"
18) "If they don't like me, don't insult the uniform. That's what they do: insult the uniform. One thing they know is I'm elected, they can't get rid of me. That's why I'm running again. I have a book titled America's Toughest Sheriff. My next one is going to be America's Oldest Sheriff."
All in all, it was a great night in OC. The campaign probably raised in the neighborhood of $50k when all is said and done and Sheriff Joe said it would be his pleasure to make a return appearance in a few months when the campaign starts heating up.
Here's the Register story about the event.