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Joe Arpaio: Scammer, or sucker?
(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
It didn't take long for the other shoe to drop on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "probe" into President Obama's birth certificate:
Michael Zullo, the investigator who took center stage at Arpaio’s news conference last week, has already co-authored an e-book about his investigation and is selling it for $9.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
By itself that's a bit untoward, perhaps. But it's the details that really give away the game. Zullo is one of two listed authors of the e-book: The first and more prominent author is Jerome Corsi, that famed conspiracy theorist who has invested the last few years of his life in pumping up the "birther" conspiracy (he wrote a previous book on it, which quickly became most notable for inspiring satirical mockings by others). Corsi was himself at Arpaio's press conference, and was not shy about asserting his own role in providing "evidence" to the investigation.

I'll admit that as silly as I thought Sheriff Joe's "investigation" was from the moment it was announced, I at least thought it would consist of actual, you know, investigating. Get some donations from stupid people, go on a free trip to Hawaii, that sort of thing. I didn't think even Arpaio would be dumb or brazen enough to simply outsource the whole thing the internet's most famous conspiracy troll and call it done. Instead, that's exactly what happened. And, lo and behold, the "investigation" turned up exactly the same conspiracy theories Corsi has been peddling for years, all of it discredited long ago. And Jerome Corsi, along with the volunteer head "investigator," is now selling their supposed results as a modestly priced e-book. Apparently just getting that first round of donations from the rubes isn't enough: Birtherism is, after all, a cottage industry for Corsi.

I can't quite decide whether Arpaio himself is in on the scam, or just so goddamn dumb that he honestly can't see it as what it is. Announcing a dubious, conspiracy-minded investigation, and then turning it over to the very set of people most financially invested in peddling the theory to begin with? And then saying you are so impressed with the results that you might spend your Sheriff Department money and time following up on it?

He's playing the role of either scammer or the scammed here. Which it is, I'm not sure. I'm going to go with "scammed," however, because that sounds more plausible. While I'm perfectly willing to accept that Arpaio might be so corrupt that he'd happily go along with the scam just for the press, I think I'm more inclined to believe, based on everything I have ever heard from the man, that he is just so gullible, so absolutely stone-cold dumb that he actually is falling for this stuff.

Is Joe Arpaio America's dumbest sheriff? Now there's a theory that needs "investigating."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Mar 05, 2012 at 06:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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