"They caught the wrong Sheriff on this matter."
Those eight words should have sent the message loud and clear to the Obama administration that they are in for a tough, and potentially embarrassing fight against Arizona's famously tough Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio, who has attained the status of folk hero among the pro-border enforcement crowd, appeared on the Mike Broomhead show today in his first interview since being officially served with a suit by the Obama administration's Justice Department.
Arpario was, predictably, entirely un-intimidated, condescendingly remarking that "it's a political year" as his explanation for why the administration was choosing to target him at this particular moment. His braggadocio only increased from there, as Arpaio crowed, "Take me to Court! I love going to Court!"
Broomhead noted that even Arpaio's detractors were asking for proof of the accusations against him. Arpaio responded that nothing had come out because there was no proof, and in point of fact, he was negotiating.
"It's the election year. Go after the Sheriff. All these local activists like Wilcox have been ganging up with the ACLU and the Justice Department hoping that I'll resign," Arpaio scoffed. "But I'm not going to resign."
Broomhead did ask Arpaio how much longer he thought he'd be effective at his job. Arpaio didn't answer, but said there was no chance he'd resign for "personal reasons" no matter how much the activists arrayed against him wanted him to.
"They can do all they want with all those demonstrators calling me a Nazi, Hitler, every name in the book, they're worried because I say one word, and they go crazy," he said. "It's all a game plan to get rid of this Sheriff."
Arpaio brushed off accusations about his methods, saying his opponents just didn't like that he was doing a good job enforcing the illegal immigration laws. "They don't like it. They don't like this high profile Sheriff that's not gonna back down," he said.
And based on the rest of the interview, Arpaio can be trusted to stick to his word on that. From sneering about the "beer summit" to offering to take on President Obama on the basketball court, Arpaio showed complete, unflappable calm. This fight is not likely to go well for the White House.