Joe Sweeney has run for office a dozen times in four different parties. He’s currently settled in as a Republican, and his last half-dozen attempts have been for the U.S. House, first in old District Five against Jim Kolbe where he once scored an embarrassing 30 percent, and since 2002 in District Seven, where he has twice won the GOP primary and is currently the party’s nominee.
Just another strange little man who’s made a life out of running for office? Unfortunately, no. Sweeney is a vicious hate-filled racist and Holocaust denier. Republicans and others have for too long ignored him and wished he would go away. The media is also culpable for treating him like any other candidate, giving the minimal and perfunctory exposure assumed losers receive. That only legitimizes Sweeney, gives him way too much respect and aids him in spewing more hatred.
I first noted Sweeney’s overt racism years ago when he called my show and complained the newspapers were all owned by the Jews. I cut him off. I think its way past time for others in the media and the GOP to do the same.
If Klan man David Duke relocated to southern Arizona and decided to seek public office, he’d be roundly condemned. The only difference between Duke and Sweeney is Duke dresses better.
Sweeney gets enough votes to win primaries because he often runs as a Republican against unknowns in a generally safe Democrat district, not because those who pick him know anything about him. That information has been the victim of inertia by both the media and the Republican Party.
Last time Sweeney won a CD8 primary, the GOP in three of the counties involved —Santa Cruz, Pinal and Yuma — formally disowned him. Pima County GOP leaders then pulled the pillow over their heads, actually concerned that Sweeney might sue them. Sweeney runs something called the Alexander Hamilton School of Law, an unaccredited and largely fictitious operation. No one has ever met a graduate nor seen a course outline but it was apparently enough to spook the weenies at GOP headquarters. Only justified legal action involving Sweeney would be a restraining order from Hamilton’s descendants.
This time, the Pima GOP, after major prodding by its National Committeeman Bruce Ash finally — if somewhat reluctantly — joined Pinal County in passing a resolution stating they would not endorse nor support Sweeney’s candidacy because of his racism. Santa Cruz and Yuma counties are expected to do likewise next week.
That’s not enough. Sweeney, for whatever his sick and twisted reasons, is an embarrassment for far more than just the GOP. That such a creature exists is bad enough. That the media, like too many Republicans and Democrats, simply ignores the sickness he fosters, and the hate he spreads further enables him and is inexcusable. He once stated, on the air, that a wetback is just an apprentice Jew. Those who continually scream about racism real or imagined should note what it really looks like.
Sweeney has a First Amendment right to say that, but the rest of us have a right and an obligation to respond. The media should quit softball interviews and tell voters what he really is. GOP types should quit treating him like just another candidate at their meetings. Shunning is also a constitutional right.
Republicans also have an obligation to whomp him next time (and there’ll be one) he puts his name up. That means letting GOP voters know what he is! Mailing them the resolution denouncing his candidacy would be a start. The media’s obligation is even simpler and more obvious.