I’m sympathetic with the idea that Joe Arpaio should have been indicted years ago. Now that Arpaio’s prosecutor sidekick has been disbarred for what the a panel of the Arizona court system found to be “evidence … beyond a reasonable doubt” of “a criminal conspiracy,” the odds that there is enough to convict Shurf Joe have shortened enormously. [ Text of Arizona disbarment findings.] That makes me tend to agree with the four prosecutors who just issued a statement calling on Eric Holder to fish or cut bait.
Still, this isn’t a simple problem. Holder works for Barack Obama. Barack Obama is running for re-election, with Arizona in play. Arpaio is a pillar of Arizona’s Republican establishment, and just pulled a “birther” stunt – covered as straight news by media outlets that should have known better – which might well have been designed to make an indictment appear to be retaliation.
The day Arpaio is indicted, the Shurf himself, with half of Wingnutistan on his side, is going to start howling about politicized law enforcement. And even his enemies have to admit that, on that topic, Arpaio is an accredited expert.
So if Holder has decided to hold the indictment until after Election Day, is that obviously the wrong call? For all we know, the indictment has already been handed up, and sealed. There’s simply no good timing for this sort of case, but just before an election is probably unusually bad timing.