Tales from the Trail

Armey says “unreliable” Republicans are Tea Partiers’ only hope

March 15, 2010

ARMEY

Dick Armey says the Tea Party movement is willing to back Republicans for office, but only if they agree to reform their sinful ways when it comes to fiscal dangers like the budget deficit and the federal debt.

In fact, he predicts that Tea Partiers and their conservative allies will be around for a long time to make sure Republicans who get into office avoid the perils of backsliding on the road to fiscal purity.

“If we’ve got any hope at all, we must put it, as unreliable as they are, with the Republicans and try to rehabilitate them, reform them … and manage their behavior,” the former House Republican majority leader told a National Press Club luncheon.

Armey is likely to know what he’s talking about. His nonprofit group, FreedomWorks, has been busy organizing, training and facilitating Tea Party rallies since the movement surfaced early last year.

Some suspect FreedomWorks of trying to co-opt Tea Partiers for Republicans. But Armey insists his only objective is to push a conservative agenda aimed at maximizing liberty and minimizing government control.

“I call it small government, grass-roots activism. The Tea Party activists are a part of it, FreedomWorks is is part of it. FreedomWorks is the longest standing most active organization within this movement,” he said. “Make no mistake about it. These are not ‘kookie’ birds. Right now the greatest player, the big tent on the political scene in America, is called the Tea Party movement.”

But Tea Partiers realize that America’s two-party system has a natural immunity against third parties, Armey said. So they must choose the lesser of two evils.

The Democrats? “The Democratic Party has pretty much abandoned all the things that they cherish,” Army said in remarks that sometimes made him sound like the Tea Party’s national spokesman.

Republicans have been pretty bad of late themselves in terms of fiscal austerity. The budget deficit ballooned under George W. Bush. Then they bailed out Wall Street.

As a result, Republicans cannot credibly offer voters a second Contract with America, Armey said, referring to the conservative manifesto that helped the party capture Congress in 1994. So the Tea Partiers and other conservative grass-roots activists will offer both Republicans and Democrats the chance to sign onto a Contract from America, to be unveiled on tax day, April 15.

“We think they’ve got the ability to stand on their legs and accept the contract, while they don’t have the ability to stand on legs and offer a contract,” Armey said. USA/

And if Republicans manage to win back control of the House, or even the Senate, in November? Will Tea Partiers thank their stars and go home?  No way, says Armey.

“This wave is not likely to ebb.” he said. “Now they have the Internet with which to stay in touch with one another and do what I think of as something akin to the National Guard. They will have their activism at the ready.”

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Photo credits: Reuters/Larry Downing (Dick Armey); Reuters/Joshua Lott (Tea Party protesters)

Comments
10 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

The Tea Party a big tent? How can if be if it demands ideological purity from its aspirants? If they’re true to their claimed aspiration of fiscal discipline they should be, should have been, cracking GOP heads for the binge, borrow, and bankrupt of the Dubya reign of terror. If they’re against government control does that include state and local governments? Because from my perspective the only force capable of taking on any type of state/local government tyranny is the federal government, but don’t look for any partiers to recognize the distinction. As to this “Contract from America”, it’s just another publicity stunt by people who don’t really know what a contract is, and as I recall of the ten items on Newt’s Contract with America, only one still is in effect because it merely codified what was already in the Constitution, the others either not making it past Congress even though it was completely controlled by the GOP at that time or being struck down as unconstitutional by a conservative Supreme Court. Think about that awhile, eh?

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive
 

If you haven’t seen it, both liberals and conservative should watch Lawrence O’Donnell’s take of health care on Morning Joe this morning…it is priceless.

http://neoavatara.com/blog/?p=10427

Posted by neoavatara | Report as abusive
 

Small government? Low taxes? Great concepts. Send ‘em up to Canada, please. We’re drowning in three levels of government.

Posted by Gotthardbahn | Report as abusive
 

Anybody who admits to calling Tea Partiers the greatest players in America has to be stark raving bonkers. Too bad America doesn’t have decent mental health insurance.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive
 

Doesn’t anyone but me see that the Tea Partiers are just a bunch of people fooled by Dick Armey and the Republican Party. All these people who think they are doing the “right thing” have swallowed Armey’s plans hook, line, and sinker, and are willing to send more Republicans back to office after the dismall way they handled the country during their 8 years of owning the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

I fear for an American where people are so easily fooled by the Republican Party backdoor politics.

Posted by Robert76 | Report as abusive
 

Doesn’t anyone but me see that the Tea Partiers are just a bunch of people fooled by Dick Armey and the Republican Party. All these people who think they are doing the “right thing” have swallowed Armey’s plans hook, line, and sinker, and are willing to send more Republicans back to office after the dismall way they handled the country during their 8 years of owning the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

I fear for an America where people are so easily fooled by the Republican Party backdoor politics.

Posted by Robert76 | Report as abusive
 

Just like blaming the failure of health care on the insurance companies, now the tea parties are being attacked by attacking Dick Armey. Interesting, because I didn’t hear anyone complaining about Dick Armey when they held their massive march on Washington last fall or through the winter or anytime until recently.

The tea party movement was in full force before he came along to lend support.

But I understand the progressive mindset has to blame someone because they do not want to admit Americans are mad at what is going on with this president and this congress.

Dick Armey is the insurance company of the tea party. I love it how scared you critics are.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive
 

That’s because fear is the only thing conservatives understand

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive
 

Yeah, just like the millions dying in American streets because of a lack of health care.

Democrats show they are best at scare tactics, which btw isn’t true. No one is dying because of a lack of health care.

Your turn.

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive
 

Why not with the help of the tea partier’s disgruntlement with the current politics,create a third national party to free the politics as usual from its partisan divide.As republicans and democrats are just two sides of the current ly defunct coin.

Posted by schadha100 | Report as abusive
 

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