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Dick Armey Doesn’t Know Much about American History

Dick Armey, the former Congressman from Texas and current teabagger, actually grew up in North Dakota — but he certainly sounds like he was educated by the Texas School Board.

Jamestown colony, when it was first founded as a socialist venture, dang near failed with everybody dead and dying in the snow,” Armey reported in his luncheon address.

No. Jamestown was founded strictly as a business venture by a group of entrepreneurial English noblemen looking to find gold. And the Jamestown colonists’ “look out for #1” philosophy got a lot of them killed.

Armey seems to be referring to the Plymouth Colony, whose idealistic founders did not want to repeat the mistakes of Jamestown, and thus signed the Mayflower Compact, which called for “submission” to the “general good.”

The problem for Armey is that the for-profit Jamestown was an epic fail and the “socialist” Plymouth was a big success.

Armey is also confused about Alexander Hamilton.

“The small-government conservative movement, which includes people who call themselves the tea party patriots and so forth, is about the principles of liberty as embodied in the Constitution, the understanding of which is fleshed out if you read things like the Federalist Papers,” Armey explained. […]

A member of the audience passed a question to the moderator, who read it to Armey: How can the Federalist Papers be an inspiration for the tea party, when their principal author, Alexander Hamilton, “was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government”?

Historian Armey was flummoxed by this new information. “Widely regarded by whom?” he challenged, suspiciously. “Today’s modern ill-informed political science professors? . . . I just doubt that was the case in fact about Hamilton.”

Ahem. Notes Dana Milbank,

Hamilton favored a national bank, presidents and senators who served for life and state governors appointed by the president.

Yes. As any high school student should know.

It is an ongoing fascination of mine that the very same wingnuts who are constantly bragging about how much they love this country are so frequently pig-ignorant of its actual history.

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