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Armey Tries to Stop Tea Party Tide He Latched Onto

Dick Armey basically jumped on the tea party bandwagon when he saw how Republicans could ride them to a return to the majority. But Dick Armey doesn’t really give a damn about whatever counts as core tea party “issues.” He just seeks raw power and the ability to engage in some profit-taking for his rich contributor friends. When the tea partiers actually start asking for follow-through on the issues they care about, that’s where Armey draws the line.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey urged freshman Republicans and the new House GOP leadership to temper themselves so as not to make the mistakes he and others made following their historic takeover of the chamber in 1994.

“We didn’t manage our enthusiasms and the fact of the matter is it ended up getting us in trouble,” said Armey in an interview as part of Advice for the 112th Congress: A POLITICO video series with former members of Congress.

He cited specifically the budget stand-offs in 1995 and 1996 which prompted the temporary closures of some federal government offices – and did serious political damage to the congressional Republicans that took the blame for it.

“[W]e ended up with that horrible nightmare called ‘the Government shutdown,’ which didn’t need to have happened and would not have happened if we had had a better management of our—oh, of our appreciation for the fact that we were the first majority in 40 years,” said Armey.

These guys are such frauds, and I think the monster they’ve created won’t stand for it this time around. Armey isn’t totally wrong that an extreme conservative course would lead to electoral ruin – that’s how I understand him – but when you elect a bunch of extreme conservatives, don’t be surprised when they seek out extreme conservative ideas.

And as for the “cooler heads will prevail” theory, when you have Dick Armey on his knees pleading with the forces he “leads,” it’s problem time.

(h/t Jed)

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David Dayen

David Dayen