Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hoo-boy, now it’s gonna get interesting.

Dick Armey – former Congressman from Texas, former House Majority Leader – is speaking out again, thank goodness.

After a considerable break from the public eye, this morning Drudge carries a story detailing Armey’s reaction to the Community Organizer’s bogus “health care” plan, which Armey predicts will “fail spectacularly”. Clearly, the Community Organizer’s main game is in trouble.

Most recently, Armey’s grassroots organization, FreedomWorks, has been behind many of the successful ‘Tea Parties’ activities that were initially responsible for creating the heartburn at 1600 Pennsylvania. Without question, Armey is one of the most fascinating pols to ever grace Washington. He’s not only a principled and brilliant strategist, but goes about it with such a mischievous sense of humor that even his enemies enjoy his company. A little bit of the Armey wit is exactly what’s needed right now – the best way to demobilize the Community Organizer is to get people laughing at him.

In Congress Armey represented a district in metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, but he was born in Cando, North Dakota, a farm town that lies about 100 miles from the dusty prairie town where I grew up.

Armey, the fifth of eight kids, was the first member of the family to go to college. He didn’t even think of such a thing until he’d been working for the REA, climbing utility poles to keep the power flowing to isolated rural areas. Up on a 30-foot pole one cold winter night, Armey had an epiphany. “At 3 a.m., with the temperature 30 below zero, I thought to myself, ‘I’m not sure I want to be doing this when I’m 40.’ That’s when I decided to go to college.”

He graduated from Jamestown College with a degree in Economics, got his Masters from the University of North Dakota, followed by a PhD from the University of Oklahoma. He taught at several universities, but by the time he ran for Congress in 1984, he was the Chairman of the Economics Department at the University of North Texas.

As a prairie child and coming from Cando as he did, Armey was born into a tradition of self determination. Cando – about 1200 people, total – owes its very existence to a moment of defiance.

Back in 1884, when Towner County – just south of Canada – was deciding where their county seat would be, a civic battle reigned. Locals wanted to create a new town to serve as the administrative center, but others, including a man named J.W. Connelly, wanted the profitable designation for their own towns. The locals prevailed – with Captain Prosper Parker setting the standard for feistiness. "Gentlemen,” he said, “we have been appointed to this committee to decide this location, and in virtue of our authority, we select this location. We’ll name the town 'Cando' just to show you that we can-do it."

That’s Cando. And that’s Dick Armey, too.

Armey has written several books, one of them “Armey’s Axioms: 40 Hard-Earned Truths from Politics, Faith, and Life”. It’s a funny, profound and brilliant book, all at the same time:

“If you love peace more than freedom, you lose” -- definitely something for Israelis to keep in mind.

“No one spends someone else’s money as wisely as he spends his own.”

“If you make a deal with the devil, you are the junior partner.”

Armey’s most-quoted quip came during President Bubba’s little Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. Armey was asked what he’d do if he were in the President’s position. "If I were in the President’s position,” Armey replied, “I’d be looking up from a pool of my own blood and hearing Mrs. Armey ask, 'How do I reload this damn thing?'"

In terms of politics, Armey is a doctrinaire Libertarian but was especially adept at working closely with people whose beliefs were precisely the opposite of his, including the nefarious Barney Frank.

How did he do it? “I’ve never had a confrontation with another member of Congress that was the source of any enjoyment,” he says. “It’s a part of the job that has to be done. You can compromise on details, you can compromise on strategies, but you must never compromise on principles.”

So today, as Drudge reports that Dick Armey stepped out swinging to talk common sense about the bogus “health care” debate, that’s great news.

This is a critical battle: Either Americans will fall prey to the Community Organizer’s plan to make every citizen dependent on him – not on Congress, but on the Executive Branch (it’s in the bill) for everything from a hangnail to end-of-life decisions – or they will beat him back on this issue, and then move to start the long process of wresting control from the Washington powerbrokers on other matters.

Armey predicted that the American grassroots backlash against Obama’s “hostile government takeover of a sixth of the US economy” would be successful.

But, he warned, this fall, be on the lookout for a fear campaign. “In September or October there will be a hyped up outbreak of the swine flu which they’ll say is as bad as the bubonic plague to scare the bed-wetters to vote for healthcare reform,” he said. “That’s the only way they can push something on to the American people that the American people don’t want.”

When Dick Armey first took office, he made clear what would be the difference between him and the current administration. “The American people didn’t give us power, they gave us responsibility.”

For more about Dick Armey, check out, dedicated to “lower taxes, less government, more freedom”.

And remember Armey’s First Rule of Conservatism: “Accept the fact that if you are true to yourself, Susan Sarandon will never hug you in public.”

It’s great to have Dick Armey out leading the charge again. He’s one of my generation’s Great Americans.

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