Lightning’s flashing, winds are howling – and there’s a tempest in the tea party! Why it’s Dick Armey, the blowhard, former-Republican majority leader, corporate lobbyist, Koch brothers’ retainer, and commanding general of the tea party army.
Dick’s always been stormy. In 2002, he had an unpleasant split with his fellow legislative hucksters, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, so he spun through Congress’ revolving door right into the K-Street lobbying hustle. In 2004, he became honcho of a Koch-funded corporate front group with the spiffy name of FreedomWorks, an outfit that works by hook and crook to “free” corporations from pollution rules, unions, taxes and other bothers.
Then, in 2009, when angry tea partiers exploded onto the scene, Armey immediately rushed out to co-opt them, diverting their leaders away from the group’s initial fury at Wall Street into a mob frenzy over Obamacare and “big government.” This corporate front man and lifelong Washington insider essentially conscripted the helter-skelter bunch of outsiders into the Republican Party by providing Koch money, FreedomWorks political operatives – and even writing their “Tea Party Manifesto.” Slick!
But, now, Dick’s dander is up again, and he’s splitting from FreedomWorks. He resigned with a testy email prohibiting the organization “from using my name, image, or signature in any way.” Like other ugly divorces, this one had its petty oddities. For example, Armey’s email insisted that FreedomWorks must “deliver the copy of my official congressional portrait to my home.”
In case you’re worried about what’ll happen to poor Dick – don’t. To move Armey out as the general of today’s badly depleted tea party army, FreedomWorks will pay him $400,000 a year… for the next 20 years! Like I said, “slick.”
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.
This piece was first published on Jim Hightower’s website.