Skip to comments.You Go into Battle with, or Perhaps without, the Armey You Have
Posted on 12/05/2012 6:23:12 AM PST by pabianice
So . . . this certainly seems sudden and odd:
In a move not publicly announced, former Rep. Dick Armey, the folksy conservative leader, has resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, one of the main political outfits of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party.
Armey, the former House majority leader who helped develop and promote the GOP's Contract with America in the 1990s, tendered his resignation in an memo sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, on November 30. Mother Jones obtained the email on Monday, and Armey has confirmed he sent it. The tone of the memo suggests that this was not an amicable separation. (See Armey's email below.) Armey demanded that he be paid until his contract ended on December 31; that FreedomWorks remove his name, image, or signature "from all its letters, print media, postings, web sites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fund raising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter"; and that FreedomWorks deliver the copy of his official congressional portrait to his home in Texas.
"The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life," Armey tells Mother Jones. "At this point, I don't want to get into the details. I just want to go on with my life."
The Washington Examiner's Charlie Spiering has a clue on one issue that might have been a point of contention: the leadership of House speaker John Boehner.
Shortly after cutting ties with former Rep. Dick Armey R.-Tx., the conservative grassroots organization FreedomWorks issued a letter challenging Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio for eliminating some of the more conservative House Republicans from their Committees.
The conservative grassroots organization specifically mentioned Rep. Tim Huelskamp R-Kan. and Rep. Justin Amash R-Mich. who were removed from the House Budget Committee and Rep. David Schweikert R-Ariz removed from the House Financial Services committee.
"House Speaker John Boehner and the failed political establishment are purging House Committees of fiscal conservatives," reads a letter sent to FreedomWorks activists by President and CEO Matt Kibbe.
James Joyner writes, "It'll be interesting to see what led to this. Certainly, Armey has been the face of the organization, and arguably of the entire Tea Party movement, since it came into prominence."
And to be honest, that never made that much sense to me. The tea parties were all about exhaustion with business as usual and refusal to accept the well-established Washington way of doing things; a longtime House leader seemed like an incongruent choice to be the public face of a group dedicated to reforming how Washington works.
Then there's the occasional slipperiness Armey demonstrated in his congressional career. As Senator Tom Coburn writes in Breach of Trust, Armey was floating the idea of abandoning the term-limits pledge even before the 104th Congress was convened in January 1995. In his autobiography, The Prince of Darkness, columnist Bob Novak details Armey's offering a blunt, on-the-record criticism of Newt Gingrich's book contract, and then later insisting to other reporters that Novak had misunderstood him. Novak closes the story, "I never really trusted him after the Gingrich book incident." And allegedly Armey was all in favor of Bill Paxon's coup against Newt Gingrich in 1997 right up until he learned he wouldn't be speaker in the aftermath.
And this comment from Armey, expressed in defense of Doug Hoffman in the special House election in New York's 23rd congressional district in 2009, never sat well with me:
Coming to Mr. Hoffman's defense, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who accompanied the candidate on a campaign swing, dismissed regional concerns as "parochial" issues that would not determine the outcome of the election. On the contrary, it is just such parochial issues that we expect our representative to understand and be knowledgeable about, if he wants to be our voice in Washington.
Hey, it's only parochial when it affects someplace else.
Considering how highly I think of everyone else involved in FreedomWorks, Armey always seemed like a strange outlier. I expect FreedomWorks will thrive in the post-Armey era.
Which is certainly how they seem to see his departure:
The top brass at the tea-party group FreedomWorks is anything but ruffled by the abrupt departure of former House majority leader Dick Armey, who founded the group and helped lead it for more than eight years.
"I wish him well," said the group's president, Matt Kibbe, when asked about Mr. Armey's resignation as FreedomWorks chairman. "I've been in this town long enough to see people come and see people go, and Dick decided he wanted to retire."
Having Armey involved with any Tea Party was always questionable. I’d think you’d want to have fresh faces not linked directly to the GOP. With Armey in there, the organization looks like another of the GOP’s cat’s paws.
Having Armey involved with any Tea Party organization was always questionable. I’d think you’d want to have fresh faces not linked directly to the GOP. With Armey in there, the organization looks like another of the GOP’s cat’s paws.
The King ain't comin' back!
So how did a Commie outfit like Mother Jones get a hold of an internal FreedomWorks email from Armey?
I’m not upset that Armey is gone. He never really “fit” with the TEA Party theme. Was the collaboration between FW and Glenn Beck an issue as well, do you suppose? If FW is opposing what Boehner is trying to do, I’ll stand with the Conservatives and FW.
My mother's feathered hat.
You and me both. I always thought it a little fishy that he was there.
IMHO, he was there to keep an eye on those “renegades” and try to steer them in the “correct” direction.
My guess is that Armey got ‘pressures’ from the GOP-e to get out of FW and he again caved to their wishes.