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Even Dick Armey realizes how toxic the "Tea Party" label is

Even Dick Armey of FreedomWorks - a main stringpuller on the tea parties movement - now realizes that the label "Tea Party" is toxic and politicians should avoid calling themselves "tea party leaders". Recall that last month the Koch family - without which there might not be a tea party movement - also backed away from the tea parties. From this:

...Armey said (Rand Paul)’s "bigger mistake" came in his victory speech after securing the nomination, when he said "I have a message from the tea party. ... We've come to take our government back" and added: "This tea party movement is a message to Washington that we are unhappy and we want things done differently."

Armey said "I think that hurt him more than (the Civil Rights Act exchange), because the principles of liberty won that position and he won by adhering to them." He quipped that Paul’s reasoning for positioning himself as a tea party leader might have been, "Alright, I don’t have a big enough target on my back. Since the left hates the tea party and they hate me, let’s see if we can get ‘em to double down on me by me claiming to be the leader of the tea party."

"Don’t ask for more of what you really don’t want," Armey said. Pointing out that Paul "ran as a Republican - he won the Republican primary," Armey suggested that Paul and other tea party-backed candidates can remain true to the movement’s limited government principles without becoming targets by declaring themselves tea party leaders.

There certainly is the possibility that Armey was trying to distance the teaparties from Rand Paul due to the latter showing just where libertarian thinking (such as it is) leads. However, he was also asked about Sharron Angle, and, while her positions seem to also have a strong lunatic libertarian component she hasn't gotten as much heat for them as Paul. And, he was also speaking generally, so it seems like the much more likely possibility is that he now realizes that being associated with those in the tea party movement isn't such a good thing.

Note also that Armey had bad things to say about Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and suggested that Republicans stay off MSNBC. All of this ties together: if Armey and the tea parties were competent and advanced mainstream ideas they wouldn't have to worry about going on hostile TV shows, and they wouldn't have to worry about keeping any tea party leadership secret.

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 14:19 · Importance: 4