Dick Armey: Conservatives Lost Their Way
When you have a Republican like Armey slamming James Dobson on Newsmax.com, you know things are bad in the Grand Old Party.
In an interview with Ryan Sager, author of the book “The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? Armey said the GOP was “adrift and rudderlessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? in its commitment to small government.
When pressed by Sager about what he feels is wrong with todayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Republican Congress, Armey ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ who became majority leader when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994 and retired in 2003 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ said: “The criteria of choice in just about every behavior you see in Congress today is politics. Where in the hell did this Terri Schiavo thing come from? ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s not a conservative, Constitution-loving, separation-of-powers guy alive in the world that could have wanted that bill on the floor.
“That was pure, blatant pandering to James Dobson. ThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s all it was. It was silly, stupid, and irresponsible. Nobody serious about the Constitution would do that. But the question was will this energize our Christian conservative base for the next election.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚?
Sager asked why it seems that Christian conservatives are more powerful now than in the 1990s. Armey replied: “To a large extent because Dobson and his gang of thugs are real nasty bullies. I pray devoutly every day, but being a Christian is no excuse for being stupid. ThereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a high demagoguery coefficient to issues like prayer in schools. Demagoguery doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t work unless itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s dumb . . . These issues are easy for the intellectually lazy and can appeal to a large demographic.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚?
Republican moderates…you can take your party back from the religious right. But you’ve gotta get out there to the primaries and vote. You can’t sit back and let zealots like James Dobsons roll their religio-political machine over your values. You can’t let them continue to undermine the Constitution, but you have and they will continue to do so if you just sit around thinking, “Well, at least they aren’t Democrats.”
And by the way…Dick Armey is calling the Republican base stupid and intellectually lazy?! Whoa.