In the run-up to Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman met with the editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times, the largest paper in the district. After Hoffman “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents,” his companion in the meeting, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, rose to his defense by dismissing regional concerns as “parochial” issues that would not determine the outcome of the election. Armey’s comment was a major factor in the paper offering a “flat-out blistering” critique of Hoffman when it endorsed Democrat Bill Owens. Now, Armey is throwing Hoffman under the bus, saying that “he didn’t pay enough attention to local concerns”:
Armey, the former House GOP majority leader, noted that Democrats had seized on Hoffman’s inability to address local concerns.
“The fact of the matter is, he didn’t pay enough attention to the local concerns, and they were able to tag him as being unaware of the local needs and concerns,” Armey said.
North County Public Radio’s Brian Mann writes that since national conservatives like Armey “deliberately helped to shape Doug Hoffman into a national symbol, one whose stand on abortion, same-sex marriage and President Obama largely defined him,” it is “a stretch” for them to “complain now that he didn’t focus enough on local stuff.” But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Armey would use political rhetoric he apparently doesn’t believe in. In a New York Times Magazine profile posted online yesterday, Armey says it’s “O.K.” with him that opponents of health care reform fearmonger about “death panels,” even though “he does not believe” they exist.