Former House Majority Leader and FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey is making the rounds this month to promote his new book, “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.” In proselytizing for the conservative agenda of the “leaderless” Tea Party, Armey touts the humble foundations of the movement’s agenda, saying the “best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds.”
In trying to reestablish the conservative brand, Armey is attempting to throw President Bush under the bus. In an interview aired last night on the O’Reilly Factor, Armey dismissed the qualifications of Bush who pushed for the 2008 financial bailout funds. When right-wing pundit Bill O’Reilly tried to defend Bush’s decision, Armey told O’Reilly that “Bush isn’t a big thinking guy” and he lacked “adult discipline,” unlike Armey, who knows better because “he read Hayek and Mises”:
O’REILLY: So you think the federal government should just step back and let it go?
ARMEY: Yeah the whole notion of too big to fail is simply a rationale for government intervention mostly.
O’REILLY: Bush isn’t a Big government guy..
ARMEY: No Bush is… Bush isn’t a big thinking guy either. Quite frankly He’s not well-schooled on economics. [...] Look I’m an economist by training, I studied it all my life. I have an advantage over them because I read Hayek and Mises. But the fact of the matter is the most critical affliction that came to the economy for those few days was the nations see in the secretary of treasury and the president in a total panic. If they would’ve had an adult discipline.
O’REILLY: So if you were there, you wouldn’t have done anything, no intervention. You would’ve let whatever happen happen
ARMEY: Absolutely right. You’ve got to let..you can’t privatize profits and socialize loss.
Armey is not shy about his current contempt for the former president. At a Christian Science Monitor lunch last month, Armey dubbed Bush the “quickest, biggest bitter disappointment.” But, during Bush’s administration, Armey found plenty of policies to praise Bush about. In 2001, Armey even touted Bush’s “rare ability to ‘tune out the noise’” to get things done:
House Majority Leader Dick Armey said yesterday President Bush has a rare ability to “tune out the noise,” which is helping him define and organize the new initiatives of this administration. “There’s a new demeanor in Washington,” Mr. Armey told a group of constituents at a breakfast coffee klatch. Mr. Bush “knows what he wants to accomplish and is busy going about it.”
While he now slams Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy, Armey published an op-ed in the Washington Times in 2001 to congratulate Bush for “finally changing the way Washington views education.” Blaming President Clinton for “simply talking about a failed education system,” Armey said Bush “is doing something about it.” When Bush pushed to privatize Social Security in 2004, Armey saluted Bush’s “strong leadership” in “clearly understand[ing] the profound issues at stake.”