Dick Armey`s “Better Angels” And The Continued Uselessness Of The Beltway Right


September 29, 2009

By A North Carolina Reader





Peter Brimelow

writes:

I remember then-GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey reacting with utter
amazement when I raised the subject of immigration with
him in a meeting he had with the editors at the




pre-purge

National
Review. Perhaps
ten years later,

Armey made an



appearance
in

VDARE.COM
as a Washington lobbyist extorting money from the various special
interests behind the Kennedy/ Bush/ McCain amnesty, an
unedifying process that he dignified as follows:


“There`s two voices right now, and the noisy one is what I call the
slam-the-borders crowd…The voice we want to speak with
and the one that will be in unison with President Bush
is the voice that echoes those marvelous words on the
Statue of Liberty. To me, the



Tancredo
wing appeals to the
more prurient
character of our
nature…We want to talk to the better angels of our
nature.”



In other words, Armey did not know that Emma Lazarus was
not one of the



Founding Fathers
,
and that her




scrap of verse


is not an article of the Constitution.



He`s learned nothing, judging from this report from a
VDARE.COM reader in North Carolina who saw him speak
there last Friday. Not only does Armey still share the



Beltway Right`s studied blindness
on immigration, but he
still hasn`t even the slightest awareness of the




counter-arguments
(we can`t run all these people out,
it would be a humanitarian disaster”
).



Note also that Armey stuck to anti-tax boilerplate and
avoided identifying with the
birthers.
The Beltway Right is maneuvering to benefit from the
anti-Obama backlash. But it did not create it and will
not take risks for it.



The gathering was largely attended by a bunch of really
old [Sly



gay in-joke term for Tea Partyers

insinuated into public
discourse by



Andrew Sullivan
puritanically deleted by VDARE.COM],
a few local Republican officeholders, a pair of local


snoozepaper


reporters; and was bannered under Armey`s



FreedomWorks
.
Total in attendance: about 80 in a county of 140K at a
meeting called on short notice (60 hours) due to a
cancelation or logistical problems somewhere else on his
speech circuit.


The majority of Armey`s 45 minute speech focused on
Obamacare, the recent political miscalculations of the
current regime, some fairly enlightening remarks on how
cynics run the



sausage-making


machine in Washington D.C. and the



seeds of socialism


that the current regime has been planting.


As public speakers go, Armey is rather charming with his
feigned



Texan loyalist

persona, with tongue in cheek/self-deprecating quips
about how everything and everybody is


bigger, better,
and badder in Texas
.
Sort of like a Phd.-degreed, profanity-free



Ron White.


At one point he made an offhand remark that


Bill Clinton


was the first president in history to decline to give
his



medical records

to the Surgeon General upon his assumption of the
presidency.


At the Q & A session following the speech, I was first
up, referring to his remark about Bill Clinton`s medical
records with: “Isn`t a


birth certificate

part of someone`s medical records?”


Armey said that he didn`t know the answer to that
question and quickly deflected on with some other
remarks about Obama and some remarks about Bill
Clinton`s right to medical privacy, neither making a
direct reference to nor taking a side on the
“birther”
issue. You could feel the tension in the room.


Next, some elderly man with some articulation handicaps
was up with a question about illegal immigration and
illegal aliens getting into post-secondary schools in
North Carolina. Armey responded with something like “Yeah, I don`t like it any more than you, but you know what, the INS is
one of the



rudest and most dysfunctional
government agencies there are
,
and if we could just fix that problem. . .”—
obviously a practiced



shtick.


I didn`t make notes on the remainder of the audience
questions he fielded, but none were significant.


At the very end, Armey did some gladhanding at the door
and a short interview with the boyz from the
snoozepaper. I hung around for the kill.


I introduced myself by name and asked him if he were
open to a few hardball questions. He consented.


Me:  



You are an economist by academic background, correct?


DA:

Yes


Me:  



Then you are familiar with the textbook definition of



economics
?


DA:

Huh? What do you mean?


Me:  



You know, the one on page one, chapter one of the Econ
101 Textbook: “Economics is a social science concerned with the study of how a society
allocates its scarce resources among its members, those
resources classically being





land
,



labor
,
and



capital
—a
more contemporary definition also includes




entrepreneurial talent
“.


DA:  

Oh! Yeah! Yeah! Now I know what you`re talking about.


Me:  



Well, I`ve seen the video of a speech you gave at a
FreedomWorks gathering about two years ago in which you
were talking about running a broken red light in the
middle of the night to go get medicine for your sick
child and so on.

[YouTube:


Dick Armey of Freedomworks Wants Liberty for Illegal
Aliens `Bless Their Hearts`

in which Armey



said


“The biggest immigration problem we got in America is a
government that`s not doing its job…I don`t like illegal
immigration, but I`ll tell you something: I don`t run
stop lights. But you put me out on the road at two
o`clock in the morning on the way to the all-night
drugstore to get medicine for my babies, and you give me
a stop light that is stuck on red, and no traffic in
sight, and I`m gonna go through that red light.”


Armey was using the

defense of necessity

to justify illegal immigration, an extremely false
analogy—
living in Mexico


isn`t fatal.]


DA:


 [Nods to
acknowledge the record reflected in the video.]


Me:  



Well, I think that it is certainly reasonable to say
that you probably wouldn`t see eye to eye with



Pat Buchanan,




Peter Brimelow
, or your economist colleague


Edwin Rubenstein

on matters related to immigration.


DA:

[visible facial signs of agitation]
Well, yes, you`re absolutely right.


Me:  

Let`s go back to the formal textbook definition of
economics for a moment.


DA:

OK


Me:  



If we have a situation in which the policy makers in a
given society, either by



processes of neglectful inaction



or



active political processes
,
allow or cause the composition of the society to change
against the expressed wishes of the



overwhelming majority



of that society`s established citizens, haven`t the
legitimate economic functions and order of that society
been corrupted?


DA:

Well, you know, let`s place the
blame for this problem where it belongs and that is with
the dysfunctional



border patrol



trying to do the impossible task of



securing our borders
;
and our broken immigration service.


ME:  

What do you mean,
“trying to do the impossible task of securing the
borders”
? We seem to be doing a better job of




securing other nations` borders
than


our own
and you seem to
think that we can`t solve the problem we have here.


DA:

But we



can`t run all these people out
,
it would be a humanitarian disaster.


Me:  



What kind of talk is that? Who



said anything

about running anybody out? How about locking up some



more chicken plant executives?


DA:

You mean to say that



chicken plant executives
should have to bear the


responsibility


for solving a
problem that the federal government has failed to deal
with, particularly with




its bad border security


and dysfunctional
immigration service?


Me:  



This matter has to resolved by internal enforcement and
border control. Right now though, I`m afraid that we
have a situation so out of hand on our southern border
that the border control component of solving this will
ultimately have to involve a border strip zone where





“the birds don`t sing”.


DA:

Huh? What do you mean?


Me:  

As in a



militarized


border.


DA:  



I`m sorry, but I have to speak with these last remaining
gentlemen before we leave.


Estimated time of interaction: 5-6 minutes.


(See also



Armey
brings FreedomWorks message to Burlington
, by Robert Boyer,

Burlington Times-News,
September 25, 2009
).