Dick Armey`s “Better Angels” And The Continued Uselessness Of The Beltway Right
September 29, 2009
By A North Carolina Reader
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
ten years later,
Armey made an
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
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
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
gay in-joke term for Tea Partyers
insinuated into public
Andrew Sullivan puritanically deleted by VDARE.COM],
a few local Republican officeholders, a pair of local
reporters; and was bannered under Armey`s
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
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
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
persona, with tongue in cheek/self-deprecating quips
about how everything and everybody is
and badder in Texas.
Sort of like a Phd.-degreed, profanity-free
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
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
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
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.
You are an economist by academic background, correct?
Then you are familiar with the textbook definition of
Huh? What do you mean?
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
more contemporary definition also includes
Oh! Yeah! Yeah! Now I know what you`re talking about.
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.
Dick Armey of Freedomworks Wants Liberty for Illegal
Aliens `Bless Their Hearts`
in which Armey
“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
acknowledge the record reflected in the video.]
Well, I think that it is certainly reasonable to say
that you probably wouldn`t see eye to eye with
Peter Brimelow, or your economist colleague
on matters related to immigration.
[visible facial signs of agitation]
Well, yes, you`re absolutely right.
Let`s go back to the formal textbook definition of
economics for a moment.
If we have a situation in which the policy makers in a
given society, either by
processes of neglectful inaction
active political processes,
allow or cause the composition of the society to change
against the expressed wishes of the
of that society`s established citizens, haven`t the
legitimate economic functions and order of that society
Well, you know, let`s place the
blame for this problem where it belongs and that is with
trying to do the impossible task of
securing our borders;
and our broken immigration service.
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.
can`t run all these people out,
it would be a humanitarian disaster.
You mean to say that
chicken plant executives should have to bear the
for solving a
problem that the federal government has failed to deal
with, particularly with
its bad border security
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”.
Huh? What do you mean?
As in a
I`m sorry, but I have to speak with these last remaining
gentlemen before we leave.
Estimated time of interaction: 5-6 minutes.
brings FreedomWorks message to Burlington, by Robert Boyer,
September 25, 2009).