Former House Majority Leader and leading tea party figure Dick Armey tells Newsmax that Republicans’ capture of the House on Tuesday averts the “frightening threat” posed by President Obama’s “leftward march.”
The Texas Republican also says the GOP-controlled House should seek to repeal “grotesquely unacceptable” Obamacare, and predicts that the Democrats’ “lust for victory” will push them to turn to an alternative to “dead weight” Barack Obama in the 2012 primary process.
Armey served in the House from 1985 to 2003 and is now chairman of FreedomWorks, a nationwide organization dedicated to “lower taxes, less government, more freedom.” He is also the co-author of the new book “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.”
Armey became Majority Leader after the 1994 “Republican Revolution” gained control of the House for the GOP for the first time in 40 years. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, he was asked to compare this year’s Republican victory in the House to 1994.
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“This is better than ’94 for a lot of reasons,” he responds.
“One, the threat the nation faced this year is much more onerous, much more frightening, and so the victory that allows us to put a cork in the bottle and stop this leftward march that this administration has been making is very exciting to us. We feel we stopped it just before it went off the cliff.
“Secondly, this is a groundswell movement from America. The real big change that we see here is that America has said definitively ‘we do not take from Washington what Washington wants us to have, and like it or lump it. We tell Washington what we require of them.’
“This is a big change, where America is fundamentally going back to its roots. The citizen activist is controlling his government. And we’re excited to watch this process.”
FreedomWorks this year endorsed 100 candidates for the House and 12 for the Senate, and 67 of those candidates won election, Armey observes.
“We have managed to go beyond winning a Republican majority and far more importantly to the winning of a conservative majority.
“The constitutionally limited, small-government conservatives will set the agenda, in the House at least, just as they did in this grassroots movement for this election.”
Republicans should launch an attack on Obamacare as soon as the new House is sworn in, Armey tells Newsmax.
“I think what the Republicans ought to do first of all, in order to punctuate the point that Obamacare is grotesquely unacceptable to the American people, at least in the House take the full repeal to the floor and have a vote. I promise you it will pass with as many as 20 Democrats.
“Then get into the nuts and bolts of this thing. You can start taking some of these very onerous trespasses against individual liberty out of the bill. Certainly the mandate. There may in fact be, if you dig deep enough in this bill, a thing or two worth saving. Save those things and put them in combination with the more critically missed opportunities like tort reform and interstate purchases of insurance.
“But you can certainly turn away from government control of healthcare through sabotage of the private sector, which is what Obamacare was really all about.”
As for the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year, Armey says: “I can’t believe that the outgoing Democrat majority and the continuing Democrat White House are so callously blind in their understanding of the requirements of the American people that they won’t see the need, as they go into this lame duck session, to make at least a full one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts the number-one priority.
“If the Democrats miss this point, then they just reaffirm the worst fears of most Americans — that the Democrats refuse to listen to America. They’re determined to have it their way.”
Armey says John Boehner, who is set to become the new Speaker of the Republican-led House in January, is a “reliable conservative” with a “proven track record. He’s disciplined, he’s capable, he’s responsible, and he understands the way the world works.
“I think this nation ought to feel quite comfortable trusting him to lead this Congress.”
Asked who he sees as the likely GOP presidential candidate in 2012, Armey mentioned no one specifically but says “there is no shortage of good people available.
“I am confident that this reborn conservative Republican Party that’s at large in America is going to sort this out and come up with the best candidate.
“The Democrats on the other hand have a real dilemma. President Barack Obama has already made it clear that he’s not going to be re-elected to a second term. How do they relieve themselves through their primary process of this dead weight loss they’ve got in this president, and find another candidate? That’s a real dilemma for them.
“If President Obama is the rigid, inflexible ideologue that I believe he is, and he says ‘I’m sticking to my guns no matter what and I don’t care how many people around me die,’ then he becomes a real burden to the Democratic Party in two years.
“If that’s the case, their lust for victory will very likely cause them to turn to somebody else in their own primary process.”
Armey adds: “The most obvious person to challenge him is Hillary Clinton. I know an awful lot of Democrats who voted for Barack Obama in the primary who say: ‘Hey, did I make a mistake. I should have voted for Hillary.’”
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