One Man Armey, Or What Good Men With Guns?

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Memo to Dick Armey: NICE NOT WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT.

Since I am asking readers for money, it would be remiss of me to be remiss. Especially since you're actually, you know. Giving it. And one way I could be seriously fucking remiss is if I didn't spend some time looking at Dick Armey's armed coup of FreedomWorks. Although perhaps it would be more accurate to call it "negotiating his leaden parachute".

In case you forgot, or tried to blank it out of your memory, Dick Armey started FreedomWorks to basically bankroll and market for the Tea Party. Performing a sort of malevolent alchemy, he took nascent feelings of sour grapes and racism amongst white, Republican America and transformed them into a Jazzy-riding, tricorner-hat-wearing fake grassroots movement that we, by which I mean none of us, inexplicably took seriously for much of Obama's first term. As I've said before, the Tea Party was, in essence, Dick Armey's Dick Army.

Well, the teabagger movement had a rough 2012. as the presidential election grabbed the attention of the sucker "journalists" who pretended the Tea Party was relevant, while their hand-picked candidates got caught saying a bunch of non-stop crazy-ass shit. This led to dissension in the ranks at Freedomworks, Armey's exit, and the two differing accounts of Armey's exit.

One account is more likely, and one is much more fun. The latter comes to us from the Washington Post, which claims that the 72-year-old Dick brought a gun-toting aide into the Freedomworks offices, escorted the president and one of the vice presidents out of the building, and had words with them about Freedomworks' unethical conduct. Guess which part of that account I find the least plausible? You got it in one.

The Post account has a lot going for it dramatically. You've got guns, which are a hot topic these days, and extreme teabagger weirdness, which is always funny. Not to mention raising the possibility of a gunfight at the below-mediocre corral, which I think is a fight that America would win. Of course, for it to be true, the Washington Post would have had to get a political story correct, and that's always an iffy prospect.

The other account confirms the armed aide, but says that the fact the guy was armed was incidental - as a private-security-minded teabagger, the fact that he was packing was pretty much a given. And there was no escorting people out of the building or discussion of unethical behavior. There was just more unethical behavior, confirmed by Armey himself, because Dick Armey wouldn't recognize ethics if it marched him out of his office at gunpoint. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"[Stephenson] was concerned I was going to resign and sue them before the election. He didn't want an uproar. We all understood if I take any action that made it at all public it would be a press nightmare and we didn't want that before the election." - Armey, explaining why he will get paid $400,000 a year for the next 20 years as a "consultant" who doesn't do anything to Richard Stephenson, president of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, who is apparently very concerned with Dick Armey spilling Freedomworks' secrets for some reason.

In other words, eight million dollars in hush money from one rich old white guy to another, so that nobody learns either the truth or a bunch of plausible-sounding lies about a "grassroots" group devoted to fiscal responsibility. It would be fucking priceless if the price weren't openly admitted to by everyone involved.

If Dick Armey had stolen $8,000 at gunpoint with the help of an accomplice, he'd spend the next 20 years in jail. Instead, he'll spend it in a very lucrative retirement, because the difference between criminal and successful these days is just a matter of a few orders of magnitude.