Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dick Armey speaks my language

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey was on CNN the other day, and I have to say, I truly enjoyed reading this transcript of his interview with CNN's Kieran Chetry and John Roberts. Even though I shortened this transcript for brevity's sake, you could still consider this a long read, but I think you will enjoy Dick Armey's candor. When Chetry or Roberts quote some of Armey's past statement, they expect him to back down and backpedal. Instead, he lays into them:
ROBERTS: If everything goes according to their plan, Democrats could have a health care reform bill on the President Obama's desk by the end of this week. But that is a rather big "if."

CHETRY: We've been talking about this morning. There are protests planned on Capitol Hill today and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey is rallying tea party groups around the country to, quote, "storm the steps of Capitol Hill." His group FreedomWorks is also supporting another rally called "Kill the Bill."

And Dick Armey joins us with more now to talk about it.

First of all, might you not even have to do this if they can't get the votes in the House? It's essentially not happening.

DICK ARMEY, CHAIRMAN, FREEDOMWORKS: Well, yes. But we understand the enormous pressure that people as powerful as the speaker, and frankly, they are quite ruthless in the way they manage and manhandle their own members. The president is quite, as I said, is very, very difficult to stand in the Oval Office and say, "No, Mr. President," especially if he's of your own party.

So, we have a big search today. We have activists, volunteers from all over the country, coming to town for the express purpose of sitting down with their member from their district. The whole notion being that, look, in the final analysis, if these guys want their job back, they have to go home and reconcile their behavior in Washington with the preferences of folks back home. People back home don't want this bill.

ROBERTS: What is it about the bill that you don't like?

ARMEY: Well, first of all, the idea, if you don't find, the audacity of the government mandating to the American people: you must all buy a product that I define for you. And if you notice -- I mean, first of all, understand, this is a big bill down from what their true ambitions are.

And the idea that they would mandate --


ROBERTS: But why is it --

ARMEY: -- the idea that they would resort to price controls, which have never worked.

ROBERTS: But why is it mandate for having health insurance a bad thing? There's a mandate for having car insurance.

ARMEY: Well, first of all, you have to understand, America is a nation that was founded on the concept of personal liberty, that liberty is a gift given to mankind by the Lord God Almighty and it's the duty of governments to protect your liberty.

ROBERTS: Do you have car insurance?

ARMEY: Not to trespass against your liberty.

ROBERTS: Do you have car insurance?

ARMEY: Do I have car insurance? Of course, I have car insurance.

ROBERTS: You have to have car insurance.


ARMEY: But that's not a federal mandate, by the way. It's a state mandate. Take that up with your state.

But still, nevertheless, it's not only that you are mandated, you must buy insurance, which is a big sock, by the way, to the insurance companies. No wonder the insurance companies are in bed with Barack Obama. How would you like it if you were peddling a product and the federal government said, "Everybody has to buy your product"? I mean --

CHETRY: Let me ask you -- let me as you --

ARMEY: -- first of all, an enormous trespass against the liberty of the individual American citizen.

CHETRY: What is it solution-wise that you can live with that you like -- that you think works? I mean, when we do poll after poll, people says they do think the system needs reform.

ARMEY: Absolutely.

First of all, according to the Harvard study, one-fourth -- get this -- one-fourth of all medical procedures that are ordered in America today are medically unnecessary. That's an enormous waste and certainly to drive up costs. Why? Because the federal government will not fix its tort laws so that government physicians are free to practice medicine without the fear of lawyers. This is an absurd waste.

CHETRY: That's something that the Obama administration is considering right now though --

ARMEY: Considering my eye.

CHETRY: -- to add into it.

ARMEY: I can tell you right now, there's no Democrat leader in Washington that is going to consider anything that will offend the trial lawyers. It's a primary source of their campaign funding. They've never done it before. It gives a little lip service to something and he expects us to buy the notion that they really would do something on tort reform.

Secondly, the president continues to complain that there's no competition among insurance companies. The biggest barrier to competition among insurance companies is government's prohibition against my right as a citizen of Texas to buy insurance from a Connecticut company. Now, I can buy cars made any place in the nation, even across seas, but they restrict my ability to buy insurance.

If they want competition between the some 1,100 insurance companies in the country, let me choose from among them...

CHETRY: I want to ask you one other question about what you said, something that you said at a tea party rally. "Nearly every important office in D.C. is occupied by someone with an aggressive dislike for our heritage, our freedom, our history and our Constitution." Do you really believe that?

ARMEY: Absolutely. I don't have a doubt that.

I lived with liberals all my life. Liberals simply do not appreciate and respect America. They don't understand the genius and the wonder of the American constitution. You know, my own view is, they think they know better. Well, you had the most important event in the cause of liberty in the history of the world when you wrote the American Constitution. And if you understand the American -- the English language, you have any respect for the fact --

CHETRY: You think they have an aggressive dislike for our freedom just because they disagree with you?

ARMEY: No. When -- look, when they trespass against our freedom by issuing mandates and what products we must buy.

I'll give you an example. Today, just by virtue of a policy memorandum written in the Department of Health and Human Services -- no law, no regulation -- a policy memorandum written among themselves. Today, if you are a Christian scientist and you do not sign up for Medicare, you lose your Social Security.

Nobody put that into law. Where did it come from? It came from their pure audacity and their need to be in charge.

So, you take a person, who, by religious conviction, has never attended a physician in his entire life and will never do so, and you say you must sign up for this federal government program or you lose your life-savings which you were forced to put into a bad program in the first place. Now, are you telling me that that's respect for our freedom? That is an audacity of control. And we have these folks in our family, we call them control freaks and we avoid them.

ROBERTS: Dick Armey, it's good to talk to you this morning. Thanks so much for joining us.

ARMEY: Thank you very much.
I have used the term "control freaks" in the past to describe these busybody leftists and statists out there who just can't leave us alone. I think I will try to use that term more often.

I am still very wary of current or former mainstream Republicans like Armey or Sarah Palin injecting themselves into the Tea Party movement, but for what it's worth, my hat is off to Dick Armey. If we got more straight talk like that from Republicans, they wouldn't make me so exasperated in the first place.

Good Day to You, Sir

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