You know that Dick Armey got $8 million from the Tea Baggers to leave Freedom Works, the lobbying organization that he and others formed under the pretense that it was a grass roots organization. Few people seem to point out that when billionaires, lobbyists and political hacks come up with a plan coordinated with Fox News, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that gets people in funny hats to hold demonstrations and disrupt town hall meetings, that’s not grassroots.
But how he got it was pretty intimidating.
The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.
Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.
The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.
The Washington Post story above has plenty of fascinating detail on the craziness going on at Tea Bagger central and how extreme, and incompetent, Armey was during his brief takeover.
But I can’t get over the fact that Armey bought a guy with a gun with him to fire those five employees. Is that really the mentality of Tea Bagging purists? They just walk in with guns, and people better do what they say? What if someone stood up to Armey and said, “you have nothing to say until that guy with the gun leaves?” Would that person have been shot?
What if someone who was scared called the cops and said, “There’s a guy with a gun in our building, and we don’t know who he is?” What kind of response would the police have made?
Nothing like that happened, but the presence of a gun easily could have made a bad situation a bloodbath.
- Show me the money! (The Tea Bagger edition) (brobrubel.wordpress.com)
- Dick Armey Leads Armed Coup of Tea Party Group, Gets Bought Off With $8 Million (motherjones.com)
- Why Is a Former GOP House Leader with a Gun Like an Abusive Christian Father? (patheos.com)
- Daily Kos: Money trumps guns in FreedomWorks coup attempt (tribuneofthepeople.com)