Thursday, December 27, 2012

Shoddy Freud

(Editorial cartoon by Joel Pett and featured 12/26/12 by McClatchy DC.  Click on image to enlarge.)

Ok, I admit it.  This story made me blink.  Not once, but several times.  I guess I really am naive.  It has to do with one of the major Tea Party groups (FreedomWorks), a well-funded one which spent millions of dollars on the last two elections.

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. ...

“This was two weeks after there had been a shooting at the Family Research Council,” said one junior staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. “So when a man with a gun who didn’t identify himself to me or other people on staff, and a woman I’d never seen before said there was an announcement, my first gut was, ‘Is FreedomWorks in danger?’ It was bizarre.’ ” ...

Armey appeared out of touch and unsure of how FreedomWorks operated when he took over that Tuesday morning, according to interviews with more than a dozen employees on both sides who witnessed the takeover. Sitting in a glass-walled conference room visible to much of the staff, he placed three young female employees on administrative leave, then reversed himself when they burst into tears; his wife lamented aloud that maybe they had “jumped the gun.”   [Emphasis added]

Now, a lot of the blogosphere has been commenting on the outright extortion accomplished by Dick Armey.  Of course, this would fit with Armey's reputation back in the day when he was House Majority Leader.  That man could out-hammer The Hammer (Tom DeLay), so this really comes as no surprise.

In this iteration of the stetson wearing yahoo, he headed up a group sponsored by billionaire Libertarians which snookered in millions of people under the aegis of The Tea Party, and then Armey decided to leave, taking $8 million of those bucks others donated with him.  Grifter.

According to the WaPo article, Armey was upset that some of the groups leaders were making money for private projects (i.e., a book).  I guess he was upset that such projects might cause the IRS to take a closer look at the groups 501(c)4 status, which would kill the golden goose.  Besides, he wasn't getting a cut.

Either/or, that isn't what caused me to blink.  It was the way it was accomplished:  with a gun.  He had an aide, whom no one knew, escort the two leaders of the group out in front of everyone else.  That would scare me to death.  It certainly intimidated everyone in the FreedomWorks office at the time.

That's what guns do, no matter who is carrying them.  And yet, none of the Tea Partiers are apparently willing to make the connection.  Neither Armey nor his aide are presumably mentally ill.  And presumably the aide had the legal right to own and openly carry the weapon.  And a bunch of people suddenly feared for their lives.  That's not the way I want to live my life.

I think Atrios had the best comment on the story I've seen:

Dick Armey stages armed coup, gets rewarded with $8 million severance.

Conservatives is weird.


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